Biden Appointees Are Weak on China | Opinion

Last month, Communist China's former vice minister for foreign affairs, Fu Ying, made clear what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hopes to see from a potential Biden administration: a "join hands and cooperate" approach, one that doesn't "point a finger at the Chinese system or take action against Beijing for its policies on domestic matters."

What the CCP really means is that it wants America to turn a blind eye to the genocide it is now committing against the Uyghurs, the freedoms it is now stripping from the people of Hong Kong and its bellicose threats against Taiwan. The CCP wants an America that won't stand up for human rights—one that is simply a passive witness to the ruthless terror China will continue to bring upon its own people and the increasing global dominance that is a centerpiece of Xi Jinping's agenda.

Lucky for the CCP, it might have just that in a potential Biden administration.

Not coincidentally, Ms. Fu's call for cooperation came the same day Joe Biden began to announce his appointees who will shape the new administration's foreign policy.

The nominees—all with a history of appeasing adversaries around the world—are part of the strand of foreign policy elites who are more interested in placating the chattering classes in D.C., Davos and Brussels than in actually representing the American people. They exist in a bubble of group-thinkers who advocate the old, broken approaches to policy that cower to the interests of dictators like Castro, Maduro, Khamenei and Xi.

Biden has railed against President Trump's groundbreaking "America-first" foreign policy and pledged to work with nations around the world to restore a gentler approach to foreign relations. As the liberal New York Timeseditorial board put it, Biden gave "signs of America's imminent return to a role in the world that better reflects our historical values."

Career politicians like Joe Biden have rolled over and allowed Communist China to take advantage of Americans for decades. And does appeasement of dictators and support of a regime that is committing genocide against its people reflect American values? Really?

From 2009 to 2016, China harassed American, Vietnamese and Indonesian ships in the South China Sea, intruded on Filipino and Japanese waters, and converted artificial islands into military bases. Do you think the Obama-Biden alums did anything about it? When Obama welcomed Xi Jinping to a Rose Garden press conference, Xi was allowed to lie and spread propaganda about Communist China's efforts in the disputed waters. Ely Ratner, former deputy national security advisor to then-Vice President Biden, said the Obama-Biden administration completely "failed to stop China's assertiveness in the South China Sea"— an assertiveness that grows more dangerous with each passing day.

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in 2012
Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in 2012 Jay L. Clendenin-Pool/Getty Images

While John Kerry and Linda Thomas-Greenfield were at the State Department, they should have recognized the threat posed by Communist China's "Belt and Road Initiative" to the developing world. In fact, in 2015, Kerry traveled to Kenya, Djibouti and Sri Lanka while Communist China was finalizing negotiations for a military base in Djibouti. China was starting negotiations to take a 99-year lease in Sri Lanka, and it had enlisted Kenya as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Yet Kerry and Thomas-Greenfield did not say a single word about China's efforts. Their silence was deafening, and a signal to Xi that his hegemonic aims around the globe would proceed uninhibited.

And two years after General Secretary Xi visited Xinjiang and began his genocide against the Uyghurs, President Obama traveled to Beijing to laud China's achievements. At that time, the CCP was building concentration camps in Xinjiang.

President Trump's administration rightly understood that Communist China is not a competitor, but an adversary that exploits international systems and wants to reshape the world in its image. For the first time in decades, we had a leader who was committed to putting America first—a leader who was willing to offend the fragile sensibilities of Xi Jinping if it meant putting human rights and the best interests of Americans first.

Liberals and their friends in the media want you to think that putting America first is a bad thing—that protecting our interests and the interests of our allies at all costs is a dangerous approach to foreign policy. Our adversaries agree. Communist China is giddy about returning to the failed Obama-Biden foreign policy. The CCP likes Biden's new team because it knows there will be cooperation, not adversarial competition.

Introducing his nominees, Biden recently declared that "America is back," and the media lauded the nominees as a return to "normalcy." Their tired ways of thinking have allowed the CCP to steal American technology and American jobs, and threaten our standing in the world.

If we really care about the future of our country and standing for human rights around the world, we are going to have to take on Communist China and build upon the Trump administration's actions, not leave them behind.

To do otherwise would be a great show of weakness—one that the CCP will surely exploit.

Rick Scott, a Republican, is the junior U.S. senator from Florida.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.