In case doubt persisted, Secretary of State Tony Blinken made it official. On May 26, in a speech at George Washington University, he declared US policy toward China – in half a dozen artful ways – is appeasement. Words are cheap until they get costly.
Rather than focusing on a strong defense, countering Chinese espionage in the US and allied countries, calling out the aggressive deployment of 1000 nuclear warheads, hypersonic space weapons, illegal anti-satellite weapons, the militarization of artificial islands, aggression in the South China Sea, intimidation of Taiwan, he hopes on a “pacing challenge.”
Rather than press China on international law violations, seek Chinese accountability for trillions in losses and millions of deaths from COVID, stop distortions at the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, and UN, demand concentration camps stop killing minorities in China, and call their Soviet-style communist practices what they are, Blinken framed China as an eager competitor.
Rather than demanding China stop penetrating US universities with government operatives, stealing high technology, spreading (buying influence) communist propaganda (or blocking lessons on communism), Blinken celebrated the exchange of students, and lauded integration. Really?
Rather than saying China’s 5G and “Belt and Road” twist arms, crease usurious debt arrangements, and coerce small nations into aligning with Chinese dominance, he offered gentle words of praise for China’s initiative – frustratingly built with US money over decades.
Even on issues, one imagines Blinken cares about, like “climate change,” he failed. China is doing nothing; it is the world’s biggest polluter, producing 28 percent of all emissions. Crickets.
Let’s get specific. Blinken blinked, trying to out-Chamberlain Nevil Chamberlain or out-Kissinger Henry Kissinger. Strong Secretaries of State are cut from a different cloth, candor like Jefferson, Monroe, Blane, Muskie, Schultz, Powell, and Pompeo.
In order, Blinken set out Biden’s Appeasement Doctrine, as if cribbing bad notes. He praised the world for “coming together to fight COVID” and “prepare for future global health challenges,” a subtle nod to China’s plan to get the WHO to direct world health policy, push lockdowns.
He praised the world “reimagining an energy future that’s cleaner, more secure, and more affordable.” Hokum. “Imagine” is the word, since the world produces oil and gas and Biden throttled America’s energy sector, ending energy independence, spiking prices.
“Cleaner?” Electricity for electric cars comes from the grid, largely fossil. “More secure?” Renewables are more vulnerable than fossils, energy independence is security. “More affordable?” Who is he kidding? Seven-dollar gas? But then he is driven on our nickel.
Slapping something, he bragged he has “put diplomacy back at the center of American foreign policy.” Since that is what State does, in support of presidents, what changed?
Now “technology is used to lift people up, not suppress them.” What does that mean? China suppressed their people with high-tech surveillance and AI – which, oh yeah, hits us too.
In a backflip, he suggests a world “where universal human rights are respected,” while he aims to “defend and reform the rules-based international order.” Interesting choice of words – is it “defend” or “change,” maybe quietly transform? Hmmm.
Let us hope this new approach is better than how Biden and Blinken set things right in Afghanistan. Or encouraged Putin, saying a “minor incursion” would be okay, just nothing too big. Yeah.
Blinken then declares victory – more or less– in Ukraine, says assistance is “unprecedented.” Maybe refresher on WWI and WWII? Says Putin has “failed to achieve a single one of his strategic aims.” Well, that depends on what they are. Do we know?
He says China is “integral to the global economy,” signaling rollback of Trump sanctions? He says, we “have to deal with each other,” so go-along-to-get-along. It is just that the relationship is “one of the most complex and consequential,” in other words, let’s not rock the boat.
Blinken then notes “we are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War,” but “to the contrary we are determined to avoid both.” Bingo! Xi was waiting for that line. Would Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, even Carter, or especially Reagan have ever said to the Soviets, “worry not, we are not looking for a Cold War”?
Imagine Reagan saying to the Soviets what Blinken said: “We do not seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China…” Where is: “Make no mistake, we will defend vital interests. Blinken says we will “defend and strengthen international law…” What happens when China says, “Nice, we will cheat?”
As if polishing the apple, Blinken goes on and on. “China is a global power with extraordinary reach, influence and ambition … second largest economy, with world-class cities and public transportation networks.” Really?
You mean those locked down cities? And wow, is Biden’s “building back better” really an emulation of China’s infrastructure? He keeps raining compliments line after line …
“China’s transformation is due to the talent, the ingenuity, the hard work of the Chinese people.” NO, IT IS NOT. It is due to suppression of the people, concentration of power, theft of Western technology, coercion of US companies, and countless illegal practices unpunished.
To be honest, the speech does outdo Neville Chamberlain, whose appeasement speech started and ended with “peace in our time.” Blinken then rolls out the strategy, to “invest, align and compete.”
Nice, just wrongly assesses the imminence of China’s threat, and will for dominance, misses that they are militarizing at breakneck pace, do not care about Blinken’s friendly values. Naivete is about imagining the world as you wish it – when it is not. About dreaming without feet on ground. It is about trusting a signature from Iran, new promises from China.
Appeasement is where naivete meets fear – and China knows it. The speech said what China hoped – Biden’s approach is appeasement. Bad policy, dangerous, invites challenges. Words are cheap – until they get costly. Let us hope China recalls the truth: Americans fight, they do not appease.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now