A lot of this represents what was a prevailing consensus among Republicans and moderate and even many liberal Democrats, that a strong China was good for the United States. That China would get rich and then demand freedom and become a democracy.
It sounded right to me too. But I, like many other Americans, failed to take into account a foreign culture that was not like ours. Many of us tend to thing the rest of the world wants what we do. I’m very careful about that now.
Of course, Republicans and their corporate allies not only liked the theory but dreamed of a billions of new customers and a billions of cheap laborers. There were a few people, like the newly-prominent China scholar Michael Pillsbury, who were not naive about China and its ambitions. But they were the exception.
Frankly, it was mainly liberal Democrats and their allies in the labor movement who opposed a strong China, because they were concerned the Chinese would take our jobs. Which they did.
Biden was singing China’s praises right into the Obama administration, as this video makes clear. And he is still on the campaign trail, as one of the clips below shows, underestimating the enemy.