Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
As the White House basks in the glow of the Biden-Xi photo-op discussions during APEC in San Francisco, touting their effective “cooling” of tensions, a clear-eyed assessment is necessary. Did these meetings lower the risk of conflict, as our media report, or increase them existentially for both America and her allies?
First, some background on the main American actors. President Biden’s self-portrait is ably painted by the Wall Street Journal:
Biden, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman who has made defending democracy a tenet of his presidency, has sought to define himself as a capable commander-in-chief who is bringing decades of foreign-policy experience to bear to help steady a tumultuous planet. People who know him say he relishes playing the role of statesman on the world’s stage.
However, a more objective analysis of Biden’s acumen has been provided by the respected former CIA official and Obama Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2014. Biden, he noted, “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
So far in his presidency, Biden has acted consistently with Gates’s thumbnail sketch. He stood mute as Russian troops massed on the Ukraine border; his silence interrupted only by sputters of seeming acquiescence in Putin’s threatened invasion. When vigorous early assistance for Ukraine could have destroyed the eventual assault aborning, such as by provision of much-needed MIGs, Biden dithered and practically guaranteed the present stalemate.
In his desperation both to lower pump prices and seal the harmful Iran nuclear deal, he has quietly ignored enforcement of sanctions on the mullahs’ regime, allowing the theocracy to collect massive wealth with which to fund Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthis, constantly threatening our Mideast allies.
While seemingly supporting Israel publicly in its conflict with Hamas, he has been quietly undermining the principled Israeli campaign to destroy these terrorists while avoiding civilian harm. He has weakened Israel by calling for a “pause” of combat, a form of cease-fire helpful to Hamas. Indeed, no astute observer would be surprised whenever it is publicly proven, as rationally intuited, that billions in American humanitarian aid for suffering Palestinians, had found their way into Hamas coffers, already swollen by Iranian financing.
Now to China. Biden’s embarrassing failure to timely shoot down a Chinese spy balloon, after being spotted easily by American amateurs, is a textbook example of weakness, renewing questions of corruption raised previously.
Biden’s passivity as China built military bases on enhanced South China Sea islands, their ownership disputed by Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam, has sent yet another message of weakness.
Biden’s National Security Advisor, the junior-grade Jake Sullivan, hardly increases confidence. Sullivan, the dishonest author of the disgusting “Russian collusion” hoax while a mind-melding campaign aide to Hillary Clinton, expressed surprise in 2022 that the long-massed Russian troops would actually invade Ukraine.
Yet Putin, as an engaged college sophomore would have known, had long coveted Ukraine’s mineral and agricultural riches, furthering his design to restore the Russian Empire. But Sullivan seemingly had not yet received the memo.
Sullivan’s cluelessness was on full display as late as September 29, 2023, when he continued to boast that the Mideast had been as quiet as it had been for decades, transparently patting himself on the back for his sterling diplomacy. This quiet was explained on October 7, 2023, again catching our NSA by surprise.
This duo, joined by the callow Secretary of State Antony Blinken, backtracked on decades of carefully cultivated strategic ambiguity on Taiwan, publicly supporting a clear “one China” policy. Blinken is the same person who developed the “Russian disinformation” canard to persuade the media to conceal the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 campaign, which in turn avoided, according to strong polling, a decisive Biden loss in 2020.
On Biden’s counterparty Xi, no extended appraisal is necessary, given the foregoing pocket-picking by Xi of Biden’s team. While Biden was Vice President, Chinese defense conglomerate AVIC purchased Michigan’s Henniges Automotive, owner of proprietary anti-vibration technology, a deal engineered by Hunter Biden. Chinese interests recently bought North Dakota farmland adjacent to an Air Force base which researches and tests our most advanced drones.
Biden’s climate policies have strengthened China, the world’s major supplier of needed EV minerals, and permitted China to corner the critically important African cobalt market. In short, Xi has eaten Biden’s lunch for years.
In recent months, the Biden forces went on bended knee to beg Xi for a face-to-face meeting at the upcoming APEC meeting in San Francisco. What exactly did Biden get us by this shameless pandering? Put differently, what has Biden traded to get these hopefully politically valuable optics of him as our strong, fearless leader, meeting with China’s Chairman?
