The 'China Fear' Paradox: How it shapes diplomacy

President Joe Biden has repeatedly emphasized the ongoing global struggle between "democracies" and "autocracies." This divisive characterization is also referred to as "tech democracies" and "tech autocracies." The Biden administration is using this rhetoric to frame the "great power competition" between the United States and China. However, when it comes to action, this framing loses its meaning.

The United States is attempting to form a "global coalition" against China. However, many of the countries that Biden wants to see in his "American League" are part of what he calls the "autocracies league." Meanwhile, several of America's traditional allies are getting closer to China. As a result, as the Biden administration shifts from "rhetoric" to "action," it is changing gears to try and bring these countries back into the American fold.

The "G-20 Summit" has prompted Biden to unveil infrastructure projects that will connect India to Europe through an "economic corridor," driven by the "Fear of China." These projects will link India, the Gulf, and Europe through railways, shipping lines, high-speed data cables, and energy lines. The components of Biden's plan include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Israel. Israel, through its Mediterranean ports, will become a critical junction in the corridor extending to Europe.

The U.S. plan aims to disrupt China's ongoing "Belt and Road" project and put countries interested in participating in the project in a dilemma. The "Belt and Road" connects China to Europe through Russia. The "Ukraine-Russia War" is impairing this project's most critical link. Analysts summarize the U.S. strategy regarding this war as "Russia should not win, Ukraine should not lose." This sentence can also be interpreted as "let the war last as long as possible." The prolonged war is expected to weaken both Russia and render the "Belt and Road" project dysfunctional.

I concluded my Sunday article by stating, "Biden's departure from New Delhi today to visit his old foe Vietnam is related to his strategy of 'encirclement' against China in the Asia-Pacific." Biden's visit to Vietnam further dissipates the "democracies-autocracies" rhetoric.

In Hanoi, Biden met with leaders of the ruling "Communist Party." The United States had previously fought against the forces of this party in Vietnam. The new relationship between the United States and Vietnam is labeled as a "comprehensive strategic partnership." Vietnam has also granted this status to China, Russia, India, and South Korea.

Vietnam is cautious about not upsetting China but also reluctant to turn down the carrots offered by the United States. Trade between Vietnam and the U.S. has surged in recent years. Vietnam is home to some of the world's largest deposits of rare earth minerals used in the production of high-tech devices like "electric vehicle batteries," "smartphones," and "chips," second only to China. The U.S. is looking for alternatives outside of China for its semiconductor supply chains, making Vietnam crucial.

On the other hand, Russia is Vietnam's leading arms supplier. There are even reports of a new arms deal being in the works between Vietnam and Russia. The Biden administration, instead of directly blocking arms supplies from Russia, is trying to step in as a supplier as well.

China, which seemed indifferent to the "G-20 Summit" in New Delhi, paid close attention to Biden's visit to Vietnam. Vietnam argues that its partnership with the U.S. is not against China's interests, and the Biden administration uses similar language. China is both the largest trading partner for the U.S. and Vietnam. Vietnam also wants to expand its trade relationship with the U.S., which is entirely related to China.

Beijing warns Vietnam not to aim its strategic partnership with the U.S. at cornering China. Chinese experts argue that contrary to the intentions of the U.S., Vietnam won't be a "thorn in China's side" and cannot or does not want to be one. The Biden administration claims that its initiatives towards countries getting closer to Beijing are not aimed at obstructing China's economic rise. In fact, countries cozying up to China are well aware that it's due to the U.S.'s "China fear." These countries are seeking a balance, gaining power, and reasserting themselves among the great powers. The rest is just a masquerade.

While the "China Communist Party Monitoring Committee" is being established in the U.S. Congress, Biden is aligning with the "Vietnam Communist Party." China has been in action for the past decade, while the U.S. is reacting. China is coming from all directions, while the U.S. is running around in panic. That's the picture.

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