The Biden administration was thoroughly embarrassed and unprepared in their first diplomatic meeting with the Chinese delegation yesterday.
On U.S. soil, the Chinese mocked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States,” top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi told the Biden administration, citing the Black Lives Matter movement. The Chinese brazenly violated protocol for their 2-minute openings, each extending their comments beyond the given time. Mr. Yang spoke for 16 minutes.
Instead of refuting the comments outright – and turning the tables on China, condemning them for the mass surveillance, internment, killing of Uyghurs – Mr. Sullivan seemed to dignify the Chinese criticisms.
“What we’ve done throughout our history is to confront,” race issues transparently, “not trying to pretend they don’t exist,” Mr. Sullivan retorted. “The secret sauce of America,” is its ability to look hard at its own shortcomings and seek to improve, he added.
This was an incredibly weak and feckless response.
There is absolutely no cultural equivalence between the civil unrest within the United States and China’s outright human-rights atrocities. The Chinese are literally rounding up ethnic minorities and killing them in concentration camps.
Yet, the Chinese spoke to the U.S. as if they were the moral authority – and dominant world leader – in front of the press, for all of the world to see, and on U.S. soil.
“So, let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” Mr. Yang said. “The U.S. side was not even qualified to say such things even 20 years or 30 years back, because this is not the way to deal with the Chinese people.”
While the U.S. spoke in diplomatic platitudes, the Chinese were direct and confrontational.
Mr. Blinken spoke of a “rules-based international order,” and Mr. Sullivan pointed out the U.S. does “not seek conflict, but we welcome stiff competition, and we will always stand up for our principles, for our people, and for our friends.”
Mr. Blinken offered veiled threats and warnings, saying the U.S. had “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber-attacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies,” which threaten the “rules-based order that maintains global stability.”
But nothing hard-hitting, or as aggressive as the Chinese, especially when it came to Black Lives Matter. The Chinese intentionally used the BLM movement to hamstring the new Biden administration and exploit our internal division on the world stage.
“There is an external threat – China and its junior partner Russia, and an internal threat – the divisive ideology of critical theory manifested in identity politics,” Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute tweeted of the full exchange. “It is corrosive, anti-American, and saps Americans’ will to fight; and the CCP is openly trying to exploit it.”
Instead of sitting there and taking it, the U.S. would’ve been better served walking away from the table.
As former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: “Strength deters bad guys. Weakness begets war.”