International

Biden to deepen global alliances and compete with China

Joe Biden  

As the Biden administration is over a month into its existence, President Joe Biden released an interim government strategy document on Wednesday that called for America to re-engage with the world while strengthening itself at home. The document warns that democracies are under siege around the world, including in the United States, and makes numerous references to strategic competition with an increasingly assertive China which is said was the only competitor who could effectively challenge an open international system.

In addition to reaffirming its alliances with NATO, Australia, Japan and South Korea, Mr. Biden said in the document (Renewing America’s Advantages: Interim National Security Strategic Guidance) that his administration would deepen its partnership with India and work alongside New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members to advance its objectives. The document, which serves to guide the agendas of U.S. government departments and agencies, said America would recommit to its alliances and invest in its own democracy and economy.

“ …Because our strength is multiplied when we combine efforts to address common challenges, share costs, and widen the circle of cooperation. As we do, we will recognise that our vital national interests compel the deepest connection to the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere. And we will be mindful of both our values and our interests as we engage partner nations,” the document said. Critics have argued that the Trump administration prioritised interest — including in its relationship with India — over values.

The U.S. will also move to “earn back” its position of leadership in multilateral organisations to tackle shared challenges like climate change, as per the strategy.

“ Because the United Nations and other international organisations, however imperfect, remain essential for advancing our interests, we will re-engage as a full participant and work to meet our financial obligations, in full and on time,” Mr. Biden said. The U.S. and some other democracies (including India) have been concerned about Chinese government inspired language finding its way into documents and resolutions of the U.N. and its agencies. Mr. Biden’s interim strategy highlighted this concern, without naming China, and said the U.S. would not cede ground on it.

“It is also critical that these institutions continue to reflect the universal values, aspirations, and norms that have underpinned the U.N. system since its founding 75 years ago, rather than an authoritarian agenda. In a world of deepening rivalry, we will not cede this vital terrain.”

On China, Mr. Biden reiterated his message that America would position itself to compete with China where needed and cooperate with it when it was in American interests to do so.

“The most effective way for America to out-compete a more assertive and authoritarian China over the long-term is to invest in our people, our economy, and our democracy. By restoring U.S. credibility and reasserting forward-looking global leadership, we will ensure that America, not China, sets the international agenda, working alongside others to shape new global norms and agreements that advance our interests and reflect our values,” the document said, adding that the U.S. would support China’s neighbours and trading partners to defend their rights. The document mentions by name, the U.S.’s support for Taiwan and its intention to stand up for human rights in Hong Kong, Xinjiang (where there is growing evidence of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims) and Tibet.

“ We will support China’s neighbours and commercial partners in defending their rights to make independent political choices free of coercion or undue foreign influence,” it said, adding,” We also recognise that strategic competition does not, and should not, preclude working with China when it is in our national interest to do so.”

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 5:38:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/biden-to-deepen-global-alliances-and-compete-with-china/article33987754.ece

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