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Biden should not ignore the danger of ideological competition

One of the favorite foreign policy themes of the Biden administration—like the formulation of a “middle-class foreign policy”—is that the United States and its partners and allies are engaged in an ideological struggle against authoritarian forces over the future of the global order.

write on Washington post Before his first overseas trip in June, President Joe Biden reiterated Focus. In his view, democracies need to prove to the world that their unity, equipment, and skills are sufficient to meet the many challenges that define the 21st century. “Everyone here understands and understands the seriousness and challenges we face, and the responsibility of our proud democracies to stand up and provide services to the rest of the world,” the president Tell reporter After the G7 summit.

But is US foreign policy based on ideological struggle really the most effective course of action?

The democratic and authoritarian framework that the Biden administration continues to adopt tries to obtain a neat and orderly meaning from a highly complex world. But its assumption that the state is driven by the philosophy of governance rather than the basic pursuit of security and power is too simplistic.

If the political system is the main organizing principle of state behavior, then every democratic country on the planet will theoretically have a set of common goals. Establishing a unified democratic consensus on China, Russia, or anything else would be a straightforward proposal. Unfortunately, this is almost not the case in reality. The geopolitical game is not a neat mathematical equation.As President Biden and Secretary of State Anthony winked The United States has personally experienced it during their respective European trips. It cannot just snap their fingers and assume that its democratic allies and partners will follow Washington’s leadership or preferences.

On June 23, 2021, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken at a joint press conference at the Chancellery of Berlin, Germany. Following President Biden’s visit to the UK and Belgium, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken is visiting Europe for the second time. After his trip to Germany, Brinken will travel to Paris, Rome, the Vatican, Bari and Matera as part of his one-week trip.
Clemens Bilan-Swimming Pool/Getty Images

Statement of determination from NATO with G7 Nonetheless, it is clear that democracies are not synchronized on some of the issues that dominate world affairs today. Although Germany, France, and Italy are indeed worried about Beijing’s predatory behavior, no one seems to be particularly interested in joining the US-led global alliance against China.French Emmanuel Macron Sneer at the idea of NATO Shifting attention from the North Atlantic to China is the top security issue.Germany has no intention of harming its US$253 billion Trade relations with China. In short: even democracies are divided in tactics and strategy.

One can feel that Biden administration officials like ideological competition. However, whether a full-scale ideological campaign against non-democratic countries is really effective is an open question.In fact, this paradigm is right Vladimir Putin with Xi JinpingBoth of them are masters of making up pranks and bullying the United States in an attempt to subvert the narrative of Russia and China. Write Foreign affairs Last month, Thomas Pepinsky and ​​Jessica Chen Weiss explained that advocating democratic values ​​to China and organizing alliances to change its behavior provides the Chinese Communist Party with an excellent opportunity to advance its hyper-nationalism about the danger of Western invasion Narrative.Putin faces a mediocre economy and A surge in COVID-19 infections, Is nothing more than changing the topic and distracting with beauty. Washington is essentially helping the CCP and Putin.

Finally, putting ideology at the forefront of US foreign policy may have adverse practical effects. It will make cooperation with authoritarian systems more difficult than necessary. The Biden administration played a wonderful game in cooperating with Russia and China on common issues.Just a few weeks ago, Biden met Putin in Geneva for an hour and they sat down Firm To the new (and much needed) strategic stability dialogue.

However, the dialogue that portrays international relations as a contest between good and evil undermines this pragmatic cooperation. It is difficult to compromise in this environment. Channels of dialogue are restricted. Confrontation becomes the default option, while pragmatism is seen as weak or reckless.If the Biden administration also treats China as Main threat What is the so-called rule-based international order? How could Xi, his “Wolf warrior“Diplomats are always vigilant for the slightest verbal blow, explaining to other members of the CCP’s Politburo that it is in China’s interest to cooperate with a country that seems to be intending to fully contain it?

It is often said that American values ​​are consistent with American interests. Unfortunately, geopolitics can be cruel and Machiavellian. The Biden administration should deal with the world wisely, rather than creating potentially dangerous conflicts of ideals, thereby creating problems that the United States wants to prevent.

Daniel R. DePetris is a researcher at the Defense Priorities Think Tank, a columnist for the Washington Examiner, and a national interest writer.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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