Biden administration must start developing strategy to deter China, Romney says

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) urged President Joe Biden to start implementing his amendment to the enacted National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 that calls for developing a strategy to address geostrategic and geo-economic competition with China.

“Our lines of effort must be focused. It is past time for America to shift its posture to one appropriate for great-power competition,” wrote Sen. Romney and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) in a Nov. 17 letter sent to Biden. “We must develop a comprehensive strategy, drawing on many of our best minds to foster global peace, shared prosperity, and freedom.”

The NDAA of 2022 includes Section 6511, which requires the administration to develop a comprehensive strategy with respect to China. And 30 days after the submission of the National Security Strategy, the president must begin the interagency process, according to their letter. 

“A key component of the process should be an advisory board of outside experts — including from the private sector, academia, and think tanks — who will challenge assumptions and make recommendations for the strategy,” wrote the lawmakers. “To increase the likelihood that the strategy endures beyond the current administration, the advisory board would ideally include both Republicans and Democrats.”

The senators, who both serve on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also pointed out that the development of the strategy is critical at this time.

“With its brutal repression of the Uyghurs and the people of Hong Kong, its expanding military installations in the South China Sea, and its predatory economic practices, the need to shape a strategic environment that balances against China’s course of ever-greater conflict is obvious and urgent,” they wrote. “But, to date, America has reacted to Chinese strategic initiatives in an ad hoc, tardy, and largely ineffective manner. China, on the other hand, adheres closely to carefully designed plans.”

Specifically, China poses a threat to the United States and the international order as it seeks to become the world’s geopolitical, economic, and military superpower, wrote the lawmakers, who urged Biden to build upon the successful strategy models developed by previous presidents in implementing this new strategy.

“The United States must move rapidly to deter China’s unabated aggression,” Sen. Romney and his colleague wrote. “We respectfully request that you update us on the progress of implementing Section 6511 within 60 days of the receipt of this letter.”