BY JOSEPH KLEIN
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man!” Joe Biden said at a rally during his presidential campaign in 2019 as he downplayed China’s threat to the United States.
Since he became president, Mr. Biden himself has been out to lunch when it comes to confronting the multipronged military, economic, and diplomatic challenges that China poses to the vital national security interests of the United States.
President Biden, for example, turned the other cheek for several days in February while China’s spy balloon was maneuvering over sensitive military installations across the continental United States before the balloon was finally shot down. The president claimed at the time that the spy balloon was “not a major breach.” He recklessly signaled to America’s number one adversary that invading sovereign U.S. airspace for days to conduct an intelligence operation over several U.S. military installations is no big deal to America’s commander-in-chief.
Contrary to the Biden administration’s assurances that it successfully blocked China from gathering any valuable intelligence, NBC has reported that China’s spy balloon “was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites,” according to NBC’s sources.
The spy balloon is just one part of the Chinese regime’s increasingly aggressive strategy to test the Biden administration’s resolve, which has proven to be seriously wanting.
Last month, the Chinese regime announced a 7.2 percent increase in its military budget, more than double the rate of increase that President Biden has proposed for his fiscal 2024 defense budget. In particular, President Biden’s defense budget is woefully inadequate in addressing China’s expansion of the size of its naval ship fleet to the point that it already surpasses the size of the U.S. naval ship fleet.
Moreover, as U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted last February during remarks he delivered on the Senate floor:
“The Chinese Air Force now flies fifth-generation aircraft armed with air-to-air missiles that outrange our own. The entire People’s Liberation Army conducts advanced and realistic training. And our own top cyber officer, General Paul Nakasone, says the improvement in Chinese cyber capabilities is ‘unlike anything [he has] ever seen.’”
Senator Wicker focused his remarks on the need to beef up U.S. defense assistance to Taiwan. However, beyond just concerns regarding Taiwan, China’s rapid military build-up, coupled with its economic prowess and increasingly confrontational posture towards the West, presents significantly broader geopolitical risks to the U.S. and its allies around the world.
China’s threat to its neighbors in the Indo-Pacific region is a given as the Chinese regime expands its military presence in the South China Sea. Its growing alliances with Russia and Iran are obviously very troublesome. And China is using its economic carrots of expanded infrastructure investments, loans, and trade to lure African countries into its orbit.
Closer to the U.S. homeland, the Chinese Communist regime also has its eyes on Latin America where it is gaining such a strong foothold that it has U.S. military experts worried.
Admiral Craig S. Faller, for example, testified about his concerns before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2021 while he was still leading the United States Southern Command. He noted China’s advance toward its goal of “economic dominance” in Latin America while it also seeks “to establish global logistics and basing infrastructure in our hemisphere in order to project and sustain military power at greater distances.”
“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to increase its self-serving activities,” Admiral Faller said, “to gain global influence and leverage across all domains in the USSOUTHCOM AOR: cyber, space, extractive and energy industries, transportation hubs, roads, infrastructure, telecommunications, legal and illegal fishing, agriculture, and military training – Spanish and Portuguese-language military education modeled after U.S. professional military education. The PRC is also ‘gifting’ security supplies and equipment as a way to gain access and win favor with regional security forces.”
The Biden administration’s attempt to counter China’s growing clout in the region, the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP), has proven to be ineffective compared to China’s successes. And President Biden was humiliated last year when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the leaders of several other Latin American countries were no-shows at the Summit of the Americas that the U.S. hosted in Los Angeles.
On the diplomatic front, the PRC is running circles around the Biden administration. China managed, for example, to extend its influence in the Middle East by mediating a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore their diplomatic relations. As Amy Hawthorne, deputy director for research at the Project on Middle East Democracy explained, “China’s prestigious accomplishment vaults it into a new league diplomatically and outshines anything the U.S. has been able to achieve in the region since Biden came to office.”
What President Biden has managed to achieve in the Middle East region is to alienate Saudi Arabia’s leaders. China has exploited the Saudis’ anger, luring a major decades-old ally of the United States to move closer to China’s sphere of influence. China already purchases more than a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports and “is in active talks with Beijing to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan,” according to a report last year in the Wall Street Journal.
Such a move, the Wall Street Journal article noted, “would dent the U.S. dollar’s dominance of the global petroleum market…If priced in yuan, those sales would boost the standing of China’s currency. The Saudis are also considering including yuan-denominated futures contracts, known as the petroyuan, in the pricing model of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco.”
The Saudis have also indicated their interest in joining BRICS, an inter-governmental organization whose current members are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. China, not surprisingly, is the most powerful member of BRICS by far and has a strong interest in expanding BRICS’ membership. In addition to Saudi Arabia, countries such as Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, and Turkey have expressed an interest in joining.
The BRICS nations see themselves in economic terms as “an alternative model to the G7,” which consists of seven major Western countries – Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the United States.
“Given the West’s overuse of sanctions as an economic weapon, BRICS is establishing its own financial institutions to challenge the likes of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” according to an article posted on BRICS information portal. “It is obvious that the wealth and power of BRICS members is increasing, and by admitting new members, the prestige and influence of the bloc will only grow and serve as an economic force for countries seeking independence from Western hegemony. To move this process forward, the New Development Bank was established by BRICS as a counterweight to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.”
Crude oil is currently priced in U.S. dollars. Purchases and sales of oil are done in U.S. dollars. As Investopedia explained, since the 1970’s “the rise of the petrodollar system…
China sees its purchases of oil from Saudi Arabia, if payable with yuan rather than dollars, as a means to begin breaking the monopoly of the U.S. dollar as the only acceptable currency for oil purchases. If other OPEC+ members also accept yuan for oil purchases and price their oil in yuan in lieu of dollars, the yuan will over time erode the dollar’s power as the dominant currency for international transactions and global reserves. If China succeeds, the U.S. economy will suffer far worse from inflation and interest rate increases than from even the economic disaster that President Biden’s policies have inflicted on the American people since he took office.
China is amplifying its global economic reach as its economy, the second largest in the world, continues to grow and close the gap with the U.S. economy. The Chinese regime continues to make inroads all over the world with loans and investments that make the recipient countries more and more dependent on China. And President Biden has no answer except to characterize China as a competitor rather than as what it really is – America’s number one adversary.
It is no wonder that China’s model of authoritarian governance looks more and more attractive to countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America as they witness the steep decline of U.S. power and prestige on President Biden’s watch. Meanwhile, the Biden family syndicate has done quite well as a result of its business dealings with Chinese enterprises.