A pernicious myth has emerged in Western media that the Biden administration and the People’s Republic of China are engaging in constructive cooperation that will enable the administration to achieve its key strategic goal of defeating Vladimir Putin in the war in Ukraine. The potential for upending this diplomatic process is purportedly what so upset the White House over the recent visit of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. While there are reasons to be skeptical about her travel, this isn’t one of them.
The expeditious defeat of Putin is certainly a national-security priority for the United States, though it pales beside the longer-term strategic challenge we face: the rise of an aggressive and hostile China. But these two issues cannot be isolated from each other, if only for the simple reason that China approaches our competition holistically, regardless of America’s desire to work together on space, climate, or anything else. There isn’t real cooperation between the US and the PRC on Ukraine. There won’t be until President Xi Jinping fears he has more to lose than gain from bankrolling Putin’s murderous aggression. This might also give him pause when considering excursions of his own, notably against Taiwan.