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Joe Biden’s “blunders” are a danger to Americans.
Once again, speaking to a foreign audience without the aid of his teleprompter, President Biden wandered off-script, in this instance promising that the United States would respond militarily if China were to invade Taiwan. Once again, the White House had to backtrack on its careless remarks.
Just weeks ago, Biden made similarly reckless comments during a visit to Poland, when he appeared to call for the overthrow of Vladimir Putin, and suggested American GIs could soon enter Ukraine.
In both cases, Biden gave America’s enemies unprecedented propaganda opportunities; Putin and President Xi may use video of the president’s remarks to justify increased hostilities. It’s not smart.
US ARMY WILL DEFEND TAIWAN ‘IF IT HAPPENS’, SAYS BIDEN
Casually letting go of a military threat against China is not smart all the time. But especially now, when President Xi faces criticism for mishandling the economy and COVID, he could seize on Biden’s misguided promise as a life raft, using the implied threat as an excuse to step up the fight. military aggression, or even to invade Taiwan.
Diverting the Chinese public from the draconian shutdowns and rising unemployment could be tempting for the authoritarian Xi, who wants to be proclaimed ruler for life at the end of this year.
Chinese officials responded angrily to Biden’s comment, with a Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying ‘Beijing’ was ‘strongly unhappy’ with the president’s pledge and promising the government would ‘take firm action to safeguard its sovereignty. and its security interests”.
GEN. KEANE CALLS FOR ENDING ‘STRATEGIC AMBIGUITY’ WITH CHINA: THEY MUST UNDERSTAND WE WILL DEFEND TAIWAN
Biden’s suggestion that the United States would support Taiwan militarily represents a break from the “strategic ambiguity” that has long guided official US policy. Our approach has been, in effect, to keep China guessing, hoping that uncertainty would dissuade Beijing from invading its breakaway region.
Biden, speaking in Japan, all but demolished that uncertainty.
Since Biden has made similar promises to Taiwan in the past, the White House will have a hard time erasing this latest blunder. Twice last year, Biden claimed the United States was “committed” to defending the disputed territory. Twice, Biden handlers have asserted that in fact our nation’s position has not changed.
Why is this important? Because for the first time in a long time, China is in trouble. The White House recently boasted that the United States will grow faster than China this year, for the first time since 1976. (The Biden administration previously claimed in late 2021 that the United States had overtaken China in 2021, which was not true.)
New White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted a Bloomberg study finding that US GDP will grow 2.8% this year, compared to 2% for China, saying the benefit stems from policies economics of Biden.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY ON WHITE HOUSE CLARIFYING BIDEN’S CHINA-TAIWAN REMARKS: ‘THESE GAFFES ARE ALARMING’
The real news is that China is barely growing after decades of unbridled expansion, largely due to President Xi’s missteps.
First, the autocratic ruler has put a regulatory stranglehold on China’s fast-growing tech sector in his bid to curb the power of emerging oligarchs. As a result, according to The Economist, “$1 billion has been wiped from the collective market capitalization of some of the world’s largest internet groups, such as Tencent, a gaming and social media giant, and Alibaba, the Chinese powerhouse of the e-commerce”.
Xi has positioned his opposition to tech entrepreneurs like Alibaba founder Jack Ma as a politically appealing socialist mandate, calling for “common prosperity” and forcing billionaire industrialists to self-criticism and repentance.
CHINA’S COVID LOCKDOWNS ARE A SYMPTOM OF DEEPER PROBLEMS
As he has imposed ever-increasing Communist Party surveillance over this important sector, Xi has chilled new investment, especially from overseas. The NASDAQ Golden Dragon China Index, which hit an all-time high in February 2021, is down 69%.
Xi’s anti-tech policies have also hurt ordinary Chinese who, for the first time in years, face unemployment above 6%, the highest rate in decades except for a brief spike. related to COVID in 2020.
Last summer, for example, Xi cracked down on after-school tutoring companies that employed some 250,000 people. Due to new rules barring businesses from working weekends and forcing those businesses to restructure as nonprofits, thousands of people have lost their jobs.
Second, Xi demanded that China adopt a zero-COVID policy that has led to draconian lockdowns across large swathes of the nation and undermined the economy.
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China’s losing battle against Covid stems from two issues: first, the virus has become increasingly contagious and difficult to contain and second, Beijing has stubbornly relied too long on an ineffective locally produced vaccine.
The best defense against COVID-related death and serious illness is to ensure that a large part of the population – and especially the elderly or sick – are vaccinated. By March, only half of China’s elderly population had received two injections. Given the vulnerability of this group, the government has been forced to isolate tens of millions of its citizens to avoid a massive death toll.
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This year, Xi Jinping hopes to be named president for life, following in Mao’s footsteps. In November, at its 20th National Party Congress, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will decide whether Xi will receive this rare honor.
Xi has done an excellent job of jailing or sidelining his opponents, but the recent public re-emergence of Premier Li Keqiang, described by the Wall Street Journal as China’s “second most powerful political figure”, has some wondering if Xi’s influence is waning. Li is credited with easing some of Xi’s most damaging policies, such as the crackdown on technology; its increased visibility signals frustration with China’s slowdown that could undermine Xi’s ambitions.
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Given Xi’s lust for power, he will stop at nothing to secure his victory. Invading Taiwan, which is said to be popular across much of the country, could be his next play.
President Biden may have just proven him right.
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