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Sala StampaWashington’s China Policy and the Risks of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Washington’s China Policy and the Risks of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

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As stressed in a very recent White House report, China has been front and centre in Washington’s prioritization of states-based threats, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated US policymakers’ embrace of great power competition with China. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has displayed his “tough-on-China” credentials to defuse Trump and his supporters’ accusations that he is too friendly with the US’ competitor. These accusations are part and parcel of the Republican Party’s electoral strategy aimed at blaming China for causing the COVID-19 pandemic through an initial cover-up, and accuse Democrats of being soft on China – for instance by accusing Joe Biden of not supporting Trump’s early China travel ban. These accusations have reached their grotesque climax through heavy-handed campaigns supported by influential Trump supporters that have accused Biden of being complicit to China, responsible for “stealing our jobs” and “killing our people”.  As US public opinion more readily embraces the Trump administration’s conspiratorial narratives of victimhood, and as US-China relations worsen, it looks like a Biden presidency will not make a big difference in the US posture towards China.

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