Biden blusters on video call, looks weak instead
Thomas W. Pauken II


Editor's note: Thomas W. Pauken II is the author of the book "U.S. vs. China: From Trade Wars to Reciprocal Deal," and a consultant on Asia-Pacific affairs and geopolitical commentator. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

The United States is struggling to come to grips with a changing order in our world, in which the White House can no longer bully other nation-states into submission by blustering and bluffing.

U.S. President Joe Biden does not convey a spirit of strength and strong will as the presiding nation's leader. Therefore, the consequences of that will prove more problematic to U.S. foreign policy in the future.

In the days leading up to Chinese President Xi Jinping's video call with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, which took place on March 18 at request of the latter, White House officials and their willing collaborators — the U.S. mainstream media — were hyping up fantasy tales that Russia was begging China for military aid in their special military operations in Ukraine.

Both Beijing and Moscow officials dismissed the allegations as false but still Washington kept running with this strange media narrative as White House spokesperson Jen Psaki boasted that her boss President Biden was going to talk tough during his video call with President Xi. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reiterated that Washington "will not hesitate to impose costs on China."

Dialing without delivering results

The video call between the world's two most powerful leaders lasted for nearly two hours, but it seemed evident in the immediate aftermath that the Biden administration was not pleased with the results as many news media, including New York Post, France 24, the Business Times and CNA, all described White House officials as "tight-lipped."

By reviewing the summary reports of the video call from a neutral perspective, one can conclude that President Xi sounded well-informed, confident and did not get trapped into allowing Washington to score political points for short term gains.

Beijing will not support North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led economic sanctions against Russia. Additionally, President Xi reminded the White House of China's serious concerns over Washington's current understanding of the one-China principle on Taiwan region.

Biden could only claim victory as Beijing verbalized they would send some humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but that should come as no surprise since China has already said such gestures symbolize the nation's commitment to world peace and they would have announced such measures even if Biden did not call Xi.

President Xi confronted the U.S. indirectly for acting hysterically by implementing tough sanctions on Russia that could trigger a number of crises for the global economy, specifically in finance, energy, food and supply chains. He advised national leaders to demonstrate a "cool-headed and rational" response to Ukraine. Xi offered China's willingness to play a more constructive role on the world stage.

Prices for gas and diesel fuel, over $5 a gallon, are displayed at a petrol station in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 4, 2022. /VCG

Prices for gas and diesel fuel, over $5 a gallon, are displayed at a petrol station in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 4, 2022. /VCG

Weak Biden administration as cause for global instability

It's important to note that the Biden administration had taken the approach to initiating a video call with Xi, which shows the U.S. already had the weak hand and felt desperate. Washington had assumed earlier that Beijing would eventually support Ukraine and distance itself from Russia but they learned soon enough that was nothing more than wishful thinking.

Accordingly, Biden put on his brave face when calling Xi but could not follow up with powerful results. President Xi also pointed out that the U.S. was sending wrong signals that appeared as if Washington stood in favor of "Taiwan independence." The Chinese leader emphasized by saying "this is very dangerous."

Apparently, Biden signed a budget bill recently which prohibits State Department from spending funds on maps that portray Taiwan Island as part of China's territorial jurisdiction. This would contradict the one-China principle, upon which China and the U.S. agreed in the Shanghai Communique 50 years ago.

The story takes a stranger twist as Biden was the first to praise the Shanghai Communique at the beginning of his video call with Xi. Despite the U.S. bill's recognition of Taiwan region as an independent nation, Biden pledged his country remains resolute in support of the one-China principle. Biden repeated such affirmations as if he was not aware the U.S. State Department had taken actions which contradict his claims.

That's another dangerous aspect to Biden administration's ineffective qualities as rulers of the world's richest and most powerful nation. As new international crises will erupt from unexpected places in the future, Washington will be more overwhelmed and challenged to serve as the ultimate solutions provider and that weakness can lead to further global instability.

As Biden continues to blunder on foreign policy matters, we are witnessing the U.S. heading for further decline.

Nonetheless, as the saying goes, "in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity." Beijing can play a leading role of peacemaker to resolve the Russia -Ukraine conflict. As such, the world would see China is truly a great nation deserving much influence over world affairs for the foreseeable future.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries on CGTN Opinion Section.)

Search Trends