Typical of the administration’s approach has been the seemingly endless series of high-level meetings with Chinese officials, such as talks held last week in Washington to discuss “norms” of behavior in cyberspace.
The Chinese, as with other communist regimes, view arms control as political warfare and a means of limiting your enemies capabilities while pretending to agree to limits on your own capabilities. The Soviets perfected this tactic in the Cold War.
For the diplomats at State, substantive outcomes from talks like these matter little. The process of holding discussions is considered to be progress
The Chinese, masters of information warfare and political influence, have taken the measure of the president and appear to regard him as a geopolitical rube. The president has spent his tenure in office committed to a progressive dream that views strategic threats from China, Russia, and Iran as overblown, and calls for aggressive action to respond to those threats as outdated strategic thinking.
The Chinese have understood this about the president and in response adopted a strategic deception program designed to fool him into believing China is a normal nation to be trusted to abide by norms and laws—and not a nuclear-armed communist dictatorship bent on global hegemony as an anti-democratic superpower. China regards the president and other liberal politicians like Vice President Joe Biden as easily deceived by their own vision.