There’s an old communist maxim coined by Vladimir Lenin, “Probe with the bayonet. When you come to steel, halt. When you come to mush, advance.” At the first bilateral talks between the Biden administration and China, the Chinese found mush.

FNC: “A U.S. official accused Chinese leaders of ‘grandstanding’ during contentious bilateral talks in Alaska Thursday, according to a report.  ‘The Chinese delegation … seems to have arrived intent on grandstanding, focused on public theatrics and dramatics over substance,’ the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters in Anchorage, according to Reuters. ‘They made that clear by promptly violating protocol…exaggerated diplomatic presentations often are aimed at a domestic audience.’ The official said the two sides had agreed on two-minute opening statements that ended up going for more than an hour. In return, Chinese state media called the U.S. ‘inhospitable’ and claimed U.S. officials had spoken for too long.”

The Chinese probably did indeed grandstand. But as opposed to the appropriate calm cold approach they would have respected, by whining about it the US delegation comes off like a toddler upset that it’s nap time. Now the boys from Beijing know Biden’s team is easily rattled and that the Americans will behave as such. That will come in handy to the Chinese all across the world, but especially in Asia and no doubt when the inevitable move comes against Taiwan.

The correlation of forces, as Marxists are wont to say, is in their favor because part of a power equation is the will to use that power. The Biden administration simply doesn’t have it. Combine that with the Biden family’s economic ties to China, bonds that may have put a compromised president in the White House, and the Chinese know they have a window for action at least until January 2025. This is in stark contrast to their attitude towards the Trump administration, which they publicly admitted was unpredictable and thus a canny adversary.

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Prior to the talks Blinken said the U.S. would bring up its “deep concerns” about the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and anti-democracy efforts in “Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States [and] economic coercion of our allies.” During that American presentation, the Chinese could be heard giggling and making snorting noises. Okay, not exactly factual. But probable.