The Biden-Trump China Toughfest

As the US presidential election nears, profound foreign policy questions hang in the air. The debate for the cameras has been about who is tougher on China. That is political theater, not the question that matters. Leadership means not toughness for its own sake, but good policy effectively communicated so smart citizens, businesses and friends abroad can rally around liberalism rather than settle for an authoritarian second-best. Biden’s China plans are starting to come out. There are elements of good policy that would improve upon the blustery and increasingly dangerous Trump-era China record, but there is also a considerable dose of the current administration’s nativism that may sound like strength but is unhelpful. Those serious about counter-balancing China’s weight in the world need a workable strategy, not just tough talk.

Posted August 12, 2020
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