|Biden administration to use natl security strategy to deflect criticism, pull support|
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that he will, in the coming weeks, address a long-awaited national security strategy to deal with the emergence of China as a great power. So far, few specifics are known, but it still sent a signal - the Russia-Ukraine conflict won't affect the US' focus in the Indo-Pacific region. No matter how the world situation changes, Washington will keep its eyes fixed on China.
Relevant mainstream Western media reports tend to emphasize the fact that the Biden administration, after more than a year in office, faces criticism from Republicans and others for lacking a formal strategy in dealing with China, Washington's main strategic competitor. They also pointed out that Washington's new strategy for China had faced significant distractions due to Russia's military operation in Ukraine. Now, the strategy is finally coming to the stage.
In March 2021, the Biden administration issued an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, which describes China as "the only competitor potentially capable of" mounting "a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system." No major changes will likely be made over the core stance in the upcoming national security strategy.
Some observers noted that if there is something new, it could be taking the new security landscape, which stems from the Ukraine crisis, into consideration. Yet, eventually, the US would connect the Russia-Ukraine conflict with the Beijing-Washington competition. In other words, Uncle Sam tends to make everything about Indo-Pacific, about China.
About the time the new strategy will be addressed, the NATO summit will be held in Madrid in June. According to a White House statement on the summit, the organization will "adopt an updated Strategic Concept to ensure NATO is ready to meet any challenge in the new and more dangerous security environment." NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has put it more clearly, saying NATO's next Strategic Concept must take account "China's growing influence." The two upcoming US-led strategies will center on China.
In terms of the US national strategy, Washington may strengthen the significance and institutional cooperation among its small alliance circles in the Indo-Pacific region, including AUKUS, Quad, and Five Eyes.
Observers are puzzled: if the US is already distracted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, does it still have enough energy and strength to target China? The US cannot afford to deal with two wars in Europe and Indo-Pacific simultaneously. So it is mulling and doing something easier to reach — counterattacking Russia by dragging it down in the mud of the war and sanctions, while maintaining pressure against China, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.
In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US has not confronted Russia face-to-face, but mobilized Ukraine to charge ahead and assembled its allies to rush to the forefront of the sanctions. The future US strategy in the Indo-Pacific could be similar. It has now started pooling resources and strength.
The US has created "threats" to itself everywhere. But how capable is the country to deal with them? What happened in Afghanistan and Iraq has already made a case in point. However, US decision-making elites seem to be idealists, rather than materialists.
China is far from being a threat to the US. In the meantime, the US is facing real challenges in its economy, inflation and stock market. Under such circumstances, it is no longer feasible to continue the Trump-era policies as a lever against China. The "garbage" left by the previous administration has caused far more damage at home than to China, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
It is time for the Biden administration to shoulder its responsibilities: stop fabricating threats and face up to real governance challenges.