Xi Challenges Biden
The two leaders met virtually, but one of them clearly had the upper hand.
President Joe Biden spoke for several hours with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week in a virtual meeting. The fact that the U.S. president requested the meeting may be a signal that the power dynamic between the two countries has shifted in China’s favor.
If anything, the meeting was a good opportunity for Biden to reassert America’s standing in the world, not kowtow to a communist dictator recently given the green light to serve as president-for-life by the Chinese Communist Party.
“Biden administration officials told reporters that the president was coming into the meeting in a strong position after getting his infrastructure bill through Congress,” the editors at National Review write. “What went unmentioned was the delay on passing the annual defense authorization act and the massive bipartisan investment in research and technologies, such as semiconductors, central to meeting the China challenge.”
In other words, Biden almost couldn’t have entered the meeting in a weaker position, and he left the meeting even weaker. We’re talking about Jimmy Carter-level weakness, or maybe worse if that’s possible. In fact, Biden requested the meeting because China rejected the administration’s attempts to create a dialogue on a range of issues.
National Review’s editors add: “Although Biden did mention human-rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, he apparently didn’t speak specifically about the party’s crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other minorities. And vague mentions of global public health suggest that he also didn’t press Xi hard on the origins of the coronavirus, amid Chinese stonewalling of international efforts to investigate the outset of the pandemic in Wuhan.”
You know, that pesky virus that has killed 767,000 Americans and more than five million worldwide and that almost certainly originated in a lab Wuhan.
Perhaps the worst part of the meeting came when Xi threatened Biden that any attempt to directly support the independence of Taiwan “is playing with fire, and if you play with fire, you will get burned.” Biden could only muster a weak response in which he stated that the U.S. “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
It’s doubtful that Xi lost any sleep that night over Biden’s spineless retort.
And let’s not forget why Taiwan is so important to the United States. This isn’t merely America standing up for the little guy being bullied by its big neighbor. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is the world’s largest producer of computer chips needed to run everything from iPhones to automobiles to high-powered computers, so the free world needs Taiwan to remain free and independent if it hopes to keep pace with China.
About the only progress the Biden administration has made with China came during the COP26 UN Climate Conference. China skipped the carbon-emitting confab but stole the spotlight by simultaneously agreeing to work with the United States to fight climate change. Except China isn’t going to fight climate change. It’s continuing to churn out coal-fueled power plants domestically and abroad, despite promises to abandon coal. The reality is that China isn’t going to do anything to slow down its industrial and economic engines, despite making promises to do so.
Clearly, China holds all the leverage at this point. There’s really nothing Biden can do to hold Xi and the communists accountable, let alone get them to compromise with an America that, under Biden’s “leadership,” is looking like a superpower in decline. But there is one move Biden can make that’ll send a bold statement to America’s allies and to China: Boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Doing so would send a powerful message and embarrass Xi, who’s counting on the Olympics to showcase China’s status on the world stage. Unfortunately, members of Congress are reluctant to support such a move, mainly due to concerns over penalizing America’s athletes who typically train for years in order to compete.
America shouldn’t be in this position in the first place. No one respects weakness, but Biden has nothing to offer but weak responses to Chinese demands. In a fast-changing news cycle, the virtual meeting between Biden and Xi is now forgotten by most Americans, but years from now it may go down as the moment when China supplanted America’s position as the world’s true superpower.
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