The main Indications of US policy towards China have begun to become clear, and this policy reflects an American approach based on dialogue, without abandoning the militancy adopted by the administration of former President “Donald Trump”. In this context, the Egyptian researcher will analyze what (the shift in the language of China’s political discourse towards the policy of the new US administration and its impact on the Middle East, and the corresponding Chinese policy determinants). On the other hand, the scholar will shed light on the position of the Middle East countries, especially in the Gulf region, with the intensification of competition between the two major powers.
The moves of US President Joe Biden’s administration, since he formally took office on January 2021, have focused on building a policy toward China based on alliances. This policy includes:
Trying to coordinate with Washington’s allies to confront China’s foreign policies.
Re-enhancing the influence of the United States in international organizations.
This trend also shows that the determinants of the US administration’s policy towards China are not exclusively related to Washington’s management of bilateral relations with Beijing, as much as they are affected by the management of its relations with other countries as well.
The “Biden administration” stems from a position of weakness in the East Asian region following the isolationist policies of the previous “Trump’s administration”, and the impact of the Corona pandemic.
Chinese officials and analysts have pointed to a crisis (the failure of the Trump administration’s pressure on Japan and South Korea to increase their defense spending).
On the other hand, China’s success in persuading most countries in the region to join the (Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement) was the biggest blow to American influence.
In mid-March 2021, a “Quad Summit” was held, which brought together the leaders of (the United States, Japan, India, and Australia), and focused on China. The summit showed that “Biden” wanted to expand the scope of cooperation among the group’s members, to include elements of “soft power”, in addition to its military dimension.
We also note the tours of the US Secretary of State, “Anthony Blinken” and the US Defense Minister “Lloyd Austin” to Japan and South Korea as well to coordinate US efforts against China.
Washington has announced the holding of a high-level meeting in Alaska between Secretary of State “Anthony Blinken” and National Security Adviser “Jack Sullivan” on the one hand, and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Communist Party of China “Yang Jiechi” and Foreign Minister “Wang Yi” on the other hand.
On the bilateral level with China, we note that (the Biden administration has adopted a parallel dimension based on a balance between diplomacy in issues on which the two parties agree, and deterrence in controversial files). The US strategic objective of this approach is to adopt dialogue, but to a lesser degree than the administration of former President “Barack Obama”, in conjunction with maintaining the policy of confrontation, but to a lesser degree than the Trum’s administration.
One of the most important contentious issues that is expected to occupy the agenda of the two countries, and which is witnessing the intensification of competition between them, is “technological competition”. Chinese Professor (Wang Da), Deputy Director of the American Institute at Jilin University in China, analyzes the course of this technological competition between Washington and Beijing, saying:
The United States will continue to adopt a hard policy towards China in certain areas, such as 5G networks, quantum computing and artificial intelligence, but it will reduce the policy of “aggressive detachment in other less sensitive areas”.
We note here the Biden campaign pledge during the US election battle to allocate $300 billion for innovation, and this will be the main driver behind US policy, in parallel with (Washington’s endeavor to undermine China’s capabilities in the field of science and technology).
On the (political level), the Biden administration seems to have no options but to be tough on China. One of the most important strategic goals of President Biden is to end the internal political division. It is understood from this that adopting a different approach from the Trump administration towards China may deepen the division further, and this complex position for the American administration means that at a time when “the files that might produce consensus between Democrats and Republicans are almost absent”. Here, we can see that the “Chinese threat” appears to be the most important consensual issue on the American political scene at the moment.
American analyzes indicate that between a quarter to a third of men in the United States may lose their jobs by the middle of this century. In addition, the expansion of globalization and the accelerating digitization process caused great pressure on the working class in some crucial states, which are called (Rust Belt states), in which Biden achieved a hard or hard victory in the last presidential elections in the face of his opponent, “Trump”. These are the states of (Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin), which means that this class will determine the outcome of the US presidential election again in 2024.
Based on this complex political equation towards the US tightening policy against China, the Biden administration announced its intention to tighten trade policy with China, with the “Joe Biden administration”, stressing the need to “reconsider the agreement of the first phase of trade negotiations with China and not to rush to lift trade sanctions against it”.
On the (security level), the White House issued guidelines for all US agencies in the month of March 2021, we note that it “mentioned China’s security risk more than 20 times”.
President “Biden” pledged the importance of (strengthening the US military presence in the Indo-Pacific region), and obtaining the support of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia in the face of “China’s hostile practices in the Northeast Asia and the South China Sea”, in addition to the support of NATO, As essential components of the American alliance against Chinese policies in that region, according to the new American vision.
The US security document also pledged the importance of “strengthening the US partnership with India, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and the rest of ASEAN countries” to undermine and besiege China.
In order to undermine and besiege Chinese influence, Washington announced in March 2021 several plans to build (a network of guided and high-precision missiles along the so-called “first island chain”, which constitutes the first strategic defense line for China), and includes mainly “Taiwan and the Philippines”, and as well as several islands disputed between Japan and China.
The Biden’s administration’s tendency to double (media and diplomatic pressures on China in connection with the human rights file in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, and with regard to the international investigation of the source of the spread of the Corona virus, as well as the file of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea) was also clearly shown.
On the other hand, there are files around which the views of China and the United States of America converge together, according to the same American vision, and among the files of: (controlling nuclear arms, climate change, and combating epidemics), which are the foundations for points of cooperation between the two sides, as it focused Biden made his first call with Chinese President “Xi Jinping” in February 2021.
But the main dilemma that will face the “Biden administration” lies in (the different visions of most Southeast Asian countries for the security approach to confront China from the American vision itself), and the inability of the Asian countries allied to Washington to withstand Washington’s strategic pressures to confront Chinese influence, which is mainly supported by policy interactions. interior in the United States. These mainly Asian countries share a common destiny with China politically, economically, geographically and historically. Moreover, most do not view US-China relations as a “zero-sum” as in Washington.
Here, we note from the foregoing, the contradiction of the policies and vision of the American administration with its allies regarding China, and therefore, the United States will have to (invent new formulations in its dealings with each country separately according to its interests), and this is the most important obstacle in Washington’s relations with its allies in dealing with China.