Last night, I attended an internal seminar on “US Strategy towards China and US Elections”. This is the first seminar I attended after the Chinese Spring Festival holiday, and the seminar was conducted online.

For Chinese intelligence officials and political analysts, the most noteworthy international event in 2024 is the US election, and the election results directly affect the direction of China’s foreign policy in the next five years. My department has rarely established a US election research group, recruiting experienced political analysts from around the world. In my impression, the last time a research group was established was in the 2008 US election, as the world was facing a severe global financial crisis at that time.

The seminar predicted the future direction of the US election. Interestingly, a senior intelligence analyst told me that they would prefer Biden to win the election because the liberal foreign policy represented by Biden is more favorable to China. I basically agree with his view, and the following are my reasons:

1.Biden’s diplomatic decisions are more predictable and rational. As an “old-fashioned” and “traditional” American politician, Biden’s strategy follows the conventions of the traditional American political ecosystem: in line with the interests of “parties”, following “party” decisions, “negotiating” and advancing his policies in a rhythmic manner. A very obvious example is the domestic of the Biden administration (3A, American Rescue Plan, American Jobs Plan, American Family Plan) , which is basically a variant of Roosevelt’s 3R policy (Relief, Recovery, Reform). In terms of diplomatic principles, Biden fully inherited the diplomatic strategies of a series of Democratic presidents such as Obama. The core composition of his diplomatic team is “elitism” and “specialization”.

2.Trump’s diplomatic decisions are more emotional and unpredictable. Trump is a political figure with a strong personal color and anti political tradition, and his most prominent feature in diplomatic decision-making is unpredictable.

We believe that personalized presidents like Trump are difficult to change the tone of US policy, and there cannot be a fundamental shift in US diplomatic logic. The underlying logic here lies in the intricate constraints and balances of American political power. Therefore, for the United States, the structural view that “China is the enemy” cannot be changed no matter who is elected.

Therefore, under the premise that China has no illusions about the long-term relationship between China and the United States, an unpredictable president will definitely bring greater harm to the relationship than a predictable president. In the specific social atmosphere of the United States, Trump will exacerbate “division” (cognitive, social), “internal contradictions”, “partisan internal friction (strong retaliation of personal character)”, and increase “uncertainty of foreign policy” (NATO). Trump may not be able to change the long-term logic of US foreign policy, but he has enough ability and energy to disrupt Sino US relations, Furthermore, it will drag the relationship between China and the United States into an irreversible situation.

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