On June 14, 2021, Mr. Biden arrived in Brussels on his first trip to Europe as President. His principal task at the NATO summit was to put behind America’s allies’ troubled relations with the Trump White House and rally NATO’s support in the strategic competition with Moscow and Beijing.
The two paragraphs dealing with China, the first time in a NATO communiqué, started by saying that China’s stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to Alliance security. In this connection, the Communique mentioned China’s rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal; its opaqueness in implementing its military modernization; its military cooperation with Russia, including through participation in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area; its “frequent lack of transparency and use of disinformation”.
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.