There is substance in the barb that Trumpian foreign policy is for sale. Now with his back to the wall and the risk of impeachment dangerously real, he has made an extraordinary demand on China. He has called upon Beijing (his counterpart Xi Jinping) to investigate the role of Joe Biden, Vice-President when Barack Obama was at the helm and currently a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for Election 2020.
He has made the request, decidedly desperate, to investigate his leading political rival and his son, Hunter, in defiance of impeachment proceedings in Congress, where he stands accused of abusing his office to put similar pressure on Ukraine. Mr Trump’s SOS to foreign countries lengthens the loop of such interventions, not to forget Russia’s meddling in the Election 2016. Well and truly has he blurred the difference between sovereignty and intervention beyond borders.
It was reported late on Thursday that Trump had brought up the Biden issue in a phone call with Xi, mentioning the former Vice-President’s political prospects, as well as those of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on the unfolding Hong Kong protests as long as trade talks between the US and China progressed. The White House record of the phone call in June was reportedly stored in the top restricted database that also contained the call between Trump and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Trump noted that the US was engaged in trade talks with China and “if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power”.
In calling for China to investigate the Bidens. Trump referred to a business deal that Hunter Biden was involved in, drawing on investments from the Chinese government-owned Bank of China. The fund was announced in 2013 ~ days after Hunter Biden and one of his daughters flew to China from Japan aboard Air Force Two with the Vice-President. The latter was on a mission to calm rising tensions in the region, and had warned Chinese leaders not to use fighter jets to enforce an air defence zone created by Beijing over contested waters. Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in his dealings with the Ukrainian President, and has even accused an intelligence whistleblower of treason for providing evidence that the President used the power of his office ~ the withholding of military aid and a summit meeting ~ for his own political ends.
However, Trump appeared to do just that in front of the cameras on the White House lawn on Thursday, when he openly called for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens. Suffice it to register that the Cold War and “New Cold War” of the US-China construct are over.