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Perspective: Biden's China Challenge

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President Biden doesn't need another problem. But a large one looms, with sweeping implications for his broader foreign policy.

The immediate problem is escalating Chinese belligerence toward Taiwan. It has become clear, however, that absorption of Taiwan constitutes but one element of China's grand strategy. Other Pacific nations are threatened by Chinese efforts to supplant the role of the U.S. in the Pacific. Everything from exploding defense expenditures, to threats to other Pacific nations, to literally creating islands in the Pacific to house military bases, indicates that the strategic goal is Pacific hegemony. The behavior of leaders of other Pacific nations suggests that they have diagnosed this threat.

Biden's problem is threefold. He must reassure our Pacific allies of our Pacific commitment. He must also convince the Chinese of that commitment. He must also enlist our European allies, since our military power is waning vis-`a-vis China. Our precipitous exit from Afghanistan aided none of these efforts. The recent submarine deal with Australia reassured Pacific allies while alienating European allies.

It is still early, but the initial unfolding of Biden's foreign policy reminds us that the margin for error is minute when the stakes are so high. I'm Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.

Robert Evans is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, Business and Accounting at Rockford University and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He is actively involved in the Rockford University public policy program, trains managers on law-related topics, is a political consultant and analyst, and also serves on non-profit boards.