China & Biden Administration — ‘Ready on Day One’ Apparently Meant ‘Ready by Summer’


President Biden speaks in the State Dining Room in Washington, D.C., January 22, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

You may recall Joe Biden telling us, over and over again during the 2020 campaign, that he and the team around him were “ready from Day One.”

And when introducing his foreign-policy team in November, Biden said, “it’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Once again sit at the head of the table. Ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies. Ready to stand up for our values.”

“Ready from Day One” apparently did not mean “ready to counter China.” They’re going to have to study the problem for a while:

President Biden is expected Wednesday to launch a Pentagon review of the national security aspects of the administration’s China strategy, as part of a broader administration effort to determine its approach to countering Beijing, administration officials said.

A task force will study the military’s footprint in Asia, technology, intelligence, the role of allies and partnerships, and other areas of the strategy, the officials said…

The Pentagon task force will work over the next several months and will be led by Mr. Austin’s top assistant on China, Ely Ratner, a longtime Biden aide and China specialist. The Department of Defense China task force, as it has come to be called, will include more than a dozen civilians and military officers from across the Defense Department, including policy officials and members of the Joint Staff, the officials said. It is expected to give a series of recommendations to Mr. Austin by early summer, one U.S. official said.

Perhaps this task force will come up with the right answers. But this doesn’t match Biden’s campaign-trail rhetoric about being “ready from Day One.”

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