Yesterday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that China is “growing into a respectable nation.” Her comments weren’t made in a vacuum, and they serve as a reminder of the years of failure in addressing China that have led to our present situation.
Feinstein has served in the Senate since 1992, and her favorable view of China goes all the way back to when she was mayor of San Francisco in the 1980s. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1997 that Feinstein was “one of the staunchest proponents of closer U.S. relations with China” while she and her husband maintained major financial ties to the country.
Feinstein’s long history of shilling for China is well documented, and she’s not alone. Earlier this month, former Sen. Max Baucus attacked critics of China on Chinese state television, saying, “I think the U.S. has been hypercritical of China … sometimes without any proof.” Baucus has compared China’s critics to McCarthyism in the past.
Baucus served as a senator for 36 years until he was appointed in 2014 to become the ambassador to, you guessed it, China. Baucus, like Feinstein, had been pushing to normalize trade relations with China for years. And the man who helped push Baucus toward his ambassadorship? It was none other than Joe Biden.
Biden served in the Senate for 36 years and spent eight years as former President Barack Obama’s vice president. Biden has wanted normalization of trade relations with China for years as well, and in 2012, while standing next to Xi Jinping, he said, “I believe that a rising China is a positive development.” Just last year, Biden said of China, “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks.”
Feinstein and Baucus both have endorsed Biden in his presidential campaign. Between the three prominent Democrats, that’s 111 years of work in government, including in influential positions such as ambassador to China and Biden’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Feinstein is still a senator who sits on the Intelligence Committee, and Biden is running for president.
With leaders such as Biden, Feinstein, and Baucus, it’s clear why we’re now facing an increasingly aggressive and antagonistic China. Decades of failed leadership have passed this problem down, and those leaders are still around trying to drive us farther down this road.