Joe Biden has gone back to the well of the foreign policy establishment to select his Secretary of State-designate. Biden chose his longtime confidante Antony Blinken, who served as the former Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor in the Obama administration and as then-Vice President Biden’s National Security Advisor. Blinken is a globalist who worries more about how other countries perceive America than how other countries, especially China, have manipulated multilateral institutions and agreements to the detriment of the American people.
Indeed, Blinken wants to re-engage with the Chinese regime to deal with such global threats as climate change and pandemics. Blinken seems oblivious to the fact that China has made these problems worse in pursuit of its goal to overtake the United States as the world’s number one superpower. China has continued to increase its greenhouse gas emissions to support its economic growth while expecting the U.S to cut its emissions. And China hid the truth about the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, during the outbreak’s early days when the virus could have been prevented from spreading worldwide.
Blinken has said that climate change will be “a number one priority” for a Biden administration. To drive this point home, Biden chose former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as his special presidential envoy for climate. In that role Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, where he will have plenty of opportunity to spout off to a receptive audience that climate change is our preeminent national security threat.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Kerry was a prime mover behind engaging with China to enter into the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Kerry was swindled then. And now he is back. “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry tweeted after Biden’s announcement. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”
Through the artifice of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, China managed to maneuver the Obama-Biden administration into agreeing to severely handicap the U.S. economy. The Obama-Biden administration committed to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, through stifling, job-killing regulations. China meanwhile would be allowed to continue spewing more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as it further accelerates its economic growth. President Trump wisely withdrew the U.S. from this con game. But Biden, with Blinken and Kerry by his side, intends to rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on day one of his administration and allow China to take us to the cleaners once again.
During an interview with the Hudson Institute last July, Antony Blinken admitted that “the status quo was really not sustainable particularly when it comes to China’s commercial and economic practices,” including “the lack of reciprocity in the relationships.” But Blinken, who left out his boss Biden’s part in helping to create this non-sustainable status quo in the first place, is ready to repeat the same mistakes while hoping this time for a more constructive response from China. That fits the classic definition of insanity, attributed to Albert Einstein, which is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Beginning in 2002, Blinken served for six years as Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when then-Senator Biden was committee chairman. Biden at the time was pushing for expanded trade with China within the framework of the rules-based World Trade Organization. Biden expected China to play by the rules and to reform its own government as it was integrated into the global economic system. That didn’t happen.
Nothing changed while Blinken was working closely with then-Vice President Biden as his National Security Advisor. Biden said in May 2011 that “a rising China is a positive, positive development, not only for China but for America and the world writ large.”
We know how that worked out. On Biden and Blinken’s watch at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then during the Obama administration, a “rising China” has turned into an extremely negative development for “America and the world writ large.” Yet we are now supposed to believe that this same dynamic duo, together with John Kerry, will fix the mess that they helped create by reversing President Trump’s successful efforts to confront the “rising China” head-on. That’s like calling the arsonist to put out the fire.
During his Hudson Institute interview, Blinken said that “we are in a competition with China and there’s nothing wrong with competition if it’s fair.” Duh! The question is how to make it fair. Blinken offers more of the same conventional wisdom that he and the rest of the foreign policy establishment are so used to peddling.
“We need, in the first instance, to invest in our own competitiveness,” Blinken said. Until the China Virus came to our shores, the Trump administration had already restored the competitiveness of the American economy to new heights, including in manufacturing. But fair competitiveness requires a level playing field. And with China that means removing from the playing field China’s unfair trade practices and massive thefts of intellectual property. Blinken said during his Hudson Institute interview that a Biden administration will be tougher with China than in years past. But there is nothing in Biden’s long record of failures or in what Blinken recommended in his interview with the Hudson Institute that gives us any reason to believe him.
“We need to rally our allies and partners instead of alienating them to deal with some of the challenges that China poses,” Blinken suggested. Fine, but what happens if, out of fear, self-interest or both, they refuse to cooperate in taking on China’s increasingly aggressive behavior? Trump was willing to lead by example from the front with strong actions of his own. He had no use for collective cowardice with the U.S. leading from behind.
Blinken said during his Hudson Institute interview that “we need to be standing up for our values and put them back at the center of our foreign policy, not walk away from them.” While Blinken no doubt intended this comment as a slap at the Trump administration’s focus on economic and national security issues with China, he is barking up the wrong tree. Trump did not walk away from our values. Far from it. Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020. And the Trump administration followed through by imposing sanctions on several senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The list of sanctioned senior officials included a member of CCP’s most powerful political body, the 25-member Politburo.
The difference between Trump and the Biden-Blinken-Kerry foreign policy establishment is that Trump does not stop with high sounding rhetoric or meaningless symbolic gestures. He takes effective action.
Blinken makes the same mistake when it comes to defending the disastrous nuclear deal the Obama-Biden administration negotiated with Iran, with John Kerry leading the charge. Blinken sharply criticized the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) and apply maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime. “We’re heading right back to where we were before the agreement,” Blinken said, “which is a really terrible binary choice between either taking action to stop the program of all of the potential unintended consequences of doing that (sic) or doing nothing and allowing Iran to be in a breakout position where it can develop a nuclear weapon on very, very short order.”
However, we would be facing precisely the same “binary choice” Blinken worries about just a few years from now if the U.S. had remained in the JCPOA as originally negotiated. Obama himself admitted back in 2015 that once the deal’s restrictions on Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges are lifted, Iran would be able to break out to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb in “almost zero” time by 2028 or so. All that the JCPOA did was to kick the can down the road for a short time. By then, Iran will be more militarily prepared to defend its nuclear weapons production facilities than it is now.
Dictatorships like the Chinese and Iranian regimes pay lip service to the rules of multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization while regularly flouting them in practice. They enter into multilateral agreements such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the JCPOA with every intention of manipulating them at the expense of their adversaries in a zero-sum game. With globalists like Antony Blinken and John Kerry around, Trump’s America First policies will be replaced by Biden’s sellout of America.