George Will, the Washington Post’s resident “thoughtful conservative,” is one of many NeverTrumpers who sees salvation in the form of Joe Biden. Apparently missing the fact that Biden’s promised agenda is the most progressive/liberal platform of any presidential nominee in history, Will plainly favors the (comparatively) mild-mannered former vice president to our current leader. So much does Will prefer Biden that he’s willing to make fanciful statements like the one he made last week: That Joe Biden would “actually stand up to China.”
You know, as opposed to the guy who has spent the last four years standing up to China.
Will lays out his case:
Most of this cycle’s Democratic presidential aspirants avoided reminding people that the world is a dangerous place. However, during the Feb. 25 debate in Charleston, S.C., Biden called China’s President Xi Jinping “a thug”: “This is a guy who doesn’t have a democratic-with-a-small-‘d’ bone in his body.”
Economist John Maynard Keynes supposedly said, “When the facts change, I change my mind.” Biden, citing new facts, including aggression against Hong Kong’s freedom and “a million Uighurs” in “concentration camps,” has jettisoned his 2016 talk of his “enhanced cooperation” with Xi. In 34 of Biden’s 36 Senate years, he was on the Foreign Relations Committee, which he chaired for four years.
So, George, here’s the thing: The big problems with China don’t surround Hong Kong or the Muslims. Granted, those are part of the calculation that the U.S. should take into consideration, but they are small beans compared to the issues that were already very much relevant in 2016. They don’t amount to anything compared to China’s aggression in the seas of the South Pacific, they don’t mean much compared to their ongoing theft of American intellectual property, and they don’t mean squat when compared to their dominance over our trade posture.
But okay, George, we’ll take your argument at face value: Biden has changed, and now he’s going to be the “tough one” on China.
Then, how to explain Biden’s remarks about Trump’s ban on travel from China in the early days of the pandemic?
“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency,” Biden said.
Or what about this remark in Iowa, when addressing Trump administration concerns that China was a growing economic and military threat to the U.S.?
“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us. The fact of the matter is we can do all we need to do without punishing anybody.”
This is not a man prepared to lead the U.S. into a post-coronavirus future as it relates to China. This is not a man prepared to lead, period.