Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited France, Italy, Britain, Canada, and the US. In the background was the war in Ukraine, China’s growing military might, North Korea’s becoming a de facto nuclear power, and Japan’s “National Security Strategy”, made public on December 16, 2022.
On March 26, in Poland, President Biden referring to President Putin said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Administration officials immediately scrambled to clarify that what he meant was not regime change. “That’s not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.” Two days later, Mr. Biden said that his comment was an expression of his outrage and not a change in American policy.
In a recent post I said, “Moscow and Peking were no doubt delighted to see the US get bogged down in Afghanistan for two decades, just as Washington was delighted to watch USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan end up in failure. But after two disastrous experiences, history should not be allowed to repeat itself. Washington should not start enjoying what might be the negative repercussions of the Taliban victory for its two strategic competitors…
“The terrorist threat has taken deep root in the Middle East with its long-drawn-out conflicts. To stop its spreading elsewhere, major powers have no other option than working together. Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping agreeing that competition should not veer into conflict is a positive sign.” [i]Obviously, my assessment of the readout of their call was an overstatement.