Biden on China: Sturdy resistance or mush?

George Will writes that Joe Biden “is keeping his promise of sturdy resistance to China.” But Will cites only weak evidence for that proposition.

Will points to a “sandpapery” first conversation between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi. He also notes that Blinken warned Yang that Washington would hold Beijing “accountable” (whatever that means) for its human rights abuses against the Uighurs.

In addition, Will observes that Biden invited Taiwan’s representative in Washington to attend the inauguration, the first such invitation since U.S.-China relations were normalized in 1979. And a U.S. carrier group has been active in the South China Sea.

All of this is fine. But does it really amount to “sturdy resistance.” I don’t think so. Peter Berkowitz seems to share my skepticism.

It’s also questionable whether the fumbling president who delivered the jumble of words in the video below is capable of sturdy resistance to anything. Towards the end of his faltering statement, Biden says:

Culturally there are different norms that each country and their [sic] leaders are expected to follow.

To the extent I can make sense out of his muddled utterances, Biden seems to be saying that American norms require Biden to criticize China’s human rights record and Chinese norms require its leaders to ignore the criticism. That probably means we’ll end up with a normal, accommodating China policy

Biden wasn’t describing sturdy resistance. He was stumbling towards “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

Somewhere in his word salad, Biden says that Xi, China’s tyrant, “gets it.” Yes. I’m afraid he does.