Chinese state media mocked and and tallied the toll of American malinvestment in Central Asia over the past two decades, as Biden handed Afghanistan over to the Taliban.
China is deepening its rivalry with the United States at a weak moment for America.
Chinese brashness was in high gear — the news channel even cc’ed the American brass to see their taunts — as the country mocked U.S. leadership: “One of President Joe Biden’s favorite pet phrases is: America is back!”
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 23, 2021
- US-China competition is heating up with Beijing increasingly giving peripheral countries the hard sell that Washington is incompetent — case in point. Leading policy voices are divided on whether Biden’s exit is a negative signal to Taiwan, for instance, or whether this now frees up the White House to confront China.
- Russia, so far, has been more diplomatic, hedging its bets, though it seemed fine that the U.S. was going. “We have maintained contacts with the Taliban for the last seven years, discussing many issues,” Kremlin envoy on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told the Associated Press. “Along with guarantees given to us by the Taliban’s top leaders, [this gives] us reason for a calm view of the latest developments, although we remain vigilant.”
- President Joe Biden said China and Russia are the losers of U.S. exit. China and Russia would “love nothing better for us to continue to get bogged down there,” in Afghanistan, Biden said at the White House.
- And some conservatives are assailing the media’s hawkish tone. “The media is literally trying to gaslight Americans into supporting a complete and permanent return to Afghanistan,” said Chronicles editor Pedro L. Gonzalez.
- Meanwhile, the Biden administration got some tacit, bipartisan support this week from former Trump National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien, who told conservative kingmaker Hugh Hewitt: “Washington will play the blame game on this crisis for many, many years to come. But [Biden National Security Advisor] Jake Sullivan gets the China threat, which is the existential threat.”
- BUT: New York Times correspondent David Sanger warned Biden risks naked contradiction on his democracy rhetoric: “The president has to deal, sooner or later, with the built-in contradictions in the Biden doctrine. He has repeatedly said that the great struggle of this century will be between the forces of democracy and the forces of autocracy. This has been a bad week for the forces of democracy and a fabulous one for autocrats.”