ANALYSIS - Biden's Sanctions Unlikely To Hurt China Unless Other Western States Follow Suit


ANALYSIS - Biden's Sanctions Unlikely to Hurt China Unless Other Western States Follow Suit

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 03rd August, 2021) US sanctions targeting nearly 60 Chinese companies will not have a significant impact and may even backfire unless other Western countries are prompted to do the same, analysts told Sputnik.

On Monday, new US restrictions on American investments in 59 Chinese companies went into effect over allegations the firms were tied to China's military and Beijing's surveillance efforts. Many see the move as yet another example of President Joe Biden continuing the same tough line against Beijing as that taken by his predecessor.


Beijing quickly hit back against the United States economic sanctions, accusing Washington of hypocrisy. During talks in the Chinese city of Tianjin last week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman that the United States should honor its own rhetoric about following international trade rules.

"Taken in isolation, this move will not affect the targeted Chinese corporations in a significant way," Global Policy Institute President Paolo von Schirach said. "Any short-term damage to China from the White House announcement was likely going to be more about image and reputation rather than a serious hit on the viability of the targeted corporations."

However, Schirach said the US action could have an impact if other Western countries followed by imposing similar investment restrictions.

International trade analyst Alan Tonelson believes Biden's latest measures were certain to be unsuccessful.

"President Biden's latest curbs on US investment in Chinese entities... suffer the same fundamental problem as previous, similar decisions taken by him and by President Trump: They tackle the intertwined China economic, technology, and national security threats on a piecemeal basis," Tonelson said.

US interests could not be defended and advanced by dealing with isolated parts of the Chinese government and economy, Tonelson added.

"Unless Washington implements a wide-ranging decoupling strategy, regardless of near-term economic costs, Americans will keep on feeding [China] and increasing its power," Tonelson said.

The Biden administration's new measures come as China's economy continues to boom, with some projecting it can overtake the United States in a few years. Some experts feel that it is a waste of time trying to halt China's rise and that, in fact, the measures could even backfire.

Meanwhile, China has not shut the door to working together. At last week's talks, Wang told Sherman Beijing is ready to develop cooperation and "seek common prosperity" together with all countries, including the United States.

US historian James Bradley, author of "Flags of Our Fathers" which became a major Hollywood movie, sees the move as a bad strategy that will be fully realized in retrospect.

"My first reaction was to imagine amazed Chinese years from now recalling the end of American Empire and that in 2021 the Dollar Country imagined it could squeeze rising China through its falling dollar and creaky financial system," Bradley said. "For over a decade, I've been preaching that the United States could be a strong #2 to China, but it' #1 or nothing to some, I guess."

The United States needed to acknowledge the reality of China's inevitable rise and develop long-term constructive economic relations with Beijing instead of indulging in such hostile policies that were bound to be futile, Bradley advised.

"I'm a former salesman who thinks that it is better to have good relations with rich and rising organizations," Bradley added.

Schirach, who also chairs the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bay Atlantic University in Washington, DC, warned that China is likely to strike back.

"It is very likely that the Chinese government will retaliate against American economic interests in some fashion. Maybe Beijing will create a list of US companies no longer allowed to do business in China or impose new operating restrictions on them," he said.

Political commentator Professor John Walsh predicted Biden's move looked certain to drive China and Russia into still closer economic and strategic cooperation. He also advised that Moscow and Beijing should take the opportunity to collaborate and contain the United States.

"If China and Russia do not hang together, as they say, they will surely hang separately," he said.

The new sanctions, Walsh observed, followed tough confrontational meetings that sent an unmistakable message the United States was in a hostile confrontation with Beijing.

"The gloves are off with [Secretary of State Antony] Blinken and the other operators of the nasty and cruel Biden Hologram," Walsh said.