U.S. President Joe Biden called China the “most serious competitor” of the United States in his first foreign policy speech. However, Biden’s China policy is one of duality. He sometimes shows favor to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and toughness at other times. Biden is not acting. He’s entangled in the contradictions between political correctness and national security.
Is the CCP Autocracy a Cultural Norm?
At a CNN televised event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Feb. 16, Biden talked about the phone conversation he had with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Feb. 10. He explained: “If you know anything about Chinese history … the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”
“I am not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan. … Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.” This is what Biden said in accordance with his heart, his values, and the consistent standpoint of a Panda Hugger.
Biden’s values fully demonstrate the views of the politically correct camp in the United States, who refuse to recognize that the communist ideology of the Chinese regime originated from Marxism. In order to justify themselves, they use “cultural relativism” that was imported from Europe. Cultural relativism emphasizes that “cultural diversity has no right or wrong,” which is an important point of neo-Marxism born in Europe. Its essence is “moral negation,” which believes that the moral concept of right and wrong based in Christian civilization must be eliminated, and replaced by concepts like sexual confusion, advocacy of ethnic and class antagonism, anti-capitalism, and anti-religion.
Biden described the red autocracy as a “cultural norm,” which undoubtedly painted the CCP’s autocratic culture with a thin layer of justification—this is a type of sophistry. Under basic democratic values and concepts, it’s not difficult to distinguish between right and wrong. However, neo-Marxism advocates overthrowing the social order of the existing democracy and introducing various new and old Marxist values to transform democratic societies. Therefore, it emphasizes cultural relativism, equates the authoritarian culture with the traditional culture of the democratic system, and caps the authoritarian culture with a fallacious crown of cultural diversity that has no right or wrong. Biden is a clumsy student of neo-Marxism. Not knowing how to circumvent the sophistry, he could only parrot the words of others, and turn them into a blatant tolerance of autocracy. In fact, the politically correct camp is hypocritical. They show no mercy when it comes to suppressing the traditional Western values, while promoting the idea that cultural diversity has no right or wrong.
We have seen in the United States that political correctness is nothing more than Western postmodernist autocratic thinking. It is rooted in the values of red autocracy, which is why it is always compatible with the CCP in terms of values. It imposed its own values on American society, using the excuse of political correctness. Like the CCP, the politically correct camp intends to control society with its own authoritarian thinking. When the politically correct camp criticized the human rights violations under the CCP’s autocracy, it was just a show trying to wash away their close ties with the red autocratic values. It was neither sincere nor serious. Many of the older generations of politically correct Americans were attracted to “Quotes from Chairman Mao Zedong” during the anti-war movement in the 1960s. They also entered university lecture halls, generation after generation, and cultivated the pro-Marxist faculty who now occupy positions in universities and middle schools.
The 3 Factions in US Politics
The United States’ China policy under former U.S. President Trump was very clear and definitive, while Biden’s China policy seems a bit chaotic.
Panda Huggers and Dragon Slayers have always existed in the United States. Panda Huggers have been seen in the political, financial, business, and academic circles. Some members of the military and Republican Party are Dragon Slayers, who I refer to as the “Panda Restrainers.”
At this moment, Americans in the political and business circles fall under three categories in dealing with China. The first are the “Panda Restrainers” or patriots. The second are the “Traitors”— the Panda Huggers who prefers to strengthen the enemy and weaken their own country for their own interests. The third type is what I call the “Domestic Harm Group” who insist that politically correct ideas may not align with the interests of the CCP, but they do not hesitate to manipulate the ideology of political correctness to promote various policies that harm the interests of the United States in order to establish an autocracy.
The future U.S.-China relationship will be a complicated arena. The confrontation at the military level is obvious, but it will require frequent and detailed analysis at other levels. Unlike Trump, Biden is unwilling to adopt a consistent policy at all levels, and he will make conflicting decisions with regards to the military, espionage, economics, and politics to a certain extent.
When the U.S. military believes that national security is increasingly threatened by the CCP, it calls on and demands for strengthening national defense to be supported by the “Panda Restrainers” in Congress and the government. The military will become the main driving force in its China policy. Although many companies in the U.S. business community opposed Trump’s policy of economically containing the CCP, the military’s tough stance will impose certain constraints on the Panda Huggers. The military is rushing to deploy in accordance with the pace of the U.S.-China military confrontation, and the U.S. military’s preparation and deployment will inevitably restrict economic exchanges between the two countries.
CCP Is Preparing for War
The Asia-Pacific region is now facing its most dangerous decade due to the CCP’s international ambitions and military threats. The CCP’s military threat to the United States is not a war of words; it has actually made legislative preparations for war mobilization. The the CCP has expanded the “war conditions” in its national defense law to include economic necessity as an important reason for “war mobilization,” according to report published by the regime’s overseas propaganda media, Duowei News, on Oct. 22, 2020.
China’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), met on Oct. 13 last year to consider draft amendments to the national defense law proposed by the CCP State Council and its Central Military Commission. The revised national defense law clearly stipulates that, when “development interests are threatened,” a nationwide or local mobilization is necessary.
