Reviews | Biden against injured extremists
Xi’s madness could manifest itself in increasingly aggressive moves in his region and beyond, including an invasion of Taiwan. Xi has helped elevate millions of people to middle-class status, but suppose he can’t meet the expectations that middle-class status generates? His authoritarian nationalism pushed the United States to erect trade barriers and impose export controls. Growing levels of US business investment can no longer be assumed. How does Xi respond to the hostile environment he has created?
In the United States, democracy and liberalism are now winning, and the problems of authoritarianism, national and international, are exposed. But Biden is going to have to thread a series of needles to make sure injured extremists don’t take the world with them.
The stress of this situation does not seem to weigh heavily on Biden and his team.
I would describe the methodology of this administration with this phrase: constant and progressive pressure. When Putin first invaded Ukraine, the United States was reluctant to acknowledge how it was helping the defenders militarily. But he steadily increased the pressure, moving from supplying Ukraine Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to supplying Patriot air defense systems and armored fighting vehicles. Now, my colleagues report, the Biden administration is considering helping Ukrainians sue Russian shrines in Crimea.
The Biden administration does not appear to seek to decouple the US and Chinese economies. A healthy Chinese economy is in America’s interest for the sake of global stability. But the Biden administration has continued to ramp up pressure on China’s nationalist tendencies, trying to block Chinese development in, for example, IT, biotech and biomanufacturing.
Biden’s pressure on Republicans follows the same gradual and steady pattern. Many of the infrastructure projects that were funded by recent legislation are now underway. You can expect to see the president at event after event, like the one he did with Mitch McConnell in Covington, Ky., to tout new funding for the Brent Spence Bridge.
The goal is to show the American people that government works and that Biden himself deserves re-election. Biden will take on GOP extremism, but he hopes to make his own competence the focus of his campaign pitch.
Bill Clinton’s administration has always been associated with global triangulation – going beyond left and right. The word to associate with Biden should be calibration – as much pressure but not too much. It’s a tricky business. We’ll see if it works.
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