Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

The Four Presidential Prospects Need to Unite Against China

◎ The existential threat to the United States from the People’s Republic of China will be the most serious foreign policy challenge confronting Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, and Kamala Harris.

The existential threat to the United States from the People’s Republic of China will be the most serious foreign policy challenge confronting a reelected Donald Trump, a newly-elected Joe Biden, a constitutionally-appointed and/or newly elected Mike Pence, or a constitutionally-appointed Kamala Harris.

Whichever of these individuals, or pairs of individuals, ends up exercising the powers of the presidency, he and/or she would be well advised to commit his/her administration to the core China policies of the Trump administration and to retain in their positions as many of President Trump’s Asia hands as is politically tolerable.

Notwithstanding the president’s stylistic proclivities and negotiating gambits, he has appointed the most innovative, courageous team of public officials ever to address Communist China’s across-the-board aggression — and has empowered them to formulate and implement the economic, diplomatic and military policies essential to countering that aggression.

The first area to be tackled was trade, because the economic power it generated enabled all of China’s other assertiveness. It is where the president was most directly involved by virtue of his business experience. Trump complained for years before entering politics that China was taking advantage of the rules-based international system by cheating and reneging on agreements, stealing the West’s intellectual property and business secrets, and manipulating its trade and currency practices. He saw American and European corporations and governments indulging Beijing out of a combination of greed, fear and naïveté.

Trump and his trade team took on China’s economic aggression frontally and unflinchingly, and achieved a Phase 1 breakthrough that, if carried out, would have started the communist government on the path to long-promised and long-delayed internal economic and political reform. The building momentum that saw China’s economic rise and America’s relative decline was now being halted and about to commence a reverse dynamic.

But, seemingly out of nowhere — or rather, from a place called Wuhan, China — a deadly virus mysteriously emerged and, as a result of a series of deceptive actions by Beijing, spread rapidly throughout the world, crippling economies and paralyzing societies. The Trump administration’s hard-won trade breakthrough quickly dissipated, ending in presidential disillusionment with the reliability of Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the international arena. Economic and political reform in the People’s Republic was again indefinitely deferred.

But the Trump team, still with the president’s personal involvement, was not deterred from continuing the counter-offensive on several other fronts. In the critical area of combined economic and national security, it targeted the threats posed by Chinese business powerhouses ZTEHuawei and Tik Tok. As with the trade deal and its impact on American farmers, important American economic interests suffered collateral damage when the screws were tightened on those Chinese companies, but the administration persevered in the face of diplomatic criticism and domestic corporate pressures.

When it came to the volatile environment of Chinese territorial assertiveness and nascent military aggression, an area where Trump had no experience, he heeded the advice of national security officials and authorized a forward-leaning program of Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea and enhanced U.S. Navy transits through the Taiwan Strait.  Further on Taiwan, Trump went with the sound guidance and experience of his foreign policy complement, reinforced by a series of pro-Taiwan congressional initiatives, some controversial, but all of which the president willingly signed into law.

He also approved legislation punishing Chinese officials for their treatment of Tibetans, Uighurs  and Hong Kongers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a slate of administration officials delivered speeches and took actions targeting Beijing’s massive human rights transgressions and other violations of international law and norms.

Pompeo carried the argument to its logical extreme. Calling on the international community and the Chinese people, working together or in parallel, to press the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to end its aggressive and illegal behavior, he effectively advocated regime change in China.

That should be the goal of all four of the individuals who prospectively will be exercising the powers of the presidency for all or most of the next four years. It would be useful if the candidates would join in publicly putting Beijing on notice that Americans are united in opposing the CCP’s domestic and international conduct.

The candidates should back up that message to the Chinese people by committing their potential administrations to a revived strategic communications campaign to deliver the truth to the Chinese people, similar to what the West successfully accomplished with the Soviet Union and communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

If like-minded countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia join such a U.S.-led effort as Pompeo urged, or develop their own collaborative efforts toward the same end, the global community can experience the same peaceful transformation that ended the Cold War. History shows the catastrophic alternative when totalitarianism goes unchecked.

First published in The Hill.

Joseph Bosco served as China country director for the Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006 and as Asia-Pacific director of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief from 2009 to 2010. He is a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Corean-American Studies and the Institute for Taiwan-American Studies, and has held nonresident appointments in the Asia-Pacific program at the Atlantic Council and the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SinoInsider.

