Does Burma Smackdown Signal Biden the Brave?

The military must relinquish power they’ve seized and demonstrate respect for the will of the people of Burma as expressed in their November 8 election.” That was President Biden on February 11, imposing sanctions after a military coup in Burma, also known as Myanmar. For Biden, the statement was something of a departure. 

The Delaware Democrat was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. In a political career of more than 50 years, it’s hard to find any statement where Biden urges the People’s Republic of China, a Communist dictatorship, to hold free elections. As they confirmed at Tiananmen Square in 1989, the people of China do want freedom, democracy and human rights. The Communist regime crushed the democracy protest, but for American politicians that was no bar to China’s admission to the World Trade Organization. Neither was the regime called to account for the millions of murders it committed during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. See The Black Book of Communism for details. 

Senator Biden was strongly in favor of WTO membership for China. Vice president Biden got the nod for China policy on the recommendation of National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, who worked for Biden’s presidential campaign in 1988 before causing a meltdown at Fannie Mae. Presidential candidate Biden was on record that the Chinese Communists are “not bad folks,” and “not competition for us.” So no surprise that President Biden ignores China’s crackdown in Hong Kong and instead beats up on Burma, a nation that poses no threat to the United States. 

Beyond Hong Kong, China is becoming more aggressive with Taiwan and India, with which China fought a war in 1962. It will be interesting to see what kind of rhetoric Biden indulges when those conflicts heat up, and what sort of sanctions he decides to impose.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.
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