China US relations change and remain unchanged!

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Author: Qinghe President WeChat official account: Zhiben News Agency (ID: zhibenshe0-1)

Recently, China’s foreign relations have ushered in a new situation.

Chinese leaders went to Indonesia and Thailand to attend the 17th G20 Summit and the 29th APEC Informal Leaders’ Meeting. During this period, the most interesting thing for the media was the study tour. The meeting, which lasted for more than three hours, created many “firsts”, namely, “this is the first face-to-face meeting between China and the United States in the first three years, the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders after President Biden took office, and the first interaction between the top leaders of the two countries after China and the United States completed their respective domestic major agenda this year”.

Then, Chinese leaders met intensively with French President Marcon, South African President Ramaphosa, Dutch Prime Minister Lute, Australian Prime Minister Albanese, Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez, South Korean President Yoon Siyue, Senegalese President Saleh, Argentine President Fernandez, etc. For a while, China’s foreign relations restarted the open communication situation that had not been seen in the past three years since the COVID-19 pandemic.

How will China US relations evolve next?

This paper analyzes the changes and changes of Sino US relations from the perspective of American political ecology.

Textual logic

1? Biden’s Change and Invariance

2? Trump’s Change and Invariance

3? The Change and Invariance of China US Relations

[Text 7000 words, reading time 20 ‘, thanks for sharing]

01

Biden’s Change and Invariance

For China US relations since the COVID-19 pandemic, the face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state is itself a progress. What’s more, the open communication and good atmosphere exceeded market expectations. However, the Chinese media kept a low profile and remained cautious about the Biden government’s policy towards China. In fact, it was “unable to be rectified”.

What exactly is the Biden government’s stand for China? Has it changed?

I have repeatedly stressed that to understand the foreign policy of the United States government, we must understand the political ecology of the United States, especially the political ecology full of differences and opposites after Trump’s appearance.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world ushered in a wave of globalization in a broader sense. More transitional emerging countries integrated into the international market and established close relations with European and American countries. During this period, the institutional groups represented by the Bush family of the Republican Party and the Clinton family of the Democratic Party, and the multinational companies represented by the financial giants of Wall Street and the technology giants of Silicon Valley, gradually formed a huge global order with a wide range of emerging countries.

The core of this order can be simply summarized as “US cheap capital under the easing policy of the Federal Reserve – Asian countries’ commodity manufacturing and export/Russia’s Middle East energy trade – European and American consumer markets”. It is characterized by the liberalization of cheap capital, globalization of cheap goods/energy, non liberalization of labor force, incomplete liberalization of service trade, and imbalance of tax, access, labor, industry, environment, law, foreign exchange and other policies.

The institutional wing of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, as well as global transnational corporations, are the main builders, defenders and beneficiaries of this unbalanced order. Biden is a typical democratic party building faction, a “living fossil” of this order, and one of the most important founders, defenders and witnesses. He has been the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee since 1987, and began to participate in foreign affairs. In 2001, he became the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, and was successively appointed as a senior diplomatic advisor by President Clinton and President George W. Bush. He and the democratic party building faction he represents have established close business relations with Wall Street, Silicon Valley (including Internet social media), and emerging markets.

However, this order was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis.

The reason is that the order is unbalanced. Behind the rapid globalization, rapid changes in information technology, rapid expansion of financial assets, and the economic rise of emerging countries, there is a huge crisis.

Crisis 1: The massive printing of money by the Federal Reserve and the central banks of major countries around the world triggered asset price inflation, which directly led to the subprime crisis and the global financial crisis;

The second crisis is that the global imbalance system and unequal policies of capital, commodity liberalization and labor force non liberalization have led to the rapid expansion of the gap between the rich and the poor among capital groups, transnational corporations, wage earners and local companies, which has damaged the income of the world’s working class and the consumer welfare of emerging markets;

Crisis 3: The balance of payments deteriorated seriously. The surplus of emerging countries and the US deficit continued to expand, leading to serious economic distortion and restructuring. The massive outflow of capital through imports was not conducive to US local enterprises and workers. International capital flowed into the US through US debt and US stock channels to boost the wealth of transnational corporations and financial giants represented by institutional groups. Eventually, the losers used political votes to defend their interests, triggering trade frictions.

