Red Lines

President Joe Biden (D) is meeting today with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting occurring in Indonesia. Supposedly, on the Biden-Xi agenda will be Biden’s desire to exchange red lines with Xi—each to learn the other’s.

I’m skeptical of the utility of such an exchange.

The problems with Biden and Xi exchanging red lines are two: Biden will respect Xi’s and Xi will not respect Biden’s, and Biden will not enforce his while Xi will enforce his forcefully in the unlikely possibility Biden does stray.

And one more: what would Biden do if his red lines conflict with Xi’s. It’s clear what Xi would do.

Update: In the realization, Biden was too timid even to mention the idea of red lines. All he had were some bland words of concern regarding “Taiwan” and the Taiwan Strait. Not a syllable about the PRC’s seizure and occupation of the South China Sea and the PRC’s seizure, occupation, and militarization of so many South China Sea islands that are owned by other nations rimming that Sea (even if that ownership often is disputed among those nations). Not a minim about the PRC’s aggressive behavior in the East China Sea and the associated threats the PRC makes toward Japan.

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