Belmont Club

China's Wolf Diplomacy Versus American Woke Diplomacy

Jack Hill/Pool via AP

Joe Biden is belatedly, slowly and partially acknowledging that the U.S. is in a new cold war with Xi’s China and its junior partner, Putin’s Russia. The magnitude of the shift can be gauged by recalling that Barack Obama, when Joe was his vice president, mocked Mitt Romney for even calling Russia a threat. Now the papers report nothing else.

The policy change on China is even more profound. During Biden’s presidential campaign and the early part of his administration, any criticism of the Asian giant was derided as “racist.” In particular, any suggestion that Chinese laboratory negligence or biowarfare experimentation may have led to the devastating coronavirus pandemic was pooh-pooed as a “conspiracy theory,” a label diligently applied by social media and mainstream news outlets to critics to conform to the progressive and largely Democratic party talking points; that has since changed.

In general, the expectation fostered by the 2020 Democratic campaign was that the removal of Trump would return the world to former “norms.” It would bring back the good old Global World, with its transnational supply chains, open borders, mass air travel, etc. In that idyllic restoration the main concerns of humanity would be climate change, racial relations and income redistribution, a program informally described as the Great Reset.

We must use it to secure the Great Reset that we so badly need. That will require stronger and more effective governments …

The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes.

The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability.

The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges

They wanted this so badly that a course to restoration was shaped on the assumption of a cooperative rule-based world despite clear indications of trouble ahead including Beijing’s occupation of the South China Sea reefs, threats to invade Taiwan, the suppression of Hong Kong, incessant cyber and espionage attacks on Western targets and the emergence of “wolf warrior diplomacy.”

Wolf warrior diplomacy (Chinese: 战狼外交; pinyin: zhànláng wàijiāo) describes an aggressive style of diplomacy adopted by Chinese diplomats in the 21st century, under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s administration. … wolf warrior diplomacy is confrontational and combative, with its proponents loudly denouncing any criticism of China on social media and in interviews

That the Biden Titanic could not continue its fantasy course toward the Xi-Putin iceberg was not acknowledged until the threat loomed too large to ignore. Finally, Biden and the European allies have begun a partial turn away but the course change is still modest, constrained by the domestic political and ideological requirements of the baizuo or “white left.”

Related: The Clinical Horrors of China’s Slow-Motion Genocide Against the Uighur People (VIP)

At its most emotional level, the baizuo’s basic narrative is that all the ills of the world are Western Civilization’s fault. There is nothing that can’t be solved by repeated applications of de-industrialization, offshoring, open borders, and the total destruction of white supremacist, patriarchal, Judaeo-Christian culture. Within this context, it is hard for the baizuo to see China, being a nation of “color,” as capable of any unprovoked villainy at all, despite the fact that the Chinese themselves are amused by this bizarre racial taxonomy.

Moreover, the social goals of the Restoration and Great Reset require the partnership of Beijing to succeed. Without cheap Chinese products manufactured with dirty coal, the Green economic builddown would be too economically painful to implement. Batteries, solar panels, and semiconductors largely come from China and require too much carbon, too much “artisanal” Congolese or Uighur labor to source cheaply any other way.

Thus for Biden to go full tilt at China would require not only admitting that the hated Orange Man was at least partially right on the issue but involve persuading the progressive base that their beloved road map of the future was actually a course for surrendering to China. For how do you compete with China without reducing the tax burden on small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, reemphasizing STEM courses in universities instead of critical race theory, and reshoring industry? How does one defend against China without tighter controls on Beijing’s links with American academia? You can almost hear the political chorus:

Oh, no, oh, no
Oh, no, no, no, no, no

On the one hand, Biden now recognizes the Chinese threat. On the other hand, confronting it has dire consequences for the global world vision. Biden’s modest G7 united-front platform against China, based as it is on the narrow ground of human rights standards and Green rhetoric, reflects the limitations imposed on him by his political base’s continued infatuation with Marxism and its derivative creeds. The ghost of the New Deal means Joe cannot bring himself to anathemize Communism, but only the particular and flawed implementation of the Chinese Communist Party, which has somehow gone wrong and, had it not strayed from its founding principles, would even now be echoing the Green and Woke talking points of the man from Delaware and nearly 50 years in the U.S. senate.

Related: Xi Jinping’s Tiananmen Vision Is Coming for Us All

Yet for all this, there is one point in favor of Biden’s cautious approach. By acknowledging the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated — accidentally or deliberately — in the Wuhan lab, Joe is implicitly accepting that there are no preset limits to how far the wolf can go. He knows it is very dangerous to anger the wolf past a certain point.

Even if coronavirus began as an accident, by leaving the circumstances ambiguous Beijing can conveniently impart the impression of absolute commitment, of having no limits—rather like a Hollywood scene where a protagonist lets all the cartridges fall out of a revolver cylinder prior to rushing you as a testament to his determination to win the impending fistfight. Biden arguably has no comeback to bad-ass wolf diplomacy except to persist with reshuffling his Woke deck of cards, which, to be fair, was the hand he was dealt by his left-wing coalition. It remains to be seen what he can do with the Queen of shaming, the Jack of Green and, the King of taxpayer-funded giveaways. The Biden pivot on China is, like the Titanic’s turn to port, unlikely to be enough, but it’s all, for the present, that the Western world is willing to do.

 

Books: The Tyranny of Big Tech by Josh Hawley. Amassing unimaginable amounts of personal data, giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple—once symbols of American ingenuity and freedom—have become a techno-oligarchy with overwhelming economic and political power.