After the financial crisis, Democratic Obama served as President for two consecutive terms, and Biden served as Vice President to assist Obama. He carefully maintained the order on the verge of bankruptcy through the health insurance bill and speech. However, the political ecology of the United States has been seriously divided, and extreme left and right forces have expanded significantly. In the 2016 general election, the voice of the storm and the popular sentiment changed. Trump, the “dark horse”, defeated Jeb Bush, the representative of the Bush family and the younger brother of George W. Bush in the Republican Party, and then “accidentally” defeated Hillary Clinton of the Clinton family in the “final”. As a result, the power of the White House, which had been controlled by the Republican and Democratic institutionalists for 26 years, suddenly changed hands. For a time, the situation was in chaos and they fought fiercely.

What Trump has done is very simple, that is, to break all the interest chains and orders established and maintained by the institutionalists in response to the demands of voters. Among them, it includes the economic and trade relations between key transnational corporations and emerging markets.

However, in the 2020 election, Biden, on behalf of the Democratic Party’s system builders, regained control of the White House with the help of the COVID-19, the postal vote, the “big red envelope” (campaign promise) of family rescue and the “black movement”. In this election, the Democratic Party’s campaign strategy was appropriate. At that time, anti institutionalism had become the consensus of the bottom left wing and right wing in the United States, and some issues had even been raised to the level of political correctness by Trump. Therefore, the Democratic Party intentionally avoided the issues of institutionalism, playing a big role in the ideology of minorities, race, women, environmental protection, justice, democracy, low-income class, etc., and striving for the support of left-wing progressives and extreme left-wing radicals to the maximum extent.

After Biden took office, the policy was significantly left to the left, a cabinet dominated by women and ethnic minorities was formed, and a $2 trillion “big red envelope” was issued to families through the rescue bill. In diplomacy, Biden also turned left, showing a strong ideological and diplomatic color.

However, Biden’s cabinet is a united cabinet as well as a divided cabinet. The far left ideological diplomacy is incisive and aggressive, but Biden is still an organic group, and the economic and trade diplomacy under the original order murmurs and undercurrent surges.

In terms of trade with China, Dai Qi, the trade representative of Chinese descent, belongs to the former. He opposes the abolition of tariffs on China and insists on safeguarding the interests of the United States through trade; Yellen, the finance minister and the “old politician” who once served as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, belongs to the latter and advocates relaxing tariffs and improving economic and trade relations with China. Since the offices of Yellen and Dai Qi are located on the east and west sides of the White House respectively, their differences are jokingly called “East West Palace Battle”.

Biden’s China policy is basically an expanded version of “Daisy+Yellen”. The strategy is “Yellen style”, the basic framework of maintaining the original order remains unchanged, and the business interests of organic groups, financial giants and transnational corporations in China are maintained; The strategy is “Dai Qi style”, seeking national security interests in local areas such as import tariffs, technology exports, Taiwan Taiwan relations, India and the Pacific; At the same time, it is flexible to adjust marginally according to the needs of domestic voters and election conditions, such as “pro Dai Qi” before the mid-term election and “pro Yellen” after the mid-term election.

Therefore, compared with Trump’s popularization of non institutional government, Biden’s government’s policy towards China is more “stable” and does not actively and comprehensively destroy the past interests and order in strategy. However, the Biden government is making and continues to make two strategic changes in its relations with China in order to meet the political consensus and national security demands of extreme left voters and members of both houses represented by Dai Qi:

The first is to reduce the amount of production on the premise that the original economic and trade order remains unchanged, trying to help multinational companies transfer part of their production capacity to Southeast Asia and South Asia, so as to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket, which is a “quantitative change” strategy rather than a qualitative change.