Amid great fanfare, the White House announced two underwhelming deals flowing from these ballyhooed talks. First, China would attempt to stem its flow of fentanyl component chemicals to Mexico. Since the cartels can get these ingredients elsewhere and certainly can still buy Chinese chemicals if needed through middlemen, this is a nothingburger.
The second deal is to engage in “military to military” communications, which would be aimed at lessening risks of avoidable conflict. While this sounds good, as we will explain, such talks can, if obsequiously pursued, encourage attacks on our allies.
But if, as the Biden team exulted, these terms are greatly advantageous to the United States, what did China get in return? The White House has been silent as to any other agreements. So, were there nothing but two pedestrian agreements to come out of the photo-op? If so, no harm, no foul.
But a careful reading of the Chinese press sends ominous, confounding messages. We are told that Chairman Xi’s two big issues at APEC were Taiwan and removal of American “investment screening” or “protectionism” regarding Chinese businesses seeking to invest in America. After all, Xi is really arguing, how can it hurt America that Chinese interests seek to purchase our technology?
The Chinese news agency Xinhua, expressed hope, after mentioning these issues, that the U.S. would confirm its preliminary representations at the upcoming APEC talks: “We hope the oral promises made will become concrete policies and actions.”
So now we have a big “tell” about what Biden may have given to shore up his crumbling political support. Let’s translate. Biden will allow even more Chinee purchases of our technology and natural resources, one may reasonably infer. But far more concerning is our emerging policy on Taiwan. Did Biden signal to Xi that America would not intervene if China were to invade Taiwan to pursue peaceful reunification? It seems likely. And did Biden encourage Xi to have Chinese military obtain pre-invasion assurances from American military officials, to wit, that America would not defend Taiwan?
It would be comforting to believe that this appeasement would not have been part of the oral promises reportedly made. But the history of these weak actors, discussed above, makes Neville Chamberlain seem strong.
Taiwan manufactures the world’s most intricate, sophisticated computer chips, crucial to advanced American and Israeli military technology and AI. We have no substantial alternative suppliers of these superchips.
With America clearly weakened, if and when Taiwan falls, will Israel be the next shoe to drop? Iran, after all, is China’s ally, united against America. If we do not defend Taiwan, will Iran be emboldened to attack Israel directly?
As we watch our world crumble before us in slow motion, citizens should examine root causes of a democracy that produces leaders like the feckless Biden, who feels he can pursue policies which the majority do not favor.
It is easy for conservatives to blame Biden’s failed presidency on election fraud, or for progressives to point to Biden’s age in explaining his poor performance. The more fundamental problem with our democracy is that voters are not receiving from our media full and unbiased information upon which to decide elections or appraise performance.
Sullivan weakened President Trump by authoring the cartoonish “Russian collusion” narrative. Not only did the media buy this foolish story, enticingly anti-Trump as it was, it is also concerning that Sullivan has not been taken to task for by the media he hoodwinked.
The same applies to Blinken’s sleazy “Russian disinformation” tale, giving the media a thin pretext to avoid reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop, which in turn would have doomed Biden’s 2020 chances, according to all polling. It is ironclad proof of media bias that two proven authors of critical political frauds, Sullivan and Blinken, have been awarded powerful positions under Biden, while the compliant media withholds any disapprobation of their dishonesty after being clearly demonstrated. Their fraud, in turn, resulted in Biden’s election, as strong polling affirms. In sum, media acquiescence in their consequential falsities has enabled two weak and incompetent operatives to control our foreign policy in an increasingly fraught geopolitical maelstrom.
There are of course many sincere Israeli supporters in the media who would never intentionally weaken that admirable country or, for that matter, Ukraine or Taiwan. But in fact, by embracing the Blinken-Sullivan falsehoods, both during and after them, all to defeat the hated Donald Trump, these same journalists bear responsibility for weakening America and strengthening China, Iran and Russia, putting Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine in the crosshairs of our enemies.
Unfortunately, in the present this biased reporting continues to endanger America and its allies, as the media hails existentially dangerous capitulations by our President to China before or during the APEC talks, all to buck up his failing tenure. Politics should stop at our water’s edge, but for our partisan media there are no such limits, ominously so for our national security.
John D. O’Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the author of the books, Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism and The Mysteries of Watergate: What Really Happened.
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Author: John D. O’Connor
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