The Mutual Self-Preservation Summit

The Mutual Self-Preservation Summit
U.S. President Joe Biden looks on during a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' week in Woodside, Calif., on Nov. 15, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
James Gorrie
11/17/2023
Updated:
11/17/2023
0:00
Commentary

The Biden administration hopes that this week’s meetings with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping will help “normalize” relations between the two countries.

Why would this administration want to “normalize” relations with China at this point?

Both Leaders Are Politically Weakened

For one, President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are at historic lows. Couple that with the fact that Americans view China as one of the top threats to the nation, the Biden administration is arguably hoping that a private summit with Mr. Xi will give him the president’s much-needed relevance and credibility among U.S. voters and boost his poll numbers.
A similar calculation is likely being made in the Xi Jinping camp. From all appearances, the CCP leader is looking politically weakened. A continuous stream of bad economic news—from the collapsing property development sector to falling GDP, diminished trade, and crashing foreign investment—as well as ongoing political purges and a demoralized younger generation without jobs or belief in the Party or their future, is putting Mr. Xi on his political heels.

The purges are particularly notable because a purge is a reaction to internal threats stemming from paranoia and uncertainty: one purges enemies, not fans.

Yes, Mr. Xi has had his successes in the Middle East, negotiating a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran and having greater influence in that region (and others). Still, at home, his “China Dream” is becoming a “China Nightmare.” He knows this and knows that he could face greater intra-party headwinds in the near future if things don’t turn around.
What’s more, China’s military forces are growing increasingly belligerent against the United States and U.S. allied air and naval forces, particularly in the South China Sea—in Alaskan waters, too. But international gains don’t translate well when the economy is melting down.

As the meeting unfolds, much will likely be made of the Biden administration’s “normalization drive” with China. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea. In most cases, “normal” relations between two nations are desirable.

But what has “normalized” relations with communist China gotten us in the past?

The High Price of ‘Normalization’

The price list of normalization with the Chinese regime is long and largely negative. The damage to the United States is almost incalculable but perhaps could be reversible, at least to some degree.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a press conference about Chinese hacking at the Justice Department in Washington on Dec. 20, 2018. The Justice Department announced new indictments of Chinese regime hackers who allegedly targeted scores of companies in a dozen countries, which U.S. officials said showed Beijing had not fulfilled its pledge to stop such actions. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a press conference about Chinese hacking at the Justice Department in Washington on Dec. 20, 2018. The Justice Department announced new indictments of Chinese regime hackers who allegedly targeted scores of companies in a dozen countries, which U.S. officials said showed Beijing had not fulfilled its pledge to stop such actions. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
The short list includes at least 3 million lost jobs, the hollowing out of American industry, intellectual property theft on a massive scale, and the penetration of CCP influence and control in our educational and financial institutions, politicians, news media, and entertainment.

US Decoupling From CCP’s Influence

Fortunately, there has been some pushback within the United States on these fronts.
For example, manufacturing is returning to the United States, or at least manufacturers are leaving China for friendlier and closer locations, such as Vietnam and Mexico. Intellectual property theft is being curtailed to some extent by the U.S. crackdown on the CCP’s Thousand Talents program, which lures top scientific talent away from the United States into China to access technological secrets and breakthroughs.
Similarly, American universities have started kicking the Confucius Centers off their campuses due to their efforts to indoctrinate students into embracing CCP-style censorship and world perspective.
At the K-12 grade levels, American schools have been infiltrated by Chinese funding of Confucius Classroom programs—many strategically located around U.S. military bases—whereby curriculums are shaped by CCP propaganda and anti-American values. Thankfully, there is congressional awareness and hearings about CCP influence in our schools, and hopefully will result in reversing it by legal remedy.
A bit of the same can be said for Wall Street, but not nearly enough, as it’s proven to be a mixed bag at best. Many Chinese firms have been removed from U.S. stock markets over the past few years, and U.S. investment in Chinese technology firms is prohibited. But Wall Street financial houses such as BlackRock are still investing in China, even though it often runs contrary to U.S. interests to do so. But at least they’re now under congressional scrutiny.
The CCP’s influence on our political system is much deeper and more damaging. Politicians with significant financial interests in China are now being revealed to the American public. The CCP’s reach into the very heart of American politics at every level is at least now known, even if reversal or prosecutorial efforts have yet to begin.
The new American or alternative news media and cultural-driving entertainment sectors also show signs of independence from the China-dependent Hollywood studios. Mainstream media news outlets are hemorrhaging viewers, and independent films and studios are finding larger audiences at the expense of Hollywood.

Europe Derisking From China

The same can be said of the European Union, China’s largest trading partner. “Derisking” from China is already in process due to Beijing’s support of Moscow in the Ukraine war, as well as China’s adversarial trade policies. It’s not unreasonable to think that as relations between China and Africa and other regions mature, similar realizations will transpire.

The corrosive influence of the CCP is destructive to any society because the Party demands subservience and can’t tolerate competition or criticism. As the domestic conditions continue to deteriorate in China, Mr. Xi may need a more cooperative America to justify his leadership to those potential CCP adversaries he can’t easily purge or make disappear.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
James R. Gorrie is the author of “The China Crisis” (Wiley, 2013) and writes on his blog, TheBananaRepublican.com. He is based in Southern California.
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