Search past entries by date
“The breadth of SinoInsider’s insights—from economics through the military to governance, all underpinned by unparalleled reporting on the people in charge—is stunning. In my over fifty years of in-depth reading on the PRC, unclassified and classified, SinoInsider is in a class all by itself.”
James Newman, Former U.S. Navy cryptologist
“Unique insights are available frequently from the reports of Sinoinsider.”
Michael Pillsbury, Senior Fellow for China Strategy, The Heritage Foundation
“Thank you for your information and analysis. Very useful.”
Prof. Ravni Thakur, University of Delhi, India
“SinoInsider’s research has helped me with investing in or getting out of Chinese companies.”
Charles Nelson, Managing Director, Murdock Capital Partners
“I value SinoInsider because of its always brilliant articles touching on, to name just a few, CCP history, current trends, and factional politics. Its concise and incisive analysis — absent the cliches that dominate China policy discussions in DC and U.S. corporate boardrooms — also represents a major contribution to the history of our era by clearly defining the threat the CCP poses to American peace and prosperity and global stability. I am grateful to SinoInsider — long may it thrive!”
Lee Smith, Author and journalist
“Your publication insights tremendously help us complete our regular analysis on in-depth issues of major importance. ”
Ms. Nicoleta Buracinschi, Embassy of Romania to the People’s Republic of China
"I’m a very happy, satisfied subscriber to your service and all the deep information it provides to increase our understanding. SinoInsider is profoundly helping to alter the public landscape when it comes to the PRC."
James Newman, Former U.S. Navy cryptologist
“Prof. Ming’s information about the Sino-U.S. trade war is invaluable for us in Taiwan’s technology industry. Our company basically acted on Prof. Ming’s predictions and enlarged our scale and enriched our product lines. That allowed us to deal capably with larger orders from China in 2019. ”
Mr. Chiu, Realtek R&D Center
“I am following China’s growing involvement in the Middle East, seeking to gain a better understanding of China itself and the impact of domestic constraints on its foreign policy. I have found SinoInsider quite helpful in expanding my knowledge and enriching my understanding of the issues at stake.”
Ehud Yaari, Lafer International Fellow, The Washington Institute
“SinoInsider’s research on the CCP examines every detail in great depth and is a very valuable reference. Foreign researchers will find SinoInsider’s research helpful in understanding what is really going on with the CCP and China. ”
Baterdene, Researcher, The National Institute for Security Studies (Mongolian)
“The forecasts of Prof. Chu-cheng Ming and the SinoInsider team are an invaluable resource in guiding our news reporting direction and anticipating the next moves of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments.”
Chan Miu-ling, Radio Television Hong Kong China Team Deputy Leader
“SinoInsider always publishes interesting and provocative work on Chinese elite politics. It is very worthwhile to follow the work of SinoInsider to get their take on factional struggles in particular.”
Lee Jones, Reader in International Politics, Queen Mary University of London
“[SinoInsider has] been very useful in my class on American foreign policy because it contradicts the widely accepted argument that the U.S. should work cooperatively with China. And the whole point of the course is to expose students to conflicting approaches to contemporary major problems.”
Roy Licklider, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
“As a China-based journalist, SinoInsider is to me a very reliable source of information to understand deeply how the CCP works and learn more about the factional struggle and challenges that Xi Jinping may face. ”
Sebastien Ricci, AFP correspondent for China & Mongolia
“SinoInsider offers an interesting perspective on the Sino-U.S. trade war and North Korea. Their predictions are often accurate, which is definitely very helpful.”
Sebastien Ricci, AFP correspondent for China & Mongolia
“I have found SinoInsider to provide much greater depth and breadth of coverage with regard to developments in China. The subtlety of the descriptions of China's policy/political processes is absent from traditional media channels.”
John Lipsky, Peter G. Peterson Distinguished Scholar, Kissinger Center for Global Affairs
“My teaching at Cambridge and policy analysis for the UK audience have been informed by insights from your analyzes. ”
Dr Kun-Chin Lin, University Lecturer in Politics,
Deputy Director of the Centre for Geopolitics, Cambridge University
" SinoInsider's in-depth and nuanced analysis of Party dynamics is an excellent template to train future Sinologists with a clear understanding that what happens in the Party matters."
Stephen Nagy, Senior Associate Professor, International Christian University
“ I find Sinoinsider particularly helpful in instructing students about the complexities of Chinese politics and what elite competition means for the future of the US-China relationship.”
Howard Sanborn, Professor, Virginia Military Institute
“SinoInsider has been one of my most useful (and enjoyable) resources”
James Newman, Former U.S. Navy cryptologist
“Professor Ming and his team’s analyses of current affairs are very far-sighted and directionally accurate. In the present media environment where it is harder to distinguish between real and fake information, SinoInsider’s professional perspectives are much needed to make sense of a perilous and unpredictable world. ”
Liu Cheng-chuan, Professor Emeritus, National Chiayi University