Biden Is Back, but America Isn’t
China's leaders clearly understand the critical importance of trade linkages to their country's global clout. Unfortunately, US President Joe Biden's administration needs to relearn that lesson.
STOCKHOLM – America is back. That was the key message US President Joe Biden sought to convey during his first trip abroad since taking office in January. But while Biden himself has rejoined the mix of global leaders – having served as vice president in Barack Obama’s two administrations – past US policies might not get the same opportunity for a comeback.
We live in a different world today than we did just a few years ago. Geopolitical tensions are on the rise, and cooperation on shared challenges is more urgent than ever. China’s emergence as a global power, in particular, has sparked deep, almost existential, fears in the United States, driving a reassessment of policies across the board.
A comparison between the Biden administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, released in March, and the 2015 National Security Strategy, issued when Biden was vice president, provides a glimpse into the logic of that reassessment. The 2015 strategy paid considerable attention to China, noting, for example, that the US would “closely monitor” the country’s “military modernization and expanding presence in Asia.”