Biden State Department Taps Beijing Bull To Run China Shop
By Chuck Ross
22 June 2022
The Biden administration’s pick to advise the State Department on “strategic competition” with Beijing chairs an investment think tank that urged Americans to triple their investments in China.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday selected BlackRock Investment Institute chairman and Obama administration national security adviser Tom Donilon to co-chair the Foreign Affairs Policy Board amid the State Department’s pivot to China.
Donilon’s work at BlackRock could pose a conflict of interest for the board, which provides “advice, feedback, and perspectives” to senior State Department officials on foreign policy matters. Under his leadership, the Investment Institute has urged investors to dramatically increase their stakes in Chinese companies. What’s more, BlackRock views “strategic competition” with China as bad for the company’s bottom line.
“Strategic competition between the U.S. and China and resulting tensions have also contributed to uncertainty in the geopolitical and regulatory landscapes,” reads BlackRock’s most recent annual report. The firm listed U.S.-Chinese competition as a factor that could hurt its revenue and profit. BlackRock opened a mutual fund in China in September, making it the first American firm approved to sell financial products there.
BlackRock’s Chinese entanglements have raised concerns that the company is undermining the United States. The company has come under fire for investing in sanctioned Chinese companies, including surveillance giant Hikvision. Even progressive megadonor George Soros called BlackRock’s investments in China a “tragic mistake” that would damage U.S. national security interests.
Donilon has sided with China in the debate over tariffs imposed during the Trump administration. He chided government officials in 2019 about the tariffs and inaccurately warned that they would cause a global recession.