Considering the US governing system, the US president will be about one year on top of the US’s domestic and foreign politics, because most probably in the 2022 November Congress elections the Republicans will win and Biden’s democratic administration will face executive hurdles in domestic and foreign policy. China and America’s leaders’ agreement to continue negotiations and official visits is indicative of “ Biden’s administration’s need” to manage tensions in the US foreign policy with China and regard for the US domestic civil infrastructure, and may be Biden has asked China to invest in the US. Xi had the upper hand in the phone call, but it is still unclear if Xi will accompany or reject the US. Constant belittling of the Chinese government and nation during the Trump era, the former US president, will definitely not be made up for by Biden’s phone call and the ties will not get back to before the Trump term and the evidence signifies that the rifts are widening.
Although it seems China has economically reached relative superiority, compared to the US, it is still lagging behind in other pillars of power such as political, cultural ,military and soft power. China’s military might is increasing, but it does not seem the Chinese have the will to seriously confront the US on all fronts and the Chinese have openly declared that not only do they not want escalation of tensions between the two countries ,but have offered partnership in leadership of the international relations to the US and Biden’s administration has accepted at least for the coming year until the Congress elections to refrain from escalating tensions with China over the political future of the Taiwan island.
Biden’s request for a phone call can be interpreted as an act of deception of Xi Jinping , and at least in appearance , Xi declared China’s readiness for peaceful coexistence with the US by calling Joe Biden “old friend” , but given the chronic bilateral problems which the Republicans and NATO members stress and emphasize on enmity and containment of China, we must wait to see the test of the two countries’ interaction or confrontation in the coming probable crisis in the international relations.
The two leaders of America and China exchanged opinions about joint positions in the negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran at the JCPOA meeting. It seems improbable that China will get along with the US, but the “ Vienna Meeting”, aimed at rescinding sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, will be the first test and scale of the result of Biden’s phone call with Xi Jinping, in agreement or differences of the US and China over the international relations, an issue that we must wait. In this regard, boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics by the US government as a leverage of pressure is on the table and a number of European countries and US allies in Asia are following suit and reevaluating the two countries’ relations to determine a foreign policy strategy in the US-China relations. Whether China is “transitioning” to a superpower and replacing the US in the international politics, or no, is a subject that under Xi’s leadership is expected, but is a “national will” in China to confront US’s supremacy in the near future predicted?, in response we should say No.
Seyedvahid karimi ,Senior Expert of US Studies
(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)