U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in China.

Recent visits to China by Biden administration officials have sought to humanize the bilateral relationship and broaden it out beyond the tensions on display between the two governments. With limited access to uncensored information in China and people-to-people exchanges at very low levels, this is harder than perhaps ever before.

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.

“America always does the right thing, after exhausting all other possibilities.” Those words, attributed to Winston Churchill, perfectly capture what finally transpired late last week, when the U.S. Congress finally passed a series of supplemental defense spending bills earmarking military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio addresses the US Congress.

During his visit to Washington last week, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio suggested the U.S. may be feeling “self-doubt” when it comes to its global leadership role. His remarks point to an underappreciated aspect of global politics: In addition to being willing and able to act, a hegemon must also believe it can get the job done.

The USS Lake Champlain.

For more than a century, the ability to project naval strength on a massive scale has been the crucial lynchpin of U.S. global hegemony. Yet a structural crisis that is now overwhelming the U.S. Navy presents as much of a threat to Washington’s geopolitical position as the isolationist populism fueled by the rise of Donald Trump.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A common understanding of why U.S.-China relations have cratered since the 2016 election of former President Donald Trump is that the world’s two largest economies had gone from being complementary to being increasingly competitive and zero-sum. But even in this economic relationship, there are still ways to find common ground.

1

Recent setbacks for two major Chinese projects in Latin America are likely music to U.S. policymakers’ ears and could point to the quiet diplomacy of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden paying off in key areas of concern. How Beijing reacts to these setbacks will shape its future relations with Latin America.

U.S. President Joe Biden, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the leaders of Japan and the Philippines yesterday, in a meeting centered on shared security interests with an eye toward China’s increasing regional and global influence. This narrow focus, however, highlights the lack of seriousness paid to the escalating crisis in Myanmar.