Second, driven by the political consensus of parliamentarians and voters and national security demands, the Biden government will continue to increase pressure on local issues such as technology exports, military competition, human rights issues, and Taiwan Strait relations without direct conflict.

As for the tariff policy towards China, Biden and the Democratic Party are not good at it. It is an unspeakable secret of the institutionalists and transnational corporations, and it is also Trump’s political heritage. However, it is in a state of entanglement and anxiety due to the insistence of the far left cabinet and voters.

Biden repeatedly stressed that both sides should draw a good bottom line and compete fiercely with China, but do not seek conflict. This statement summarizes Biden’s policy towards China, which is not committed to the “decoupling and chain breaking” order destruction, but mainly makes quantitative and local adjustments, namely, the above “one strategic stability, two strategic changes”.

However, the Democratic Party led by Biden lost the House of Representatives in this mid-term election. Will Truman’s popularization of the Republican Party interfere with and change Biden’s China policy?

02

Trump’s Change and Invariance

The mid-term elections ended, and the results were basically finalized. The Democratic Party successfully defended the Senate, and the Republican Party won back the House of Representatives by a narrow margin. However, the Democratic Party is more stable than expected, and Biden did not lose. The Democratic Party led by Biden may become the ruling party with the best performance in the mid-term elections in the past 20 years; The Republican Party failed to set off a “red wave”, and Trump was instead identified by the major media as the “biggest loser”; Governor De Santis, who turned Florida into a successful “red”, became the biggest winner and was regarded as a popular candidate in the Republican Party in the 2024 American election.

However, Trump remains the central figure in this election.

From the results, Trump has gained and lost.

Gains: His Republican Party recaptured the House of Representatives, which can balance Biden and the Democratic Party, and drive Democratic Speaker Pelosi out of office. Trump’s political partner McCarthy will be the new speaker, reducing the risk of Biden and the Democratic Party’s endless investigation and attack on Trump.

Lost: Although Trump is the “king of endorsement” of the Republican Party, 232 candidates supported by him (including the incumbent without challenger) won and only 22 lost, three of them lost in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, which directly led to the loss of the Senate. Republicans left the pot to Trump, believing that Trump’s marginal role in determining the ownership of the mid-term election and the presidential election in the swing state is in recession.

The media criticized the candidates supported by Trump for their poor quality. For example, the candidates in Pennsylvania were political newcomers and online doctors, losing to senior Democratic politicians and stroke patients. Many of the candidates supported by Trump are political experts, lacking in political art, and their campaign speech is extreme. They vigorously advocate such sensitive ideas as banning aid to Ukraine and opposing female abortion, which has led many young voters and female voters to vote for the Democratic Party.

In addition, De Santis, the candidate supported by Trump in the past, successfully brought the swing state of Florida into the Republican Party’s iron plate. The Republicans saw the competitive potential of this young talent in the swing state. The chairman of the consortium News Group, Lakland Murdoch, has made a bet on De Santis. At the same time, Rupert Murdoch’s huge news system has labeled Trump as a “loser”.

In fact, all along, Trump and the candidates he supports have “right-wing” and plain defects, which are despised by the Republican seniors and organic groups, which are strongly criticized by the media controlled by the Democratic Party, but which are really supported by his voters. They support the political plain people who dare to say and do, and hate the smooth politicians of the organic faction and the order that is not conducive to them.

Therefore, the key is Trump’s ability to “absorb powder”.

In the mid-term elections, Trump endorsed more than 330 candidates, held 30 election rallies and participated in 50 fund-raising activities in person; At the same time, his ability to attract money is still very strong. Trump’s political action committees have raised more than 500 million dollars, helping the Republican Party and its supported candidates to raise nearly 350 million dollars in campaign funds.

