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PBEC’s Hinrich Foundation’s Stephen Olson reflects on Biden’s China strategy and how the spy balloon saga affects the US-China relationship – Feb 2023

Blinken outlined the Biden Administration’s much anticipated China strategy in a public speech in May last year. Blinken articulated an approach to China built on three prongs: invest, align, and compete.

The “invest” pillar of the strategy calls for the US to make substantial investments in cutting-edge industries crucial to economic and strategic pre-eminence. The “align” pillar focuses on cooperating with partners that share a common vision for the Indo-Pacific. The “compete” pillar identifies economic, strategic, and philosophical ways the US should challenge and compete against China. This competition, according to Blinken, is not intended to isolate China but rather to uphold the global rules-based system that enabled China’s rise.

While it is still far too early to pronounce success or failure, several tactical missteps are throwing sand into the gears of the US strategy.

A mismatch between words and action – otherwise known as ‘hypocrisy’

To be clear, the real problem is not necessarily the US approach. The US assessment that the WTO is incapable of remedying China’s most egregious trade practices is accurate. But if the US is ignoring the WTO, criticisms of China for its WTO-compliance shortfalls will only smack of hypocrisy. Self-righteousness over the WTO is not helping the US cause. Far better to make the case for why the US feels it has no alternative but to forsake the organization it was instrumental in creating.

Link to full opinion piece here:–_rh-amUMHfBIgrKpXeq0NEdXHCb7OSNjPtqKkve_7VG7qpu3tamKcnA


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