In his first address to a joint session of the House and Senate of Congress, President Joe Biden said Wednesday (April 28) that the United States is competing with China and other nations to win in the 21st century. He said the United States welcomes competition and does not seek conflict with China. Biden also used the speech as an opportunity to seek congressional support for two $4 trillion stimulus packages. He said they are necessary to compete with China in the future.
Biden’s Two Stimulus Plans Aim to Compete with China
In his 100-day message, Biden said that in his 100 days in office, the United States has accelerated vaccinations and is emerging from the effects of the new crown epidemic; in 100 days, the U.S. economy has created 1.3 million new jobs and the nation’s economy has begun to recover. The United States has also acted to restore public confidence in democracy.
He said, “Now, after just 100 days, I can say to the nation: America is on its way again, turning danger into opportunity, turning setbacks into strength.”
In his speech, Biden focused on promoting his two major plans to strengthen the United States, the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. American Families Plan. “The Jobs Plan focuses on investing in infrastructure such as public transportation, railroads, airports, water lines, roads and bridges, and high-speed networks, while the Families Plan will provide free preschool for America’s 3- to 4-year-olds and free community and college education for Americans. The Family Plan will provide free preschool education for American children ages 3 to 4 and free community education and paid family leave to Americans.
While these two programs focus on domestic issues, the reasons Biden gave for selling them and the goals they will achieve are inseparable from the competition with China. “We are competing with China and other countries to win the 21st century,” Biden said. Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said, “is very eager for China to become the most important and influential power in the world. Biden noted that these spending programs are critical for the United States to win the competition of the future.
Speaking of investment and research and development in future products and technologies such as advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips and clean energy, Biden said, “China and other countries are closing in fast.” These investments will also bring jobs to the United States, he said. “There’s no reason why wind turbine blades can only be made in Beijing and not in Pittsburgh,” he said. “There’s no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric cars and batteries.”
In fact, when Biden first unveiled the American Jobs Initiative on March 31, he made it clear that the program would allow the United States to win in competition with China. Biden said the two programs are “once-in-a-generation” investments that are critical to the future of the United States.
The future competition, Biden said, is also about democracy and autocracy, “about whether democracy can meet the urgent needs of the people. He said Xi and other autocrats believe democracy cannot compete with dictatorship in the 21st century because it takes so long to reach consensus.
Biden said hours before his speech to Congress that he sees the challenge facing the United States as whether democracy can succeed in the 21st century. He said Chinese leader Xi Jinping is betting that democracy will not catch up with dictatorship. In his speech, he said the United States “must prove them wrong.
However, Ian Bremmer, chairman of the Eurasia Group, the world’s largest political risk consulting firm, told VOA that Biden mentioned China because it is “useful in U.S. domestic politics,” but that these plans are ultimately about solving U.S. domestic problems.
Overall, if you look at it holistically, this is the United States, and we have the biggest gap between rich and poor in the G-7,” he said. There’s a reason why Trumpism, Bernie Sanders, all came about. After 2008, Obama launched a bailout program, but concentrated on banks and car companies. Although not very successful due to popular hatred, this led to the Tea Party and Trumpism. This time, the money is going to the people, to the service sector …… Biden is addressing these issues.”
Continuing to be tough on China on trade, human rights, military and other issues
However, Biden said the investment plans are also about advancing foreign policy that benefits the American middle class. “That means that in the global economy, every country, including China, has to play by the same rules.”
In his speech, Biden said he told Xi during that Chinese New Year’s Eve conversation that the United States welcomes competition and does not seek conflict with China, but that it will defend its interests.
He said, “The United States will fight back against unfair trade practices that harm American workers and American industries, such as subsidies for state-owned enterprises and the theft of American technology and intellectual property.”
Biden also pledged to maintain a strong military presence in India and the Pacific. “I also told Xi Jinping that we will support a military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, just as we do in NATO and Europe, not to cause conflict, but to prevent conflict.”
He said the United States will not abandon our commitment to human rights, fundamental freedoms and our allies. Biden said: “No responsible American president will remain silent when basic human rights are violated. The president must represent the essence of our nation. America represents an ideal that is unique around the globe. We are born equal. That is who we are. We will not turn our backs on our principles.”
On March 31, the State Department released its annual human rights report, in which Secretary of State Blinken bluntly called China’s actions against the Uighur people in Xinjiang “genocide.”
However, Biden also said he believes there are areas where the U.S. and China can work together, such as climate change, and on April 18, Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, visited China and the two countries agreed to put aside their differences and work together to address climate change.
Pompeo: Tall Targets and Good Rhetoric
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Fox News interview Thursday that Biden’s goals are lofty and his rhetoric is good, but that Biden’s policies could make his goals difficult to achieve.
If you raise energy prices in the United States, if you put a burden on companies that invest in the United States, if you make small companies within the United States less able to take risks, then China has an opportunity to make those things,” he said. The goals are good, the rhetoric is good, but, as the Trump administration has done for four years, at the end of the day, he’s going to have to deliver on these policies that he has in response to China.”
So far, he argued, the Biden administration has not come up with a strong response to China’s attacks on the United States. Pompeo said it’s important to be tough with China. He tweeted after Biden’s speech that Biden wants the U.S. to be in a good position to win the 21st century competition, but “let me tell you, kowtowing to Beijing will only cost us that competition, and we must be tough, not vulnerable.”
In his 100 days in office, Biden has yet to roll out a full strategy toward China. So far, the Biden administration has continued to retain a number of Trump-era policies on China, such as temporarily maintaining Trump-era tariffs on China and also retaining the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement.
On April 8, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it had placed seven Chinese supercomputer companies on its “entity list”; on March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) placed Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese technology companies on a new blacklist, and is considering On March 12, the FCC placed Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese technology companies on a new blacklist and is considering whether to revoke the business licenses of Chinese communications companies such as China Unicom Americas.
China has expressed its displeasure at being the target of Biden’s speech. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference Thursday that “the fact that some people on the U.S. side are talking about China is, after all, a sign of lack of self-confidence due to the Cold War zero-sum mindset and ideological bias.”