According to the Washington Post, more than half of the 569 candidates who won the Republican primary election and competed for important positions in both houses of Congress and at the state level denied or questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election. It can be seen that Trump has a great influence on candidates and voters.

This is Trump who can fight. On November 15, local time, Trump announced at Sea Lake Manor, Florida: “In order to make the United States great and brilliant again, I will announce my participation in the presidential election tonight.”. On the same day, he formally submitted to the Federal Election Commission the document of his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in 2024. At that time, the 77 year old Trump will run for President of the United States for the third time.

For now, Trump may face the challenge of Republican Ned Santis. De Santis, who is only 44 years old, is Trump’s “purifying version”. While inheriting Trump’s doctrine, he is “clean” and masters political art, which makes it easier for him to win the support of voters in swing states. Whether Trump’s marginal value declines depends on whether the appeal of Republican voters changes. When the anti establishment faction and breaking the old order become consensus, voters have higher expectations for the reconstruction of order. They need not only an old man who can fight, but also a young leader who can fight and build. This tendency is unfavorable to Trump.

However, as far as China’s relations are concerned, whether Trump can retake the White House is not so important. The important thing is whether Trump doctrine has been rooted in the American political ecology. The foreign relations of Trump Doctrine first break the past order by simple and crude means, and then reconstruct the new order with the priority of American interests (Trump Doctrine) as the core. Compared with the left, they tend to use trade policies, intellectual property protection, technology bans and other unexpected ways, which is weaker than the ideological struggle of “cosmopolitanism”.

If Trump, De Santis or other Trumpists of the Republican Party win the presidential election two years later, Trumpism will be put into China policy. For now, the Republican Party has recaptured the House of Representatives, and McCarthy will serve as Speaker. The Republican members supported by McCarthy and Trump will take quick action after the power transfer in January next year. In order to more thoroughly defeat Biden and balance the Democratic Party, their means in any field will be more simple and crude.

McCarthy accused the Biden government of “weakness” in China, saying that once elected the Speaker, a special committee on China affairs would be established. The House of Representatives led by McCarthy is full of hostility. They may try to challenge the Biden administration’s stability strategy towards China, especially the bottom line that Biden advocates to endorse and is also the most sensitive to China. McCarthy said before the mid-term election that he would go back to Pelosi’s old way, and Republican lawmakers might restart the legislation that had been shelved before. In addition, Republican Congressmen McCall, Kavit and Turner, who have made tough remarks, are expected to serve as chairmen of some House committees. Their interference with the Biden government’s China policy may include trade policy, intellectual property rights, technology ban, military input, sensitive bottom line, studying in the United States and some activities.

If the Republican Party leads the House of Representatives and brings enough pressure to the Biden Administration, the Biden Administration will be more rigid on certain issues at some time. It is expected that this article will mainly focus on the Indian Pacific economic framework. The IPEF and its four pillars have the first goal of “quantitative change” and the second key change in local issues. Since the framework is signed by the executive order of the President in the United States and does not need to pass the Congress, Biden can adjust the weight between “quantitative change” and “partial key change” according to the actual political needs. Before the G20, Biden went to Asia in advance to upgrade the relationship between the United States and ASEAN into a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Currently, the purpose of the first item is greater than that of the second item. For the United States led by Biden, the change in quantity will not lead to qualitative change (the original order), but just move the factory to Southeast Asia. But it is different for China. If the continuous decline of exports to the United States and the expansion of the technology ban cause damage to the two core interests of the dollar and technology, then China’s policy towards the United States may also be adjusted.

However, at least the White House (not the Congress) led by Biden will not actively touch China’s most sensitive bottom line to avoid direct conflict with China. On the basis of the original order framework, Biden is more inclined to use the huddle strategy to exert pressure.

So how will China US relations affect other countries’ relations with China?

03

The Change and Invariance of China US Relations

After the meeting, China has created a clear “big country diplomatic effect” in the G20 and APEC.

