China outmaneuvering Biden with traditional European allies
Traditional allies such as France are developing new relationships with China independently of the U.S.
President Joe Biden promised that he would bring back the "good old days" in international relations, but instead Europe and much of the world seem to be leaving America behind to move forward to the China days.
As he flew home from meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron told Politico in an interview published Sunday that Europe cannot be "America's followers" on the topic of China.
"The question Europeans need to answer," he said, is whether its is "in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan. No. The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction."
Macron, who spent about six hours talking with Xi during his three-day trip to China, also said that Europe needs to stay out of commenting on Taiwan, a self-governing island that China views as a rogue province.
"Europeans," Macron said, "cannot resolve the crisis in Ukraine; how can we credibly say on Taiwan, 'Watch out, if you do something wrong we will be there'? If you really want to increase tensions that's the way to do it."
France is not the only traditional ally of the United States to look toward partnering with China under the Biden administration. European Union President Ursula von der Leyen visited China with Macron, and late last month, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited Beijing. While the European leaders all asked for China to intervene to stop Beijing ally Russian President Vladimir Putin as he wages war in Ukraine, they also discussed strengthening diplomatic and economic ties.
Other countries are aligning themselves with China without discussing the topic of Ukraine.
The government of Honduras late last month established diplomatic relations with China after severing ties with Taiwan, which is now recognized by only 13 sovereign states.
China mediated a deal last month between Saudi Arabia and Iran, traditionally bitter enemies, to normalize relations. The Shia-majority Iran has backed Houthi rebels in Yemen's civil war as they repeatedly launch missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities. The Houthis are reportedly engaging in ceasefire talks with Saudi Arabia, largely due to China's mediation.
For Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, the deal is "about further facilitating, along with China and Russia, the rise of a new anti-Western global order and excluding the United States from a new regional arrangement," according to an analysis published in Foreign Policy last week.
Khamenei's regime is focused on using the agreement to sabotage the U.S.-negotiated Abraham Accords and undermine the position of the United States in the region, according to an analysis by Saeid Golkar and Kasra Aarabi of the Tony Blair Institute.
Even as China is growing its international influence, relations with the United States are at an all-time low.
China is reportedly ignoring Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's attempts to reschedule a visit to the communist nation.
A poll last month showed that a record-low 15% of Americans hold a favorable view of China amid tensions inflamed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which the U.S. government says likely came from a Chinese lab, and, more recently, a Chinese spy balloon that was shot down after crossing the United States.