In the early morning of November 8, Beijing time, several mainstream media in the United States announced that Biden was the first to win more than 270 electoral votes. The roller coaster presidential election is coming to an end, and Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, is about to become the 46th president of the United States. Many leaders tweeted congratulations on Biden’s election. If there is no accident, the United States will enter the Biden era in two months.
Then, if the United States enters the Biden era, will the Biden administration’s policy toward China continue the trump era “new cold war” approach or turn to ease China? During Trump’s administration, many foreign policy analysts always use “high degree of uncertainty” to summarize the policy trend of the U.S. government. Will the foreign policy of the Biden administration be more stable and traceable?
Biden’s foreign policy keyword is “middle class”
If Biden’s basic foreign policy is summed up in one core word, it should be “middle class.”. The reason is that Biden published a heavyweight campaign article “American foreign policy after saving trump” in the March / April 2020 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, which clearly proposed the basic policy framework of domestic and foreign affairs, restoring democracy at home and implementing the “middle class foreign policy” externally.
Generally speaking, articles published in foreign affairs by important politicians predict the basic policies of the ruling team. For example, in July 1947, George Kennan published the article “the root cause of the Soviet Union’s behavior”, which is the cold war declaration, suggesting that the US government should contain the Soviet Union with a realistic attitude. The trump administration published a document on the website of the State Council on the eve of voting on election day, corresponding to the article signed by Mr. X at that time. This shows the symbolic significance and great mobilization ability of Kennan’s article in the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Chinese people are more familiar with the article “Asia after Vietnam” published by Nixon, then vice president of the United States, in October 1967. In this article, Republican Nixon put forward the general keynote of China Policy – “there is no isolated containment policy”, and stressed that it is extremely dangerous and unsustainable to isolate China with a population of 1 billion from the international community.
Later, the development of us China relations seemed to follow the keynote of Nixon’s article. Kissinger and Nixon soon visited China in 1971, and China and the United States formally established diplomatic relations in January 1979.
Biden’s China policy will be very different from that of trump
Biden’s China policy is also clear from its position in the field of American foreign relations and its role in major events.
According to Biden’s statement in “the foreign policy of the United States after saving trump”, the basic propositions of the Biden administration on China relations can be summarized as follows. First, the United States will join forces with other western countries to shape rules from the environment to labor, trade, technology and transparency, with more than half of global GDP. Second, the United States will take tough measures to prevent China from dominating future technological and industrial development. Third, the United States intends to cooperate with China on “issues of convergence of interests between China and the United States” such as climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and global health security.
Obviously, this policy proposition is quite different from the foreign policy of trump period, especially in the first and third articles. It is expected that the vast majority of western countries will welcome Biden’s two propositions, namely, uniting to reshape the Western dominance and cooperating with China on a number of key issues. The first one indicates that the new U.S. government will resume multilateralism, but its relations with China are antagonistic to some extent. The third is to further expand the areas where the interests of China and the United States converge.