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Biden stands up for Japan

Summary:
This is very good news: Joe Biden has declared that US security guarantees apply to Japan’s administration of the disputed Senkaku Islands, in the president-elect’s first significant foreign policy move related to China.Yoshihide Suga, Japanese prime minister, said Mr Biden made the pledge in a 15-minute conversation on Thursday morning local time. Long time readers of this blog know that I’m a huge supporter of the US defense treaties in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, which have produced the greatest period of peace in world history. Trump would frequently cast doubt on our commitment to NATO. Trump was especially weak in his dealings with China, even going so far as to endorse Xi Jinping’s decision to put a million Muslims into concentration camps. I hope

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This is very good news:

Joe Biden has declared that US security guarantees apply to Japan’s administration of the disputed Senkaku Islands, in the president-elect’s first significant foreign policy move related to China.

Yoshihide Suga, Japanese prime minister, said Mr Biden made the pledge in a 15-minute conversation on Thursday morning local time.

Long time readers of this blog know that I’m a huge supporter of the US defense treaties in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, which have produced the greatest period of peace in world history. Trump would frequently cast doubt on our commitment to NATO.

Trump was especially weak in his dealings with China, even going so far as to endorse Xi Jinping’s decision to put a million Muslims into concentration camps. I hope and expect that Biden will do much better. We should not go to war over human rights in China, but we should also refrain from excusing their outrageous behavior toward their own citizens in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Trump’s unwise statements have reinforced the Chinese view that Americans don’t actually care about human rights in China, and that official statements that we do care are just posturing, designed to weaken the Chinese regime. That was Trump’s view, but I don’t believe it is true that all American governments are that cynical. Because of the damage done by Trump, the Chinese will now be even more firmly convinced that all American governments just use “human rights” as a stick to achieve other goals.

Biden’s next step should be to make it 100% clear that a Russian attack on Estonia is no different from a Russian attack on Iowa. It’s time to rebuild our alliances.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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