- - Monday, March 8, 2021

In December, Director of National Security John Ratcliffe declared the Chinese government “poses the greatest threat to America today” and China “intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically.”

In the face of this threat, President Biden’s words and actions have demonstrated confusion. He spends time railing against the suppression of Hong Kong and genocide of Uighurs while having no control over China domestic issues. Concurrently, he is undermining policies that could counter Chinese influence inside America. 

Much of the CCP’s designs for global domination are already in America through “soft power” influence, espionage and other activities.

Yet as of today, we have no real idea what Mr. Biden’s strategy is to deal with the biggest threat to the United States in the 21st century. 

Mr. Biden released an “Interim National Security Strategic Guidance” on March 3. The document is full of platitudes and vague statements, many of which sound tough on China. Mr. Biden’s actual record is outrageously weak.



Just days after his inauguration, and without credible explanation, the new administration scuttled a rule that would require universities to publicly report information on Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes in American schools. The federal government has formally tagged Confucius Institutes as propaganda outlets for the Chinese government. They have been established at major universities and hundreds of public grade and secondary schools. 

What possible reason would Mr. Biden have to deny transparency over Communist Party funding in our schools? Was the rule necessary? A federal investigation found schools took nearly $2 billion in contracts and “gifts” from China — almost all since 2010 without reporting the funding. One university was working with two Chinese companies to develop a crowd surveillance system, which could be used by the repressive Chinese government.

There are other perplexing moves. According to China analyst Gordon Chang, the Biden administration quietly scrapped a Trump order banning the sale of Chinese-made equipment to be placed in the U.S. electrical grid. It also delayed a federal rule banning Americans from investing in companies linked to the Chinese army. Putting aside the very real possibility of financial fraud on U.S. investors in companies not bound by disclosure rules, for securities, why would we want to allow investments that support the military apparatus of a hostile communist government?

The new Biden administration quickly abandoned an effort to force the sale of the popular app TikTok from a Chinese company to American controlled companies. There are serious concerns that the popular app may secretly collect data for the Chinese on individual Americans. Apps have all kinds of data on individual Americans: 24/7 location data, your photos, your videos, your contacts and your messages. The Chinese government passed a law in 2017 requiring private companies to hand over data to Chinese spy agencies on demand. How comfortable are you with having your data being sent to Beijing? 

The Biden administration vaguely promised that it is “comprehensively evaluating the risks to U.S. data” and “if we have news to announce we will announce it.” Not very reassuring. 

Some may praise Mr. Biden for announcing in late February a 100-day review of critical supply chains such as medicine. Our overreliance on China for medicine is well-known and a literal matter of life and death. Moreover, we import about $5 billion worth of food from China every year. Tainted food and medicine scandals involving China are infamous. We’ve lost people and pets from adulterated food and medicine. How Biden addresses these threats vs. talking about them may provide nothing more than the same soft touch attitude of concession to China for reasons we’ve yet to discover. 

Mr. Biden is also setting himself up to be taken advantage of by Chinese negotiators on climate change. Mr. Biden made climate change his signature issue, and needs China — the second-largest economy and 20% of the human population — on board. The Chinese will demand key short-term concessions from the U.S. in exchange for Chinese Communist Party promises on long-term environmental issues that they may have no intention of upholding. After all, Team Biden has some of the same foreign policy geniuses who got us the Iran deal. Should we expect they’ll do better with savvier China?

The time for talk must be short. Time is not on our side. The Chinese have been buying influence and building espionage networks inside America for many years. The CCP has declared it will dominate the key technology sector and nine other industries — globally — by 2025. The Chinese already have control and a chokehold over 97% of our antibiotics supply as well as our use of rare metals we need to make defense technology function.

If the Biden China trajectory continues to commit unforced errors beyond his first few weeks as president, America will wake up in the near future as a diminished player relative to our historic economic, military and technology dominance. And every American family will suffer.

• Richard Berman is president of Berman and Co. in Washington, D.C.

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