In an op-ed at the Washington Post H. R. McMaster argues that the Biden Administration would be prudent to retain the foreign policy shift towards China that the Trump Administration put in place:
The shift was long overdue, because U.S. policy between the end of the Cold War and 2017 was based on a flawed assumption: that China, having been welcomed into the international order, would play by the rules, and, as it prospered, would liberalize its economy and, ultimately, its form of governance.
Instead, the Chinese Communist Party pursued an increasingly aggressive agenda, exploiting the United States’ policy of cooperation and engagement. As national security adviser at the time, I was among those who worked on the policy underpinning the strategic framework. Foremost among our new, more-realistic assumptions about the CCP’s aims was our belief that “strategic competition between the United States and China will persist, owing to the divergent nature and goals of our political and economic systems.”
As China has continued its aggressive economic and military policies, the accuracy of that assessment has been confirmed. No doubt the Biden administration will see ways to improve the strategic framework we devised, but continuity with the approach is essential. President-elect Joe Biden’s policy advisers can strengthen the framework by correcting three common misunderstandings about it.
I think there is next to no prospect of that happening. If it does happen President Biden will need to find some way of rehabilitating the policy among his own caucus which I suspect will be impossible to effect.
I think that Gen. McMasters’s take, too, is based on a misconception. The foundation of the American position in the world is its economic strength. Unless that is restored which would mean strengthening the dollar and an emphasis on producing a lot more of what we consume, nothing else that is done will make much difference. IMO what is more likely to happen is that in rebuilding our relationship with the EU we’ll be tugging our collective forelock at China as the EU is doing.