Both nominations are experienced in Asia-Pacific hands and in recent months publicly emphasized the need for America to unite with its allies, rather than go it alone, when dealing with China.
Blinken laments that when America clashes with its partners and allies, it has effectively allowed China to play down the threat from go-it-alone Washington.
“We’re about 25 percent of the world’s GDP,” he said on September 21.
Conversely, “when we have our partners and allies, we are 50 or 60 percent of the world’s GDP. It’s much harder for China to ignore it. ”
Mr Sullivan, a Rhodes scholar who served Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and served as one of Biden’s vice presidential advisers, echoed the sentiment in a September interview with Lowy Institute’s Michael Fullilove.
Trump’s biggest foreign policy sin, Sullivan said, was the “absolutely unnecessary” presidential election with allies, which “squandered one of America’s greatest geopolitical assets.”
“Here we are trying to get China to deal with its economic abuses and instead of deploying 50 to 60 percent of the world economy to do that, we are imposing tariffs on Canada,” said Sullivan.
“We are better off having strong, capable friends on our side than fighting on multiple fronts in the absurd and disruptive manner that Trump has done.”
Mr. Biden, write Foreign policy magazine in March, said: “By cutting us off from the economic influence of our partners, Trump has curbed the capacity of our countries to face real economic threats.
“When we join together with fellow democracies, our strength more than doubles. China cannot ignore more than half of the global economy.”
On Tuesday, speaking on stage in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden featured Mr Blinken and Mr Sullivan along with other top national security and diplomatic nominees, including Avril Haines as director of national intelligence and John Kerry as special envoy on climate change.
‘Diplomacy is back’
“Diplomacy is back” and America will be a “welcome country”, said Biden, adding that his proposed team would “restore America globally, its global leadership and its moral leadership”.
Behind the high sentiment, however, is the harsh reality that Biden and his cabinet will be under pressure from day one to defend a hardline against China – not least because bipartisan support in Congress against Beijing has only become stronger as long as Trump. year.
China’s economic pressure on Australia, since the Morrison government called for a World Health Organization investigation into China’s origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted senior Trump officials to look into “joint retaliation plans”, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week.
“China tries to beat countries into submission by terrible economic coercion,” a senior official told the newspaper. “The West needs to create a system that collectively absorbs the economic penalties of China’s coercive diplomacy and offsets the costs.”
Mechanisms include having allied countries agree to buy goods or compensate when China boycots imports, or jointly imposing tariffs on China to offset lost trade, the report said.
While there are certain things a coalition may have, they are not easy to defend against.
– Michael Thawley, former Australian ambassador to the US
“I thought it was a good idea. I don’t know why Trump didn’t do it earlier, ”Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, told Australian Financial Overview.
South Korean companies face intensifying retaliation from Beijing in retaliation for leasing land for the US to set up the THAAD missile defense system. “We did almost nothing,” said Mr. Green.
“At some point in the last six years or so under Xi Jinping, a democratic country has been embargoed from China and there has been no response.
“If you’re talking about some sort of coalition of countries that would put prices on China with tariffs or some other way, that’s an idea that is overdue.”
Former Australian ambassador to Washington Michael Thawley agrees that one of the Trump administration’s failures is not creating a coalition of like-minded nations.
“It is [incoming] Biden’s line of administration, “he said.” They talked about working with like-minded countries to influence China’s choice.
“And the other thing is to create dialogue opportunities that China can take if it is ready to adapt its approach.”
However, Thawley added that what critics of the Trump administration missed is that “one thing to talk about coalition building, and another thing to do.”
“One of the lessons from the Cold War – on all conditions that the Soviet Union was very different from China – was that creating a coalition of countries against competitors was very difficult.
“And while there are certain things the coalition might have, it’s not easy to maintain.”
Mr Thawley noted that while Australia was “ahead of America by nearly a decade” in saying Huawei was not allowed to participate in the NBN, and in front of Washington in exposing China’s United Front activities, Canberra has recently become “very reluctant to sign up for the position only. US in China “.
He said Australia’s position recognizes that many of China’s neighbors, while sharing broad fundamental interests in China that do not dominate the region “don’t necessarily want to sign something they don’t have a big say in.”
“And beyond that, there is a huge difference in the US,” he added. “Congress is united in its view that China has crossed the line, but farmers, Wall Street, and even the IT industry have very different perspectives on what needs to be done and how far it should go.
“Coordinating policies to make it harder for China to choose people will be very difficult. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s very difficult.”
However, the new government appears determined to explore such an approach.
Mr Sullivan told the Lowy Institute in September that “allies will be proud to have a place in the Biden administration’s hierarchy of foreign policy priorities”.
“This must go beyond the region [level] and arriving at a common agenda of strengthening our own foundations and collectively developing strategies to meet these great global challenges.
“And yes, China is near the top of the list of major global challenges that we must tackle together effectively.”
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