His speech served as a timely reminder of one of the critical differences between himself and the cellar-dwelling Democrat establishment doyen-turned-Trojan Horse of the Left opposing him, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The difference is this: President Trump, long a critic of the globalist establishment's China policy of integration and accommodation, has matched his word with deed as commander-in-chief, comprehensively confronting the People's Republic of China (PRC). Former Vice President Biden, long a cheerleader of, and central player in, the very globalist establishment project that propelled the PRC to great power status, can only today—after 47 years of contrary behavior and while "running" for president—muster half-hearted criticism of China, unbacked by any discernible plan to counter it.
During his UNGA speech, President Trump excoriated the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for having "unleashed this plague [the coronavirus] on the world," with an assist from the CCP-captured World Health Organization. He demanded that the UN hold China accountable for its actions.
This was the kind of direct attack on the PRC at a preeminent international forum that no predecessor in the post-Richard Nixon era, save perhaps President Ronald Reagan, would have dared make.
Certainly, Trump's current opponent wouldn't. While President Trump drew a straight line from the CCP to America's losses—in blood, treasure and liberties—candidate Biden has made no such case. On the contrary, as displayed during the Democratic National Convention, he and the party he putatively leads have given the CCP a pass by portraying President Trump as the party culpable for the pandemic.
Biden and his party do so notwithstanding the fact that they opposed the president's China travel ban, called in the early days of the pandemic, which undoubtedly prevented still-worse casualties; that the states that suffered the highest death rates attributable to coronavirus were, and are, led by Democrats; and that the Trump administration, as the president detailed in his UNGA speech, launched and executed a rapid, World War II-like mobilization to combat the coronavirus, poised to potentially culminate in the delivery of a vaccine in record time.
But it is not just that Biden and the Democrats' attack on Trump over the coronavirus distracts from CCP aggression, or that it is deeply cynical. The attack also ignores Democrats' own complicity in helping make China into a world power such that it could convert a cold on its shores into a deadly virus for the world.
On the latter point, the coronavirus crisis perfectly illustrates the downsides to the globalist agenda Biden has represented for years, including "global citizenry" through open borders, deference to global political institutions and the drive for global economic integration at all costs. Does anyone doubt that, had an adversarial communist China not been so inextricably intertwined with the world, including serving as a central manufacturing hub and key link in so many vital supply chains, America would have avoided such devastation?
Not even the The New York Times could massage Biden's record of support for China's rise, and apparent naiveté about the nature of the regime—to be fair, a failure shared by establishment Democrats and Republicans alike.
But on issue after issue, Biden has proven to be, at best, a useful idiot of the CCP regime—to disastrous effect, given his senior perches on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his time managing the China portfolio as vice president.
As the Times recounted, then-Senator Biden was an ardent supporter of establishing permanent normal trade relations with China. During the debate over the issue in 2000, he asserted that "prosperity...has put China on a path toward ever-greater political and economic freedom." More ignorantly, he claimed that the CCP had "been forced to acknowledge the failure of communism." More maddeningly, he urged Americans not to fear "the collapse of the American manufacturing economy, as China...suddenly becomes our major economic competitor."
When the normalization push succeeded, it helped enable the PRC's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), supercharging its economic growth. Biden supported that accession, and while leading his first trip as Foreign Relations Committee chair to China in 2001 in support thereof, according to an aide, Biden said that "the United States welcomes the emergence of a prosperous, integrated China on the global stage, because we expect this is going to be a China that plays by the rules."
A decade later, Biden was still singing the same tune, telling Chinese officials during a May 2011 address "that a rising China is a positive, positive development, not only for China, but for America and the world."
Several years later, in May 2019, Biden flippantly claimed that China was "not competition for us."
Within these two decades, and in the preceding ones, not once did Biden use his considerable clout to prevent the CCP's march toward supplanting the U.S. as the world's greatest power.
Only following the backlash over such remarks did Biden state that China posed the "greatest strategic challenge" to the U.S. over the medium term. But in the short term, Biden pointed to Russia as the greatest threat—and over the long term, to the "climate crisis."
Even when Biden today tries to prove his mettle with respect to the Marxist dictatorship, he shows himself to be wholly out of his depth. For example, Biden claimed that America should seek to cooperate with China "on issues where our interests converge, such as climate change, nonproliferation and global health security." Such a statement is almost beyond parody. On what basis does Biden believe the world's greatest polluter, which has amassed a powerful military second only to America and is culpable for the disaster of the coronavirus pandemic, shares our interests on these issues? General Secretary Xi must have chuckled.
Just days before President Trump's UNGA address, even at the height of the presidential race, when he's taken to talking "tougher" about the regime than ever before, candidate Biden reminded us of his weakness on China. In an exchange with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Biden labeled Russia an "opponent" but called China merely a "serious competitor," citing as evidence of strength on the issue the Obama-Biden administration's protestations at the WTO and disregard for China's air identification zone.
But these words and actions pale in comparison to a Trump administration that has pushed back against the CCP in every domain, from a military buildup and information warfare onslaught to indictments, sanctions, tariffs and trade blacklists—among a myriad of other initiatives spanning virtually every office of the executive branch.
Further, as his old boss President Obama might have said of Biden's greater alarm over Russia than China, "the 1980s called...." But then Biden must fastidiously maintain the delusion of Russia as our greatest foe, as well as the Trump-Russia conspiracy—ignoring President Trump's significantly tougher position on Russia than that of the Obama-Biden administration—forever clinging to these positions while ignoring the far bigger, richer, stronger, and more dangerous PRC.
But would not Americans prefer the real thing?
When President Trump said the following during his UNGA address, he might as well have been talking about Joe Biden:
For decades, the same tired voices proposed the same failed solutions, pursuing global ambitions at the expense of their own people. But only when you take care of your own citizens will you find a true basis for cooperation. As president, I have rejected the failed approaches of the past, and I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first.
President Trump presented a vision in direct conflict with the one supported by Biden that has, in effect, put the CCP, rather than America, first.
With Joe Biden as president, China would almost assuredly renew its march toward hegemonic status—not only because of a likely feckless and futile Biden policy toward the CCP, but because his overall leftist policies are detrimental to America's peace and prosperity.
President Trump's record on China—and on rebuilding America—is as meritorious as former Vice President Biden's is disqualifying.
Biden's record is even more disturbing in light of the just-released joint Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Finance Committee bombshell report on alleged corruption regarding the Biden family's financial dealings, and related Obama-Biden administration policy, which notes that:
The records acquired by the Committees show consistent, significant and extensive financial connections among and between Hunter Biden, James Biden, Sara Biden...and Chinese nationals connected to the Communist regime and [People's Liberation Army], as well as other foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds. These connections and the vast amount of money transferred among and between them don't just raise conflicts of interest concerns; they raise criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns.
President Trump deserves four more years to continue the vital work he has started of fundamentally reversing and reorienting U.S.-China policy toward America's national interest. Former Vice President Biden represents a clear and present danger to such efforts.
Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). Ben is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and production company. Subscribe to his newsletter at bit.ly/bhwnews, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.