Senate leader backs Biden as most Democrats dodge questions after meeting live

Senate leader backs Biden as most Democrats dodge questions after meeting live

In a recent development, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed his support for President Joe Biden, while many other Democrats have been notably reticent on the matter. This comes after a significant meeting that was broadcast live, where the focus was on the Biden administration’s approach to China and its broader foreign policy strategy.

Schumer’s endorsement of Biden is particularly noteworthy given the current political climate. The Biden administration has been navigating a complex relationship with China, marked by both competition and cooperation. Schumer’s backing suggests a unified front within the Democratic leadership, even as other members of the party remain cautious in their public statements.

The meeting, which was held at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., featured National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Sullivan provided an in-depth look at the administration’s China strategy over the past three years and outlined expectations for 2024. He emphasized that the administration’s approach is not about unveiling a new strategy but rather about sharing insights into the implementation of their existing strategy.

Sullivan highlighted that before taking office, many current administration officials, including himself, had been re-evaluating the assumptions behind the U.S.’s longstanding China policy. They concluded that China was the only state with both the intent and the capability to reshape the international order. This realization has driven the administration’s strategy, which focuses on strengthening the U.S.’s competitive position while managing the relationship with China.

The administration’s strategy, as laid out by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, revolves around three key pillars: invest, align, and compete. This approach aims to bolster American strength at home through significant investments in infrastructure, technology, and clean energy, while also addressing China’s non-market practices. Sullivan pointed to substantial increases in semiconductor and clean-energy production in the U.S. as evidence of the strategy’s success.

On the international front, the administration has worked to strengthen ties with Indo-Pacific allies and partners. Initiatives like AUKUS, the elevation of the Quad, and upgraded relationships with countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, and India are all part of this effort. The administration has also sought to connect its European and Indo-Pacific alliances, aligning with G7 partners to de-risk economies and diversify away from strategic dependencies.

Sullivan stressed that the administration’s actions are not about protectionism but are critical for national security. Measures such as export restrictions on key technologies and regulations on outbound investments are designed to protect the U.S.’s technological edge and economic security.

Despite these competitive measures, Sullivan emphasized the importance of diplomacy in managing the U.S.-China relationship. He recounted a series of high-level meetings with Chinese officials, including a recent summit between President Biden and President Xi Jinping. These meetings have aimed to stabilize the relationship, address misperceptions, and find areas of cooperation, such as counternarcotics and military-to-military communication.

Sullivan acknowledged that the relationship with China remains fraught with challenges, including tensions in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait. However, he expressed optimism that through continued diplomacy and strategic investments, the U.S. can manage these challenges effectively.

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session, where Sullivan fielded questions about his recent meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Thailand. He described the discussions as strategic and candid, covering topics like AI risk management, cross-Strait issues, and current events in the Red Sea and the Korean Peninsula. Sullivan also noted that both sides agreed on the importance of leader-to-leader communication, with plans for President Biden and President Xi to speak by phone soon.

In summary, Schumer’s support for Biden underscores a significant moment for the administration as it navigates a complex and competitive relationship with China. While other Democrats may be cautious in their public statements, the administration’s strategy of investing in domestic strength, aligning with allies, and competing with China appears to be yielding results. The emphasis on diplomacy and strategic communication remains central to managing this critical relationship.

Source: Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.

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