As the United States takes an increasingly confrontational posture on China (after decades of facilitating its rise), progressives are now demanding that Washington slow its roll - for the sake of the climate, according to Politico.
Over 40 progressive groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden and lawmakers on Wednesday urging them to prioritize cooperation with China on climate change and curb its confrontational approach over issues like Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong and forced detention of Uyghur Muslims. -Politico
According to the letter, cooperation on climate change should take precedence over all other issues. Moderate Democrats, meanwhile, seem to think the administration can do both things at once as the Biden administration's China strategy takes shape.
The letter, whose signatories include CODE PINK, MoveOn, and the Sunrise Movement, "call(s) on the Biden administration and all members of Congress to eschew the dominant antagonistic approach to U.S.-China relations and instead prioritize multilateralism, diplomacy, and cooperation with China to address the existential threat that is the climate crisis," adding "Nothing less than the future of our planet depends on ending the new Cold War between the United States and China."
"To combat the climate crisis and build a global economy that works for everyday working people — in the U.S. and China alike — we must shift from competition to cooperation," the letter continues.
According to the report, challenging China's human rights abuses and regional aggressions is central to Biden's foreign policy, "while the struggle between American-style democracy and Chinese-style authoritarianism serves as his presidency’s animating idea."
"It is clear, absolutely clear ... that this is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies," Biden said in April.
From helping Hunter land deals to confronting Xi... we're sure.
The standoff has led to frosty relations between the world’s most powerful countries with no signs of thawing any time soon.
Progressives say Biden must quickly reverse the trend or risk failing on another of his priorities: ending climate change. “His entire climate change agenda could be at risk if his anti-China campaign continues and grows,” said Erik Sperling, the executive director of Just Foreign Policy, one of the groups that signed on to the letter.
It’s not the first time progressives railed against the administration’s China approach. In May, prominent left-leaning lawmakers and 60 activist groups called on the president not to turn China into the 21st century’s Soviet Union. “We need to distinguish between justified criticisms of the Chinese government’s human rights record and a Cold War mentality that uses China as a scapegoat for our own domestic problems and demonizes Chinese Americans,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said at the time.
And last week, nearly 30 organizations pushed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back a less confrontational version of anti-China legislation working its way through Congress. -Politico
The progressive groups were joined by progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who said "We need a strategic approach to China that prioritizes our national security and economic competitiveness while creating spaces for cooperation on climate change and other global issues. I would have an approach of competitive cooperation. It’s early to say on how the administration approach will develop."
Sure Ro, let's see Biden talk Xi out of building hundreds of new coal plants in developing nations, backed by investors from all over the world. Greater forces are at work here.
Moderate Democrats, such as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Mendez (D-NJ), disagree, and argue that the Chinese government must be held accountable by the United States.
"There should be little doubt that China and the Communist Party under Xi Jinping’s brand of hyper-nationalism is unlike any challenge America has ever faced," Mendez said in April.
Others have similarly struck moderate tones.
"Cooperation with China on climate doesn’t absolve China or the U.S.on human rights," according to Karen Orenstein, director of the climate and energy program at Friends of the Earth U.S., adding "The climate emergency requires cooperation."