Biden Appoints Laura Rosenberger to Lead China Policy

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President-elect Joe Biden appoints Laura Rosenberger, a former China-Korea policy veteran under the Obama administration, to Senior Director of China Policy at the National Security Council (NSC).

Rosenberger was previously the NSC Director for China and Korea and Chief of Staff to former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken will return to office as Biden’s replacement for China hawk Mike Pompeo as the next Secretary of State.

She also served as policy advisor to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign. After Clinton was defeated by outgoing President Donald Trump, Rosenberger headed the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a branch of the German Marshall Fund think tank where she is a Senior Fellow. The Alliance focused on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. In 2018, Rosenberger attempted to conflate China’s influence in U.S. politics with that of Russia, when she said the communist regime’s effort should be “viewed through a single national security lens with Moscow’s.”

Rosenberger said she was “humbled by the enormity of the task and privileged to once again serve the American people alongside an incredible team” in a Jan 14. tweet. Her Twitter profile’s banner includes the iconic poem written by World War II Nazi dissenter Martin Niemoller First They Came…

Laura Rosenberger’s Twitter Profile Banner (Image: https://twitter.com/rosenbergerlm)

The Hill Editor-at-Large Steve Clemos congratulated Rosenberger on her appointment in a tweet, suggesting a dovish approach to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “the key with #China will be bank shots, ways of demonstrating US power and strength that are not always head on.”

Kurt Campbell, another Obama-era veteran, will oversee Rosenberger at the NSC. He will take the seat of Senior Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Policy. Campbell was the chief architect of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” policy, a policy that reportedly sought to contain Chinese influence in the Asian region, but instead led to increased dominance by the communist menace. 

Katherine Tai, a Mandarin speaker who was formerly Chief Counsel for China trade enforcement, will become Biden’s trade negotiator. 

In April, Rosenberger criticized the CCP’s actions that aided the spread of the pandemic across the world during the crucial early weeks. In an article in Foreign Affairs, she said that the Party “focused on control — not only of the coronavirus itself but also of information about it” and “suppressed initial reporting and research about the outbreak, thereby slowing efforts to understand the virus and its pandemic potential.”

“They called for ‘increased Internet control’ when the Politburo Standing Committee met in early February. They even sent ‘Internet police’ to threaten people posting criticism of the Chinese Communist Party and its handling of the virus.”

In her article, Rosenberger demonstrates that she saw the CCP’s motive clearly: “As it began to contain the outbreak within its own borders, Beijing launched an assertive external information campaign aimed at sculpting global discussion of its handling of the virus.

“This campaign has clear goals: to deflect blame from Beijing’s own failings and to highlight other governments’ missteps.”

Her analysis also ridiculed Beijing’s narrative that its authoritarianism was superior to democracy in handling the spread of a pandemic: “A press release issued by the Chinese embassy in Paris hailed the success of China’s ‘dictatorship’ over the United States’ ‘flagship of democracy,’ pushing the message that Beijing’s model is superior and that it, rather than Washington, is the reliable partner to countries in need.

“Notably, state media outlets have paid to promote these stories to U.S. audiences, in undisclosed political ads on Facebook and Instagram — platforms that are blocked in China.”

Rosenberger has not yet made any indications about what her stance toward the Party in the Biden administration will be.

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  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.