Much will certainly change in the world of U.S. foreign policy when Joe Biden enters the White House. There will be a more measured tone, and less reliance upon Twitter to announce U.S. policy. Trump is brusque, as illustrated by the way he shoved aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic at the 2017 NATO meeting; Biden might not push and shove his way to the front of the group, but his silvery smile will camouflage as ruthless a set of aims. On foreign policy, Biden will appear to be different from Trump, but the broad outlines of their policy will be identical.
by Vijay Prashad
Part 4 - Cold War on China Looms
Since 2015, not one U.S. Silicon Valley CEO has made a robust statement for comity between the United States and China. Apple’s Tim Cook held a meeting with Trump in August 2019 merely to allow Apple to better compete with Samsung, which was not hit by the U.S. tariffs. There was no broad statement about Trump’s “trade war,” with which Cook seemed quite pleased.
Silicon Valley firms know that on certain technological developments—such as 5G, robotics, GPS, and soon microchips—Chinese firms have clearly produced next-generation technologies, and in many cases have leapfrogged over their U.S. counterparts.
Silicon Valley companies are quite happy for the U.S. government to put the entire weight of the state against Chinese firms. This includes using the security apparatus to accuse Huawei of being involved in Chinese government espionage. It is a curiosity that none of the Silicon Valley firms worry about privacy per se, because—according to the Edward Snowden revelations—the National Security Agency uses the PRISM program to collect data freely from Silicon Valley internet firms; but the U.S. uses the privacy and espionage arguments to try to hurt Chinese tech firms and protect the intellectual property and market advantages of Silicon Valley.
Since this is the real cause of the trade war, there is every likelihood—and Biden has said so—that a Biden administration would continue to prosecute the trade war.
In 2013, the Chinese government set up the One Belt, One Road (now Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI) to extend its commercial links across the world. The Obama administration responded in 2015 with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a platform to break China’s commercial ties along the Pacific Rim. Trump jettisoned the TPP and went for a more direct trade war.
To counter the trillions of dollars that China will mobilize for the BRI, the United States used the Millennium Challenge Corporation (set up in 2004) and América Crece (2019) to funnel billions of dollars to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. All of this is a desperate attempt to undermine China and maintain U.S. primacy.
The United States is not yet prepared to acknowledge the changed world situation. This will take time. Short of that, it is important for people to speak up against an escalation of hostilities.