Can Biden Undo The Trump Trade War Damage?

Over the past four years, the number one goal of the Trump administration has been to bring us into a war with China. It was near certain that Trump was going to Woodrow Wilson us if he got a second term, or campaign on the fact he “kept us out of war” before declaring a massive war at the start of his second term. Again, the ruining of this decades long plan is the main reason Trump’s legal team has spent so much time trying to stop Biden from winning.

Just looking at the reaction of the normal crew has filled me with joy. Just look at this Tweet from Dan Crenshaw (R-TX):

Biden‘s plan is to let radicals destroy our economy, with little if any benefit for the environment, and huge benefits for China. We will fight this every step for the way.

This was in reference to John Kerry being appointed Climate Envoy, the same John Kerry who refused to vote for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocols while in the Senate unless limits were put on China and India.

That’s an important note here, Biden is not picking people who are subservient to China, but people who can pursue diplomatic relations with China. His choice for Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, has previously laid out a list of things the United States can do to curve Chinese expansion, for example. His choice for National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, has said China is “gearing up to contest America’s global leadership,” but again believes the solution is diplomacy instead of war.

That’s an important note that many people are ignoring. Back in August, Forbes called Sullivan a “Peter Navarro-like China hawk” (even if Sullivan was a China hawk — he’s not — to call him a “Peter Navarro-like China hawk” would be like basically anyone who isn’t insane a “Peter Navarro-like China hawk”) in spite of his beliefs on countering China being very different than those of Navarro. For one, Sullivan has spent the past four years being a consistent critic of Trump’s trade war, and prefers a plan of counter-globalism to that of directly attacking China. While it is possible that this could result in a semi-Cold War with China if the US is not careful (although putting “Biden” and “not careful” in the same sentence shows how unlikely I think this is) that would still be much better than the normal war the Trump administration was grooming us for — because Donald Trump is an evil man.

Here is the thing I’ve never had a chance to admit, I agree that China’s growing influence is concerning, especially considering their crackdown on human rights and democracy in Hong Kong over the past year, something they might wish to expand to Taiwan. However, I would much rather pursue a strategy of international treaties and diplomacy over protectionism which harms our consumers and war. John Kerry knows this very well, considering he managed to get China to sign the Paris Climate Accords as Secretary of State and nearly did the same with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which would have allowed the international community to help curtail China’s CO2 emissions. In fact, it was Donald Trump who pulled us out of the Paris Accords and refused to sign TPP, in spite of the fact it had many of the things he pretended to want.

Theodore Roosevelt famously used the phrase “speak softly but carry a big stick” to describe his foreign policy. I hope Biden can bring back this phrase in order to describe his foreign policy on China, or else we could end up in the worst possible situations.