Biden faces great deal of repair work as Xi offers congratulations
- US anti-Chinese sentiment is bipartisan and has deepened under outgoing leader Donald Trump, but at least Beijing can look forward to a return to diplomacy and cooperation in areas of shared interest
Anti-Chinese sentiment is bipartisan and has deepened under outgoing leader Donald Trump. But while Beijing cannot hope for a swift reversal, it can at least look forward to a return to diplomacy and cooperation in areas of shared interest.
Among those so far named and well known in the Washington establishment are Antony Blinken, one of Biden’s closest advisers, to be secretary of state; former secretary of state John Kerry to be in charge of climate policy; and Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations. Former Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen is expected to be Treasury secretary and Michele Flournoy is tipped to be defence secretary.
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Senate confirmation still has to be navigated, but approval is only the beginning; Trump and the hawks in his team surrounded themselves with ideologues who little understood diplomacy and statecraft and rebuilding what has been eroded will take time.
Blinken will have an especially difficult task, foreign policy under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s “America first” approach having disrupted trade and supply chains. Diplomacy with rivals and allies alike are in tatters, important agreements such as the Paris climate change accord have been withdrawn from and multilateral organisations shunned.
Biden and his choices believe in globalisation. That is good for China, the US and world. But Trump has made the US frailer and less trusted. The president-elect and his team have much to do to repair the damage.