As Americans gather for the holiday season, there will be thousands of empty chairs at dinner tables signifying the victims of the Chinese-backed fentanyl trade, the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45.
Chinese premier Xi Jinping is culpable for this epidemic. He pretends to clamp down on the cartels, but takes no effective action. Yet, rather than holding Xi and the Chinese Communist Party accountable, the Biden administration appears to be bending a knee to Beijing once again.
Biden welcomed Xi to San Francisco last month, calling it “a great honor and a pleasure.” The two leaders struck a deal to stem the flow of Chinese fentanyl precursors to the U.S. Biden explained that the deal was “going to save lives, and I appreciate President Xi’s commitment on this issue.” But the contours of the deal are inadequate. They came at a high cost, and Beijing can just stop cooperating at any time.
Anthony Ruggiero, a former National Security Council senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense (2019-2021), is a senior fellow and senior director of the Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Matthew Zweig is the senior policy director at FDD Action.