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A China Strategy to Reunite America’s Allies

China’s autocratic ways and its strategic ambition are prompting the world’s democracies to band together against it. But, as the European Union’s recent decision to sign an investment accord with China makes clear, China’s geopolitical heft and the allure of Chinese trade and investment are tempting many to curry favor with it.

WASHINGTON, DC/LONDON – America’s relationships with its core democratic partners are set to rebound dramatically after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Allies in Europe and Asia relish the prospect of an American president committed to adhere to democratic traditions at home, honor strategic commitments abroad, and be a team player.

Solidarity among the world’s democracies is especially important when it comes to standing up to China. But the European Union’s decision last week to sign an investment accord with that country underscores the potential for serious discord. Even though the Biden camp cautioned the EU against moving ahead with the agreement, it nonetheless sealed the deal (pending ratification).

To be sure, China’s headstrong ways motivate the world’s democracies to band together against it. Yet its growing geopolitical heft and the allure of Chinese trade and investment also tempt many countries, democracies included, to curry favor with its government. Accordingly, Biden should launch early in his presidency a concerted effort to forge a united democratic front on China, guided by the following three principles.

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