It has become a cottage industry in Washington and in parts of Europe these days to highlight all the many ways in which China threatens U.S., Western, and Asian interests. Politicians, military officers, and pundits take turns describing the dangers posed by Beijing’s “expansionist” and “aggressive” military, “implacably hostile” ideology, “predatory” economic and tech policies, and “insidious” overseas influence operations.
Despite shunning the Trump administration’s habitual use of most of these inflammatory adjectives, U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken nonetheless depict Beijing as challenging the entire “rules-based order that maintains global stability” and as the major focal point of a global struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, which is now, according to Biden, at an “inflection point.”
Such language echoes the premise of various strategy documents of the Trump administration and the speeches of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: that the United States is now locked in a strategic, great-power rivalry with China that overshadows any other foreign (or even domestic) threats or concerns facing the country.
There is no doubt that Beijing’s behavior in many areas challenges existing U.S. and allied interests and democratic values. Particularly under Xi Jinping, China has used its greater economic and military power to intimidate rival claimants in territorial disputes and punish nations that make statements or take what Beijing views as threatening or insulting actions. It has engaged in extensive commercial hacking and theft of technologies and favors military intimidation over dialogue in dealing with Taiwan. And it has employed draconian, repressive policies in Tibet and Xinjiang and suppressed democratic freedoms in Hong Kong.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.