Biden sees China as a bigger challenge than Russia

President Biden still views China as the most significant geopolitical challenge to the United States despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and his threats to use nuclear weapons, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday.

Nonetheless, restraining a “profoundly dangerous Russia” remains a key US goal, Sullivan said.

The twin threats of Russia and China are exposed in the Biden administration statement. long-awaited national security strategya document required by Congress that was delayed until Wednesday after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

“The [People’s Republic of China] The US and Russia are increasingly aligned with each other, but the challenges they pose are importantly different,” the document says. “We prioritize maintaining a lasting competitive advantage over the PRC while restraining a still deeply dangerous Russia.”

Sullivan said the Ukraine war didn’t fundamentally change the way Biden views the world, but the national security adviser stressed that the document’s release was delayed because officials believed it would be “reckless” to release it when “it really wasn’t clear exactly.” In what direction”. it would take.”

Throughout the document, the Russia-Ukraine conflict makes appearances in references to issues related to energy, food security, and military preparedness.

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The document makes it clear that China is the only power with the ability to disrupt the world order and states that the Ukraine conflict “has profoundly diminished Russia’s status vis-à-vis China and other Asian powers such as India and Japan.”

“Moscow’s soft power and diplomatic influence have vanished,” he says, “while its efforts to weaponize energy have failed. The historic global response to Russia’s war against Ukraine sends a strong message that countries cannot enjoy the benefits of global integration while trampling on the basic principles of the UN Charter.”

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Although the Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 mandated that each administration produce an annual security strategy document, few administrations have done so. President Barack Obama issued one in each of his two terms, and President Donald Trump issued a single version in 2017.

Biden’s strategy repeats much of the worldview he laid out during his campaign and in an “Interim National Security Strategy Guide” document early last year. Those efforts, and the new publication, posited that domestic politics and foreign policy are closely intertwined: that America’s strength at home is the source of its strength abroad.

In a speech about the new document Wednesday at Georgetown University, Sullivan said “our world is at a turning point, in the early years” of a “decisive decade.” The two main strategic challenges facing the United States, he said, were “geopolitical competition” with China in a post-Cold War world and “the sheer scale and speed of transnational challenges that do not respect borders or adhere to rules.” international,” including climate, food and energy insecurity, and disease, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our strategy is based on the premise that the two strategic challenges are intertwined,” he said, adding that the United States “cannot compete if it ignores the issues that most directly affect people’s lives.”

The three main elements of the strategy, Sullivan said, are “targeted investments” in elements of national power such as technology and energy, modernization of military, diplomatic and other investments in cooperation and coalition building with countries that share a belief in government. of international law.

The war in Ukraine, Sullivan said, “has loomed large in the formulation of this strategy. … But we don’t think it has blotted out the sun, because of all the other strategies that need to be included.”

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