While condemning Russian aggression, analysts warn U.S. still needs to focus on China

While condemning Russian aggression, analysts warn U.S. still needs to focus on China. U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address since taking office on March 1. Influenced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the foreign policy portion of the speech focused on the Ukraine crisis and the challenge of American unity against Russia.

While condemning Russian aggression, analysts warn U.S. still needs to focus on China

By contrast, China, which has been viewed as the number one adversary by the United States since the Trump administration, was mentioned only twice. Biden also did not address the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. But analysts pointed out that this does not mean a major shift in the foreign policy of the Biden administration, but it is necessary for the United States to prepare for the challenges of China and Russia, both adversaries.

In his State of the Union address, which lasted about an hour, Biden spent nearly a fifth of his time talking about the Ukraine crisis and called on the United States and the world to unite against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. . In terms of foreign policy, Biden’s speech mentioned Putin 12 times, Russia 18 times, and Ukraine (or the Ukrainian people) 20 times. In stark contrast, China, which the US sees as its No. 1 strategic competitor, was mentioned only twice, the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping was mentioned once, and Indo-Pacific was not mentioned at all.

Analysts pointed out that although the Ukraine crisis will become the focus of U.S. foreign policy in the near future, and it will also refocus the United States on long-term rival Russia, this does not mean that the overall strategic focus of the United States has changed.

Gladys: US foreign policy has not changed Martin: China is still the main target of confrontation

Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the US think tank in Washington, told VOA via email that she does not see a change in U.S. foreign policy goals or tactics, but instead, effective competition with China remains a top priority.

Garret Martin, co-deputy director of the Center for Transatlantic Policy at American University, told VOA that while China didn’t have much space in Biden’s State of the Union address, he still sees China as a major long-term confrontation for the U.S. Target.

“I think that while (the speech) didn’t mention China directly, in terms of a lot of the focus of the second part of the speech, it did say it indirectly,” he said. and manufacturing, and the idea of ​​revitalizing American democracy, American industrial, economic and technological power, all of which could be hints of a long-term competition with China.”

In his State of the Union address, Biden said: “We are about to enter a decade of infrastructure. It will transform America and put us on the path to winning the economic competition in the 21st century. We face competition with the rest of the world, especially with China. competition.”

Biden was referring to an infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. Congress last November with bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans. The bill would substantially increase U.S. spending on infrastructure. Biden also said that the United States has announced as many as 4,000 infrastructure projects. He reiterated to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and to renovate 65,000 miles of highways and 1,500 bridges in disrepair during the year.

Biden also said that the United States wants to compete fairly with China. “But in order to compete for the best jobs of the future, we also need to level the playing field with China and other competitors,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to pass the bipartisan ‘Innovation Act’ in Congress, which will put a lot of effort into emerging technologies. and record investment in U.S. manufacturing.”

“I told Xi Jinping that it’s never a good idea to bet on the American people,” Biden said.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine still puts the Biden administration’s diplomatic strategy to the test, especially the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy in the context of the long-term competition between the United States and China.

Cronin: U.S. success or failure in Europe will have repercussions in Asia Pacific

Patrick M. Cronin, senior fellow and chair of the Hudson Institute’s Asia-Pacific Security Program, told VOA that developments in the Ukraine crisis will have key implications for the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.

He told VOA via email, “President (Biden) has shown why the United States must stop Putin’s aggression, protect the people of Ukraine, defend NATO, and help maintain global order. Our success or failure in Europe will be in the entire Indo-Pacific region.” repercussions.”

“If China wants to launch an attack on Taiwan in a similar way, the U.S. approach to rallying allies against Russia will be of value,” said Ge Laiyi, a China expert at Germany’s Marshall Fund. “Beijing is undoubtedly watching closely.”

But some Republicans criticized Biden for not imposing sanctions on Russia earlier, which led to the invasion of Ukraine. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said months of Biden’s inaction had allowed Putin to deploy a large and unpunished army near the Ukrainian border, allowing Russia to carry out heinous acts against the Ukrainian people. of violence.

John Bolton, a former U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and a national security adviser to the Trump administration, warned in a tweet that a vengeful international threat is back… “America’s defense challenge requires a A global approach and a big new commitment.”

Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at The Center for the National Interest, told VOA that the U.S. next needs to be prepared to face both China and Russia.

“I think for the United States and its allies, we have to be ready to fight Russia and China,” he said. “The direction of American foreign policy now has to really focus on these two dictatorships.”

Sunbal Razzaq

Sunbal Razzaq is the founder & CEO of Sunshine Tips.

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