The so-called “big country diplomatic effect” refers to the diplomatic phenomenon that once a big country and another big country form stable or unexpected diplomatic relations, the diplomatic relations with other countries can be easily solved. Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 set off the “great power diplomacy effect”. After Nixon’s trip, the Japanese authorities who did not get the information in advance were somewhat confused, and then quickly promoted the normalization of China Japan diplomatic relations.

The practice meeting was built on some special background. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, China and the United States have changed. This meeting has created many “firsts”. The atmosphere of open communication has exceeded expectations, and some international political concerns about China US relations have been dispelled. After the talks, Chinese leaders met intensively with leaders of France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea and other countries. The apparent recovery in the diplomatic situation seems to have quickly “melted” Biden’s clique style dilemma in the past two years.

In fact, the foreign policy of the Biden government tends to be more “positive”. He has always advocated that there should be no direct conflict with major countries. He should make clear the bottom line and red line of both sides in advance, and then use their identities, resources and the order established in the past to try to unite Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and New Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and India to compete with each other on the number of trade and key local issues related to security, and in extreme cases let “allies” confront them.

In his relations with Russia, Biden successfully used the vertical and horizontal “positive strategy” diplomacy. On the eve of the war, the video meeting between Biden and Putin disclosed to Russia and the world the bottom line of the United States, that is, not sending troops to Ukraine and not actively seeking military confrontation with Russia. After Zerensky and his Ukrainian troops withstood the most dangerous offensive in the first week, Biden successfully promoted Germany’s “historic transformation” by taking advantage of the United States’ dominance of NATO, and promoted most of Europe to work with the United States to support Ukraine against Russian troops.

Biden’s vertical and horizontal “Yang” diplomacy has obvious effect in Russia, but it will be greatly reduced in China. Why?

Its success is based on two conditions: first, the other party makes the key mistakes first; Second, the political and economic relations between countries and each other are not strong. This year’s Russia undoubtedly meets the above two conditions. Although Russia has a close oil trade relationship with Europe, the severity of the first condition creates the second condition, that is, Europe resolutely removes Russian oil and gas in an economic suicide way.

If China and the United States adhere to their own bottom line, the first condition is unlikely to occur; The second condition does not exist objectively. Europe, Japan and South Korea, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Canada and Australia have a very large scale of trade with China.

More importantly, the US multinationals represented by the Democratic Party’s system building faction have made huge investments in China. Biden does not seek to fully “decouple” and change the order of the past. Therefore, these countries are unlikely to reduce their economic cooperation with China in order to cooperate with the encirclement diplomacy of the United States under the lack of the first condition, and at the same time watch American transnational enterprises make more money in the Chinese market.

The most typical countries are Germany, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

The data shows that in the first ten months of this year, China’s foreign investment attraction increased by 14.4% year on year on a comparable basis. The countries with the highest year-on-year growth rate of investment in China are South Korea, Germany, Britain and Japan, with an increase of 106.2%, 95.8%, 40.1% and 36.8% respectively.

During Trump’s period, the US government changed its trade policy towards China. Merkel, then German Chancellor, scorned this and advocated strengthening cooperation with China. After Biden took office, he immediately improved the relationship between Germany and Germany, and tried to win over Germany on some key issues in China. Germany once had a strong atmosphere towards China. However, after the outbreak of the energy crisis this year, German manufacturing capacity has shrunk on a large scale due to the constraints of energy costs. German enterprises have increased their imports to China. The old giants such as BASF, who have deeply rooted in the Chinese market, have made efforts to increase their investment in China and transfer a large amount of production capacity to China. In November of this year, German Prime Minister Schultz led a luxury business team to visit China under great pressure, laying the political groundwork for German enterprises to seek alternative production capacity.

