Skip to content

America's Waning Influence In East Asia

While Biden desires to preserve the world order, his short-sighted foreign policy decisions are emboldening countries to test America's will and doubt its promises.

President Joe Biden (L) being welcomed by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) at Alsalam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 15, 2022. (Photo by Royal Court of Saudi Arabia / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

America's stick-first approach of engaging in threats and sanctions has resulted in the country being perceived as a bully. America's 70-year leadership in the Pacific Theater is slowly waning and for evidence, we examine what has happened since President Biden took office.

At the Eastern Economic Forum 2022 in Vladivostok this week, a clever play on Davos's World Economic Forum's name, Russia hosted 58 foreign states, including large delegations from South Korea, China, Japan, and India. The American media ignored the conference, focusing instead on Trump's legal troubles and writing puff pieces about how President Putin is weakening back home.

The Vladivostok Forum was impressive, not for the $3.6 trillion in trade agreements that sometimes fail to materialize, but for the longer-term vision of making the Far East a recognized tech hub. India, a technology giant in the region, clearly recognized the value of such forward-looking participation. Prime Minister Modi said at the plenary session: "I believe that the talent and professionalism of Indians can bring about rapid development in the Russian Far East." Referring to how Russia could contribute, he said that along with energy, "Russia could become an important partner for the Indian steel industry as well through the supply of coking coal."

Last week, the Solomon Islands refused permission to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to replenish supplies in Honiara, a routine request that has been granted hundreds of times. The Maritime Executive summed it up this way: "The unusual snub follows months after the Solomons government signed a security pact with China, which allows Beijing to stage forces on the island nation's territory. A leaked draft of the agreement suggests that it will also allow Chinese naval vessels to call for replenishment at Honiara."

While the rest of the world engages in Realpolitik development, President Biden has continued to hew to righteous, though highly elastic, ideals of human rights and preserving the world order as a basis for his foreign policy. The most glaring example of America's hypocrisy was when Biden went to Riyadh begging for oil after declaring MBS, the Saudi prince, 'a pariah.' Last week, at the OPEC plus summit, the cartel led by Saudi Arabia, in a snub to America, agreed to cut production.

Countries have not only questioned America's will but have openly confronted it. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a needless visit to Taipei to secure her legacy, China retaliated with a brute show of force in the Taiwan Strait that lasted for over five days. The scale was so disproportionate that it was remarkable even by China's standards.

America was forced to respond by announcing the sale of more weapons to Taiwan. China said that such a move would be met with "counter-measures." Many Far East nations, focusing on more pressing needs such as economic recovery and climate change, think that such fruitless saber-rattling can be easily avoided.

A month earlier, during the G-20 Finance Ministers meeting in Bali, America-led Western nations demanded that Russia should not be provided a seat at the table. Indonesia, G-20's current president, not only ignored the request but encouraged Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, to be a prominent player as he made speeches and talked to the press. At the full G-20 summit in November, President Xi of China and Putin of Russia are expected to participate. It is not clear if President Biden will attend.

In June, the Wilson Center, quoting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said North Korea had already conducted 31 missile tests and was preparing to conduct a nuclear test - a steep increase from 2021's eight tests.

In May, when Biden visited Tokyo, China and Russia flew nuclear-capable warplanes close to Japanese waters. It was an extraordinary display of disrespect against the world's lone Superpower. Japan had to scramble fighters to respond.

In Washington, however, all is alive and well. While Global South countries have repeatedly issued calls for peace in Ukraine, a lead headline in the New York Times read: Blinken Visits Kyiv and Announces More Military Aid for Ukraine.


By 2-To-1, Voters Call Biden MAGA Remarks Divisive: I&I/TIPP Poll
Most Americans think President Biden’s rhetoric is divisive, threatens free speech, and misuses his office.
Six Charts Show How Americans Perceive The FBI’s Actions
Our data shows that the FBI has a perception problem exacerbated by partisanship.

Share on Facebook       Share on Twitter

Please share with anyone who would benefit from the tippinsights newsletter. Please direct them to the sign-up page at: