Trying to keep China “in line” according to US government standards is not going to work. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
The mere playing with war rhetoric is reprehensible and speaks of American desperation to salvage its diminishing global power.
In an extraordinarily provocative move, the U.S. foreign policy establishment has warned China that it is pushing for a more aggressive strategy – all the way up to instigating war. In a tome-like article published by the Washington-based Atlantic Council, there are foreboding demands for numerous “red lines” to confront China over.
Entitled ‘The Longer Telegram’ the article is a strange throwback to Cold War thinking. It is ostentatiously mimicking the famous document authored by George Kennan in 1946 who as a U.S. diplomat based in the Moscow wrote ‘The Long Telegram’ prescribing a hostile strategy of containment against the Soviet Union.
Thus the Atlantic Council is billing the recent article as a seminal historical contribution to formulating U.S. policy towards China, and one that is more bellicose and “comprehensive”.
Moreover, the author’s identity is not revealed, going simply by the description of a “former senior government official” with expertise on U.S.-China relations. That is odd. It suggests that the author is close to the new Biden administration, if not a member of it in a new capacity such as national security advisor or intelligence chief.
The timing of the publication would indicate it has the purpose of forming the Biden administration’s policy. Many of its talking points and themes, such as defining China as the “main threat” to the U.S. and working more closely with allies to confront China, have been reiterated elsewhere by the Biden administration. But rather than making it an explicit U.S. policy document, the tactical choice appears to have been to publish it through the Atlantic Council think-tank since that would give a preferred nuanced distance from the White House. It’s more of a discreet telegram.