In terms of China, South Korea faces more pressure from the United States than Germany. The chip manufacturing capability of South Korea is an important part of Biden’s “positive” diplomacy. The Biden government tries to persuade South Korea to restructure the global chip alliance. However, Korean semiconductor and its related parts accounted for 83.6% of the total Korean exports to China (the first three quarters of this year). Korean chip companies have been very hesitant and tangled about the side selection rules of the Chip and Science Act signed by Biden. Originally, South Korean President and politician Yin Xiyue was a pro American force in the Korean political arena, but had to reconsider in the face of economic pressure. This year, South Korea’s trade deficit hit a record, and its trade with China recorded two consecutive quarterly deficits for the first time in nearly 30 years.

After the meeting, South Korea, Germany, Singapore and other countries have a deeper understanding of Biden’s China policy. They got a clear message that the Biden government did not seek to actively confront China and the “new cold war”, but tried to win over allies on some key issues, so as to minimize the damage to the interests of the United States and maximize the benefits. Under the bottom line consensus of the two sides, they do not have the above two conditions, so they do not need to bet on the United States to break the relationship with China.

As a result, the “great power diplomacy effect” appeared, and South Korea, Germany, Japan and Singapore became more proactive in their relations with China. This meeting is equivalent to helping the Korean government and enterprises make better decisions, and at the same time, “God assisted” German Prime Minister Schultz’s visit to China afterwards. It is also Singapore that has benefited from this. Singapore has been seeking the best interests in the stable Sino US relations. Therefore, Germany, South Korea and Singapore are the biggest beneficiaries of this round of new changes in China US diplomacy.

Of course, this does not mean that Japan, South Korea, Germany and other countries will not be affected by the Biden government’s policy towards China. The Biden government will continue to promote the “two strategic changes” towards China. After the meeting, Japan, South Korea and Germany, based on Biden’s judgment of “one stability strategy” for China, have promoted and stabilized their relations with China, and have chosen sides or tried to maintain a balance in Biden’s “two strategy change” for China, seeking the maximum common denominator of interests to the United States and China. These countries are also constantly seeking to maximize their interests in the evolution of China US relations and the Biden administration’s policy towards China. On the one hand, Japan and Australia continue to invest in China and export resources to China; on the other hand, they work with the United States to expand maritime defense.

In fact, what really needs to be worried and fully understood is not the vertical and horizontal “conspiracy” diplomacy of the Biden Administration, nor even the violent means of Trump and his Republican Party to break the old order, but the inevitable and rapid collapse and disintegration of the original order.

There are irreconcilable contradictions in the global imbalance order of “US cheap capital under the Federal Reserve’s loose policy – manufacturing and export of Asian countries/Russian Middle East energy trade – European and American consumer markets”. Financial crisis, trade friction, Russia Ukraine war, national conflict, energy crisis and big inflation are the results of intensified contradictions, which in turn further disintegrate this order. At present, Russia is the first to break away from it. The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is delicate. The internal variables of Iran are increasing. Cheap energy is going away. The European international energy financial system, originally supported by Russian oil and gas, has collapsed in the great inflation, and the uncertainty of the financial market has increased. More importantly, the debt crisis, the asset foam crisis and the balance of payments imbalance crisis bred by the system will break out repeatedly, which will continue to exacerbate the polarization between rich and poor, social fragmentation and national conflicts.

When the order accelerated to collapse, countries expanded their military strength, concentrated their strength and controlled their resources for the purpose of national security. This trend started in the financial crisis and accelerated after the outbreak of the COVID-19 and the Russia Ukraine war. However, in the era of globalization, there is an obvious “security paradox” in this kind of security oriented state behavior. The state organization in the era of globalization, like a top, lacks stability. The real security comes from the high-speed, free running global market, just like the high-speed spinning gyro is still stable. Once the gyro decelerates, especially for the purpose of safety, it becomes more unstable. There is also a “top” security paradox within a market-oriented country. Once economic intervention with security or even any purpose causes a macro stall, more uncertainty will be generated.

It can be seen that the collapse of order and the paradox of security are the biggest variables in international relations today.

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