Biden Administration Begins Trade Dialogue With Taiwan

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday said that it would pursue negotiations to strengthen trade and technology ties with Taiwan, a move that is aimed at countering China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region and one that is likely to rankle Beijing. The announcement follows the Biden administration’s efforts to build an Asia-Pacific economic bloc, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, that includes 13 countries and excludes Taiwan. China claims the island, a self-governing democracy that is critical to global technology supply chains, as an incontestable part of its territory.…

Why China Is Miles Ahead in a Pacific Race for Influence

SUVA, Fiji — Take a walk through the city where China’s foreign minister met on Monday with the leaders of nearly a dozen Pacific Island nations, and China’s imprint is unmistakable. On one side of Suva, the capital of Fiji, there’s a bridge rebuilt with Chinese loans and unveiled with the country’s prime minister standing beside China’s ambassador. On the other, down Queen Elizabeth Drive, sits Beijing’s hulking new embassy, where the road out front has been fixed by workers in neon vests bearing the name of a Chinese state-owned…

China Is Not the Biggest Threat to the World Order. It’s Russia.

In a speech on Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed the long-awaited outlines of the Biden administration’s official posture toward China. Rather than Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Mr. Blinken said, it is China that represents the most potent and determined threat to the American-championed world order. Only China, he continued, has “both the intent to reshape the international order” and the power to do so, he said. The United States will seek to rally coalitions of other nations to meet Beijing’s challenge. The writing had been on the wall. Just…

Tesla’s Aura Dims as Its Plunging Stock Highlights the Risks It Faces

Chinese consumers “are edgy, they’re worried about the future,” Mr. Dunne said. “It’s a double whammy that Tesla confronts in China.” Tesla shares are reacting in part to the same forces that are roiling stock markets around the world: war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, the threat of recession, supply chain chaos and surging inflation. But Tesla shares have fallen much more than other Silicon Valley giants like Apple or Alphabet, the company that owns Google. Tesla accounted for three-quarters of the electric cars sold in the United States last…

U.S. Accuses Steve Wynn of Lobbying Trump on Behalf of China

The Justice Department sued the former casino mogul Stephen Wynn on Tuesday, saying he had made repeated requests on behalf of the Chinese government to Donald J. Trump when he was president and seeking to force Mr. Wynn to register as a foreign agent. In 2017, Mr. Wynn pushed Mr. Trump to deport a Chinese businessman who had sought asylum in the United States, according to the lawsuit. At the time, Mr. Wynn was the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, a role he had been handpicked for by…

Can We Still Be Optimistic About America?

This is a season — an age, really — of American pessimism. The pessimism comes in many flavors. There is progressive pessimism: The country is tilting toward MAGA-hatted fascism or a new version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” There is conservative pessimism: The institutions, from primary schools to the Pentagon, are all being captured by wokeness. There is Afropessimism: Black people have always been excluded by systemic, ineradicable racism. There is the pessimism of the white middle and working classes: The country and the values they’ve known for generations are being…

A Coming Fall Surge?

Expecting a fall surge The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility that 100 million Americans will be infected with the coronavirus this fall and winter, according to an administration official. That’s lower than the number of Americans who were infected during the Omicron wave in December and January, but still amounts to roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Should that scenario play out, my colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports, the administration’s goal is to prevent a spike in hospitalizations and deaths. One way that might be accomplished would…

Putin’s War on Information Is Far From Over

The info war has also reached Asia, Africa and South America, where Russia has mobilized diplomats and state-controlled media like the global RT network to press its case. The goal isn’t necessarily to win support, but to keep unaligned countries on the sidelines. While some countries, most notably China, have taken Russia’s side, others, like India, have avoided antagonizing Russia so as not to lose Russian military or energy contracts. Many others have done so simply because they know and care little about Ukraine. Russia’s line to them is that…

Your Thursday Briefing: A Ban on Russian Oil?

Good morning. We’re covering the E.U.’s plan to ban Russian oil, growing U.S. frustration with the politicized Supreme Court and a separatist movement in Pakistan. The E.U. may ban Russian oil With no end to the Ukraine conflict in sight, the European Union took a major step on Wednesday toward weakening Moscow’s ability to finance the war, proposing a total embargo on Russian oil. If approved this week as expected, it would be the bloc’s biggest and costliest step yet toward supporting Ukraine and ending its own dependence on Russian…

It will neither rattle Putin nor change our obligations in the war.

Just over a week ago, Joe Biden acted like Joe Biden and called the Russian campaign in Ukraine a “genocide” — leaping ahead of our major allies, our State Department and the available facts. The comment prompted head-shaking from people nervous about American escalation and praise from people seeking it (notably, the president of Ukraine). I am generally on the side of the nervous people: In a conflict with a nuclear power there is always an interest in reducing the existential stakes, and accusations of genocide should be made only…