Nov 23, 2020, 16:59
No transition to a Biden administration has begun in the U.S. because the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge its defeat on November 3. Observers have called Trump's efforts to overturn the election an attempted "slow-moving coup." Trump's strategy centers on forcing states to exclude legal votes submitted by African American voters in Wisconsin and Michigan, or in pressuring state lawmakers to disregard those votes and illegally submit their slates of presidential electors.
Assuming these efforts fail, one major question that endures in U.S. opinion-making circles is, will projected U.S. presidential election winner Biden create a substantially different foreign policy than his predecessor? At stake is how Biden will shape U.S.-China relations.
Let's briefly look at representative opinion across the U.S. political spectrum. Right-wing opinion-makers have long-held racist and anti-communist views of China. Trump, who controls the Republican Party despite his historic loss, fueled not only racist and false claims about the "China virus" but is also now pushing frankly deranged conspiracy theories about China's role in the U.S. election. So, little value comes out of that perspective. If Trump managed to succeed in his coup, aside from destroying the U.S. political system, he would be unable to establish any trustworthy foreign policy.
In the center or liberal sections of the political establishment, pretense about the global role of the U.S. prevails. False beliefs in U.S. leadership on human rights and democracy serve to justify military, political, and economic interventions. Shrouded in hypocrisy, these each serve to prop up U.S. unilateral global hegemony.
People who hold this political orientation fall all over themselves to denounce China's right to maintain its national security on its western borders. They ignore or wring their hands at massive human rights abuses based on white racism in the U.S. immigration and criminal justice systems. Let's face it: most Americans don't know where Xinjiang is, how to pronounce it, or even feel that they need to.
Others express unnecessary anxiety about China's economic growth over the past two decades. That growth has positioned China as the second-largest economy in the world, allowing it, by all measures, to lift more than 800 million of its people out of poverty. U.S. observers hold this fear irrationally. Many worry about no longer being "Number 1," while others are nervous about new competition with China's technological powerhouse and growing influence in many countries that no longer are held captive to the Washington Consensus.
We all need to shift to the more reasonable view that the U.S. could be a global leader in a multilateral framework. Such a position would require persistent good-faith diplomacy, fair economic relations, and recognition of sovereignty for other national actors. Despite the necessity for this realism, however, the U.S. political class of this orientation remains mired in an irrational and impossible unilateralist mode of thought. Increasingly, this position has proven reckless and harmful to the people of the world, and it offers no path forward for U.S. business and political interests.
While most of the world balked at the excesses, abuses, rhetoric, and threats of the Trump administration, most recognized his policies as the exaggerated demands of parts of the U.S. ruling class rather than a significant departure from its traditional foreign policy.
A far less influential left perspective fears that little daylight exists between the foreign policy of the center or the right. The left expects Biden to develop cosmetic improvements, such as walking back Trump's racist rhetoric, eliminate the bans on WeChat and TikTok and other ridiculous sanctions, and to reopen constructive trade talks.
Most do not expect that Biden will ease military, economic, or diplomatic containment efforts. These include an unnecessary and wasteful military build-up in the Pacific, reckless spying, and hypocritical human rights criticisms. These actions will continue a "hybrid war" targeting China for regime change. Instead, Biden is expected to adopt a position of "pre-Trump normal."
What a Biden administration likely will ignore is China's right to national security, to plan and develop its economy, and to manage its foreign policy with those interests in mind.
Political coalitions like No Cold War, based in the UK, the U.S., and Canada, have created significant organizational and informational links to counter this likely ongoing trend. They have raised vital issues of concern to Westerners who favor friendlier relations with China and offer alternative ways of understanding China. So far, however, this coalition has focused entirely on criticism of the UK, the U.S., and Canadian foreign policy. A positive effort to establish people-to-people and organization-to-organization relations between Western and Chinese people is crucial as well. People can form non-governmental relations to resist and undermine the unilateralist and aggressive aims of dominant Western elites.
The author Joel Wendland-Liu is an associate professor of the Integrative, Religious and Intercultural Studies Department at Grand Valley State University in the US. (Source :CGTN)