krauss55_BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIAFP via Getty Images_bidenputin Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden’s Nixon Strategy

Notwithstanding the predictable howls of protest from some Europeans, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are right to seek a thawing of ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. If the main global threat is China, Putin has several compelling reasons to play ball.

STANFORD – The strategic imperative behind US President Joe Biden’s recent summitry in Europe was to forge a united Western response to China. In the three weeks since those meetings, it has become clear that he succeeded.

The United States, France, and Germany are now essentially on the same page. Each recognizes that broad international agreement is necessary to convince China to curtail its aggressive behavior. The Chinese attitude was laid bare in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks this month commemorating the centennial of the Communist Party of China. Any attempt to interfere with his country’s ascent, he warned, will lead to “heads bashed bloody against a Great Wall of steel.”

In Asia, the Biden administration’s strategic imperative has led it to place greater emphasis on the “Quad” of Asia-Pacific democracies: Australia, India, Japan, and the US. Late last month, the US and Japan staged joint naval maneuvers to prepare for any Chinese aggression toward Taiwan. And in Europe, both NATO and the European Union have elevated China to the top of the policy agenda after previously trying to avoid “out-of-region” commitments.

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