New barbs are being thrown between the US and China, and the center of the conflict is the 2022 Olympic games. The Biden Administration has floated withdrawing from the international event, set to be hosted in Beijing, citing China’s numerous human rights abuses.
But the drama over the Olympics belies deeper tensions between the two superpowers. With reports coming from the Pentagon that China is accelerating its plan of annexing Taiwan, US-China experts like Gordon Chang believe the US is long overdue to stand up to China’s aggressive foreign policy.
“The foreign ministry talked about the crimes against humanity and genocide and the charges leveled by the United States and he said all of that was ‘the lie of the century,” Chang told The Cats Roundtable on Sunday, “and he implied that the United States was going to suffer retaliation.”
In the face of Beijing’s bluster, Chang criticized the Biden administration for lacking the substance to the rhetoric, characterizing the Olympic debate as “soft-pedal talk about a boycott.”
But if Biden doesn’t truly desire to act, Chang believes the American people are growing increasingly discontent towards the US government’s submissive relationship with China.
“I think the American people are going to push the Biden administration to do something it doesn’t want to do,” he told The Cats Roundtable, ‘because the specter of mass-internment, killing their minorities, mass rape, forced labor, slave labor, imprisonment of children—all of this, I think, is too much for the American public.”
But deeper rumblings from Beijing are threatening to destabilize the region, particularly China’s “daily incursions” into Taiwanese airspace, invasive patrols by the Chinese Navy, and a growing number of Chinese trawlers. The trawlers caused Chang the most alarm, telling The Cats Roundtable that Chinese trawlers had been used in the past to seize international territory.
“This is a replay of what happened in early 2012,” Chang said. “The Obama administration didn’t react. We then emboldened the worst elements in the Chinese political system by showing everybody else that aggression worked—and then China went on a rampage against its neighbors.”
Chang has long had his ear to the ground with the growing imbalance in the US-China relationship, one that he saw stabilize under Trump. But with the new Biden administration, US adversaries from Beijing to Tehran were testing the waters again.
“If the Biden administration isn’t resolute, I think we could very well see more here against Taiwan,” Chang warned The Cats Roundtable.
While he doubted Biden the man, he believed Secretary of State Antony Blinken understood the challenge facing the US-China relationship.
While he criticized Blinken for his performance at Anchorage during US-China talks, Chang believed the Secretary of State knew the position the US had to take with China. And with bi-partisan support finally appearing on Capitol Hill when it comes to China, Chang told The Cats Roundtable the US at least had the tools and resources to check Beijing. As for how the captain sails the ship—that remains, perhaps anxiously, up in the air.
Listen to the interview below