In fact, there is no need to follow legal procedures when the high-level CCP officials and the military decide to launch a war. In the past, when the Communist Party began the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Battle of Zhenbao Island, they kept their activities secret from the nation and let the official media mobilize society by using propaganda.
In its revised national defense law, the CCP evaded using the highly sensitive word “war” to define “general mobilization.” In fact, there is only one kind of “general mobilization” related to the national defense law, namely the general mobilization for war, which usually includes the following measures: 1) expanding the military pool and conscripting veterans to serve in the armed forces; 2) converting the civilian economy for military use and extending working hours; and 3) limiting the supply of civilian consumer goods and civilian industrial goods according to the needs of war.
When the CCP amended the national defense law, it included economic needs (or “development interests” as stated in official media) as the reason for the general mobilization for war. In other words, the national defense law amendment expands the CCP’s definition of “war conditions” for foreign wars to an infinite extent. A random comment can be easily linked with economic interests and then become an excuse that the CCP can use to declare a war.
This kind of general mobilization of war covers more than just the Taiwan Strait conflict, because what is most relevant to the Chinese regime’s development interests are foreign trade, technology theft, and foreign capital inflow—these factors are mainly related to the United States. In the CCP strategy, the United States is the main country that could impede its global economic interests; and the change in the national defense law means that the CCP’s war threat is aimed primarily at the United States.
Why Is the CCP Unwilling to Compete Peacefully?
The so-called “rise” of the CCP was promoted by breaking international rules and laws of various countries, such as the massive theft of intellectual property and technology secrets from the United States and other countries, and the long-term maintenance of a high trade surplus with the United States in violation of international trade rules.
If we return to normal competition at the level of international rules and laws, the CCP will lose these important tools that support its economy. Therefore, when Trump initiated the U.S.-China economic and trade talks on the subject of intellectual property infringement, the CCP denied it; at the same time, the CCP insisted on its policy of exerting pressure on the United States. Since it is still economically dependent on the United States, the Chinese regime is trying to force the United States to give in by going after it militarily.
On Feb. 12, Chinese media 6park.com stated in an article: “Judging by official statements from China and the United States, Beijing is doing its best to avoid being labeled a ‘challenge to the United States.’ In fact, it is difficult for Beijing to hide the fact that ‘China has challenged the United States.’ Economically, China has become the second-largest economy after the United States since 2011, and many economists predict that China will surpass the United States by 2027 or 2028. At the global economic governance level, the impact of the CCP’s ‘Belt and Road’ [initiative] on the global geopolitical landscape will become increasingly evident. At the military level, China and the United States are both nuclear-armed states, and China’s military presence in the South China Sea and Taiwan has increased significantly in recent years, with the PLA’s [People’s Liberation Army] military deterrence increasing significantly. The absolute advantage of the United States in the Asia-Pacific is becoming a relative advantage.” These are the CCP’s foreign propaganda words, and their self-aggrandizement is questionable. However, its ambitious mentality is fully reflected in these words, and the CCP does not hide its intention of challenging the United States.
Is the US-China Relationship Competitive?
Biden’s characterization of the CCP as a “major competitor” reduces the Trump administration’s perception of the CCP at the diplomatic level and is much more moderate.
An article published in February by Duowei News, titled, “Two Realities Determining Beijing’s Interaction with the Biden Administration,” points out that there are two factors in the current U.S.-China relationship. First, the rapid deterioration of U.S.-China relations over the past four years, especially in 2020, is heading toward a new cold war. Second, the new cold war between the United States and China may be caught in the Thucydides’ Trap—Graham Allison, a professor of Harvard Kennedy School and the author of “Destined for War,” popularized the term a decade ago. The Thucydides’ Trap refers to the dangerous dynamic that occurs when a rising power threatens to displace an existing great power as an international hegemon. And under these conditions, both parties become especially vulnerable to third-party provocations or even accidents.
The cold war was started by the CCP and the Trump administration responded in a timely manner. The Biden administration has since downplayed the situation and used the term “China challenge” to describe the current U.S.-China relationship. In reality, the United States is now facing military threat from the Chinese regime. The CCP has long posed a significant threat to U.S. national security at four major levels: military, economic, espionage, and political infiltration. For the United States, this threat is unprecedented since the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union. The CCP did not accidentally ignite the Cold War, but rather it did so in a premeditated and calculated manner, believing that it would be the winner regardless of what the rest of the world thought.
The military and economic strength of the United States is now sufficient to deal with the Chinese Communist threat, and whether the CCP will continue to be arrogant depends on how the Biden administration intends to deal with it. The future of the United States and the rest of the world are at stake.
Dr. Cheng Xiaonong is a scholar of China’s politics and economy based in New Jersey. Cheng was a policy researcher and aide to former Party leader Zhao Ziyang, when Zhao was premier. He also served as chief editor of the journal Modern China Studies.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.