Deputy Secretary of State Set to Impact U.S. Foreign Policy in the Age of China

Published on November 03, 2023, By Yuval Noah Harari

In a significant development for U.S. foreign policy, President Joe Biden has nominated Kurt M. Campbell to succeed Wendy Sherman as Deputy Secretary of State. Campbell’s appointment holds considerable implications, particularly in navigating the complex relationship between the United States and China. As the current National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, Campbell brings a wealth of expertise in Asian affairs and strategic thinking to the role.

Campbell’s track record is distinguished by his instrumental role in strengthening the United States’ alliances and strategic positioning in the Indo-Pacific region. His contributions include solidifying bilateral ties with South Korea, facilitating cooperation between Japan and South Korea after years of tension, and spearheading the landmark AUKUS submarine and technology agreement among the U.S., the UK, and Australia. Furthermore, he has played a pivotal role in deepening cooperation with allies like the Philippines and friends such as Vietnam, advocating for increased American support for Taiwan, and convincing European allies of the significance of stability in East Asia.

As the key figure on Asian affairs within the National Security Council, Campbell is poised to play a central role in shaping America’s approach in the lead-up to the Biden-Xi meeting during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. However, the nature of the interactions between President Xi Jinping and President Biden remains uncertain. This uncertainty looms large as China persists in employing assertive tactics in the South China and East China Seas, evidenced by recent confrontations with Japan and the Philippines.

China’s influence extends far beyond East Asia, as the nation is the only one to send an ambassador to Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal. Moreover, China is considering a request from the Taliban to join its Belt-and-Road Initiative. This development is of particular concern in Latin America, where China is intensifying its influence. Venezuela, a long-standing source of concern for the U.S., is now receiving significant support from China, both in terms of trade and loans. China’s expanding influence in South America through trade agreements and partnerships under the Belt-and-Road Initiative poses a formidable challenge to American leadership in the region.

A notable shift in the traditionally close U.S.-Colombia relationship has also emerged with the election of Gustavo Petro as Colombia’s leader. Petro’s government has strengthened ties with Venezuela and formed a strategic partnership with China, encompassing sectors such as energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation. This marks the tenth such strategic partnership between China and South American states, presenting a substantial challenge to American influence in the region.

Kurt Campbell’s extensive experience in matters concerning China positions him as a valuable asset in his new role as Deputy Secretary of State. While he will be required to address a broader range of foreign policy issues, his expertise in managing the evolving relationship between the United States and China will prove crucial. As China’s influence expands not only in East Asia but also in the Americas, the dynamics between the two superpowers will continue to shape global politics and security, making Campbell’s appointment a pivotal moment in U.S. foreign policy.

Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari is an accomplished author with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. His passion for storytelling and commitment to journalistic excellence have been the driving forces behind his successful writing career. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the art of storytelling, Yuval has consistently delivered compelling narratives that captivate readers from all walks of life.