I have a new piece for @TheAtlantic on how Joe Biden has a personal foreign policy doctrine a mere few months into his presidency: the United States is in a competition of government systems with China that it is at risk of losing. 1/6 theatlantic.com/international/…
Biden speaks about this all the time, in formal remarks and off the cuff. It is a marked departure from his statement in the campaign that China is not competition for us. 2/6
Some in his administration / party disagree and hope his views are not settled while others just don't grasp what he's saying. The result is that the administration as a whole is not yet converting his doctrine into a strategy but that may come in time. 3/6
Meanwhile, America's European allies get nervous with talk about ideological competition so Biden has reframed it a little in his Wash Po oped to be a more affirmative case about democracy rather than about competing with China per se but that is what it is about. 4/6
Biden has identified a crucial geopolitical development-- the old international order has come apart and we now have two broad constellations of democracies and autocracies. The key questions are: what does our constellation look like and how does it engage with the other. 5/6
Those are the questions Biden's doctrine sets him up to address. 6/6

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More from @thomaswright08

19 Feb
I might have missed it but it seems at @MunSecConf Biden did not address Macron’s top priority of strategic autonomy and Macron did not address Biden’s priority of competition with China.
Some other reactions. All the speeches were solid but unsurprising. All missed an opportunity too. Biden elaborating on what being back means but tbh that's a surprise to no one (support NATO, etc). He was strong on democracy and China.
He could have said something about strategic autonomy redefining the 2% concept, democratic backsliding, or the need for the EU & UK to work closely together but chose not to. Merkel offered a list of all the things Germany is doing or will do including on staying in Afghanistan
Read 7 tweets
10 Nov 20
I think it was very smart of Biden to call Boris Johnson so early today. Anxieties in Brexit circles about Biden have been unreasonably high. This is an easy way of signalling a commitment to work together, will be valued by No 10, & deprives Farage et al of a talking point.
As No 10 knows, it in no way signals a softening of Biden's position on the Good Friday Agreement. But that won't be an issue if the UK reaches a deal w/ the EU, which I expect it will. With that out of the way, there's lots of opportunity for cooperation on COP26, covid, G7 etc
The other point that has been lost is that US-UK relations have been pretty awful for the past 4 years. Trump rhetorically supported Brexit but he interfered in ongoing terrorist investigations, leveled wild accusations against UK intelligence, humiliated the UK ambassador...
Read 4 tweets
25 Mar 20
In talking with European officials over the past week, I have not found them to be particularly impressed with China's role. Of course they will issue thanks for shipments of aid but they know the CCP is at least partly responsible for letting this get out of control...1/4
...and they know that its refusal to be transparent will prohibit deep cooperation in the future. I have not found anyone in the EU or NATO who has said China is supplanting the US. Perhaps public opinion will weigh in behind China but there is no data on that yet. 2/4
Europeans aren't thinking about the US much. They didn't really care about the travel ban b/c no one was traveling. They resent Trump's criticism but expect it. Their takeaway is that the US, along with Brazil, is an example of the failure of populism to deal w/ this crisis 3/4
Read 4 tweets
24 Feb 20
Since everyone is playing pundit about the Democratic primary, here's my best guess if Bernie Sanders has an unassailable lead to win a plurality of delegates but is well short of a majority. This shld be clear on March 17, when 61% of pledged delegates will have been chosen. 1/4
There are 4 months between March 17 & the Dem convention on July 13-16. During this time Sanders will be subjected to intense scrutiny (from media, GOP), as Obama was in 2008. Obama weathered this, was seen to have responded effectively, & his poll numbers stayed strong. 2/4
The attacks on Sanders are likely to be much more severe. If he also weathers the storm, he'll be in a strong position to claim the nomination in Milwaukee. However, if the attacks hurt him, esp in the polling match up v Trump, then anything could happen at the convention. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb 20
Like anyone who watched, I thought Warren was ferocious and impressive last night but I also thought she fundamentally failed to do what she needed to do. She has been struggling in the polls because Sanders has taken more of the progressive market share of the vote. 1/8
Warren never had a plan for dealing with Sanders. She assumed he would eventually fall in the polls and she would scoop up his supporters. She had toyed with drawing contrasts in the summer of 2018 (when she said she was a capitalist, not a socialist). 2/8
This was a great frame. She could have embraced it, avoided M4A and be positioned now as an acceptable more electable compromise to Sanders. Instead, she abandoned this frame once the campaign started and never allowed any gap between her and Sanders. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
20 Jan 20
Reading through the transcripts of the NYT editorial board interviews w/ the presidential candidates. Made it through the top five. Some thoughts. The questioning of Buttigieg is much tougher and more hostile than the others. Almost an obsessive focus on McKinsey. 1/6
The foreign policy sections are disappointing. Weird questions-- most candidates are asked about nuclear missiles in Turkey which is important but as one of only 3 Qs? Follow up weak -- should have pressed Sanders on how to reconcile his impulses on China. 2/6
Biden gave a strange answer on Hong Kong, saying US shld go to the UN. Warren's answer on NATO was v odd- in essence deemphasis efforts to increase their capability & focus on defense cost sharing agreements. Bizarrely, the NYT then cited it as a reason why they endorsed her. 3/6
Read 6 tweets

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