One thing that has enabled the latter is the ongoing chaos of the United States presidential transition. While the long delay between the election and the inauguration always creates a degree of confusion over policy and potential for disorder, the angry refusal of President Donald Trump and other Republicans to accept the results has exacerbated this no end. This was exemplified Wednesday night, as protesters stormed the US Capitol, while lawmakers sheltered and were briefly evacuated. With talk of an "attempted coup" and "terrorism" now dominating conversation, it's unlikely that many in Washington will be paying much attention to actions beyond America's borders.
In recent days, Beijing has struck a major investment agreement with the European Union, one that potentially undermines Washington's ability to take on China, and launched a major crackdown in Hong Kong, with dozens of activists and lawmakers arrested in a purge that threatens to wipe out the city's democratic opposition.