The global military and economic threat posed by China is real and growing by the day, and President Joe Biden seems to finally realize that. After repeatedly downplaying the threat of China throughout his campaign for the White House, Biden has reversed course since taking office. The Biden administration has called out the Chinese for human rights abuses, theft of intellectual property, and increased military actions in the South China Sea, among other criticisms.
But simply putting out statements on China is not nearly enough, according to Peter Morici, national columnist and University of Maryland economist. In a new column, Morici calls for President Biden to take a stronger stance on China, and back that up with action. "I think we need to be much more aggressive about trade--we need to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership--and we need to get serious about rebuilding our (military) fleet," says Morici. "Because I think we're headed for a confrontation if we don't."
"If we get into a confrontation with China, it is going to be fast," he continues. "And if we are outgunned, we will be forced to stand down, and we will lose the Pacific...it's that simple."
Getting tougher with China means having the right people in foreign policy positions, and in that regard Morici thinks the president has fallen short. "I don't think (Defense Secretary) Lloyd Austin is the right person...he was put there because he's a Biden loyalist," says Morici. "(Secretary of State) Tony Blinken is very competent, but he's the classic state department type...he's not about to really say the kinds of things that need to be said."
"President Xi is a terrorist, and China is a terrorist state. It's that simple."
Morici also gives credit to the prior administration for putting a focus on the Chinese threat that had long been ignored or downplayed. "Biden would not be saying the things he is today (about China) if it was not for Donald Trump," says Morici. "Basically Biden just talks a good game...at some point you have to walk the walk, and he has yet to put his shoes on."