GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
6 months into his Presidency, Biden is seeking to combine a “Hot + Cold” approach to China. Hitherto there has been little initiative for contact from Washington to Beijing + the emphasis has been on the Hard Line – tough anti-China talk at G7 + NATO.
Now there is a change. US/China are discussing a Blinken/Wang Yi meeting at G20 in Italy next week; Biden wants to send Deputy Secretary of State Sherman to Beijing for talks; + the White House is considering a Biden/Xi Jinping phonecall.
Less a change in policy by the US + more a War + Peace approach. The US walks on two legs. It recognises that by 2027 it will be #2 economic power but it is quite unwilling to be demoted from its post-1945 #1 position. China has continued to ignore the Pentagon’s request for US Defence Secretary Austin to meet with top China military officer, General Xu Qiliang.
The US wants to portray China as power-grabbing, expansionist, interventionist, dictatorial. At the same time, China exists. It is real. It is not going away and it continues to grow + prosper. The US struggles to understand China + the world remains insecure as the US wrestles with the rise of China. This is not the USSR of old but the US misses the significance of the China/USSR difference.