Why Biden must beware of accommodating China again

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Accommodation will only embolden China. Pursuing such an approach would be a strategic mistake and, sadly, will not defeat the communist party’s grand ambitions.

With Joe Biden’s election, appeals for U.S. accommodation of the People’s Republic of China are likely to be prominent. But accommodation will fail if the intent of such policies is to appease China’s ambitions and end or reduce the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) motivation to transform global politics through coercive measures, including threats or conflict.

As it has for decades, the CCP will continue to make appeals for accommodation, for turning away from President Trump’s policies, and for Western elites to reduce balancing against China. But despite China’s apparent warm embrace, it is only a matter of time before accommodation fails. It is temporary, at best, because actual accommodation would require China to forsake or delay its objectives.

The U.S. foreign policy elite should recognize that Party Chairman Xi Jinping is determined to be the equal of Mao Zedong in his impact on the CCP and the country, and to overshadow Deng Xiaoping’s legacy. Xi will ensure the supremacy of the party and its rule. He will advance and force Maoist ideological conformity. He will continue to target rivals or potential rivals. His ultimate objective is for China to achieve dominance, and as China becomes more powerful, his actions reflect the fruits of its expanding power. This should cause the rest of the world great concern.

Under Xi, China is working to change — not embrace — the status quo in international politics. It has launched an arm race in conventional, nuclear and space weaponry, and aggressively expanded its military capability. It has confronted Japan over contested territory — the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands — and declared a new Air Defense Identification Zone in the region. It has clashed with India over their disputed border, threatened Taiwan, militarized its facility in Djibouti, and created islands in the South China Sea. Absent a U.S. response, it has the local military power to enforce its claims, and has had a series of diplomatic confrontations with the Philippines.

By Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han

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