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U.S. Judge Urges Supreme Court to End U.S. Police State It Imposes

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This article reports important news-events that are not being reported in America’s mainstream news-media and that are crucial for understanding both the murder of George Floyd and the current U.S. Presidential contest:

A black U.S. District Court Judge in Mississippi — one of America’s most bigoted-against-Blacks states — issued on August 4th a 72-page decision, Jamison v. McClendon, containing a plea for the U.S. Supreme Court to discontinue its imposition of police legal immunity when police are being accused of — while on the job — having violated Constitutionally guaranteed rights of American citizens (such as by shooting innocent persons — such as George Floyd). Legally immune police is what defines a police state; and, so, this was a black judge’s request for the U.S. Supreme Court to end the existing police state it imposes in America — to end a police state that this judge attributed to (and which he documented to have been produced by) choices that the U.S. Supreme Court itself had made, and that only they therefore can possibly reverse. 

His basic point was that nothing which allows a public official to violate the U.S. Constitution is Constitutional, and that therefore these U.S. Supreme Court decisions themselves violate the U.S. Constitution, and should therefore be reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which created this situation of legal immunity for police misconduct. 

The decision by this judge, Carlton W. Reeves, asserted: “The Constitution says everyone is entitled to equal protection of the law — even at the hands of law enforcement. Over the decades, however, judges [at the U.S. Supreme Court] have invented a legal doctrine to protect law enforcement officers from having to face any consequences for wrongdoing. The doctrine is called ‘qualified immunity.’ In real life it operates like absolute immunity.” Because of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, he had to — in the particular case at hand that he was ruling on — grant a police officer’s “qualified immunity” from prosecution, regardless of what is Constitutional, or even justice in any meaningful sense. Implicitly, he is saying, in this ruling, that because of the existing legal tradition of stare decisis or adhering to existing juridical tradition — and especially of doing so when the prior rulings come from a higher court, most especially from the U.S. Supreme Court — he is required, in the present case, to issue a ruling that violates the U.S. Constitution itself. And so, he did that, he admits. This is an exceptionally bold ruling, far beyond what is normal. Basically, he says that in order for him not to be reversed on appeal, he had to rule against the U.S. Constitution, in the particular case that he was ruling on. He was pleading with the U.S. Supreme Court to end this, so that judges in the lower courts will be able to enforce — instead of compelled to violate — the Constitution.

This ruling by judge Reeves was extremely tactful, such as by its saying, “A review of our qualified immunity precedent makes clear that the Court [he pointedly didn’t say “the Supreme Court,” but that’s what he was actually referring to] has dispensed with any pretense of balancing competing values [meaning that only police are protected, their victims are not — the public is being jeopardized — by these decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court].” Then, Reeves went on to say, “Our courts [he was referring here to today’s U.S. Supreme Court] have shielded a police officer who shot a child while the officer was attempting to shoot the family dog.117.” That was a case which had been only recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 15th, and which decision by this Supreme Court was ignored by the nation’s press, since that decision exposes how totalitarian this country has actually become. That Supreme Court decision, which (especially because of the recent headlines about the George Floyd murder case) should have been front-page news throughout the country, was instead hidden from the public by the ‘news’-media, though that decision — and the others which were similarly dismissed that day on the very same ground of “qualified immunity” of police officers — probably constituted the most important decision of the current Supreme Court term, and directly relate to the George Floyd case. That June 15th decision (now virtually a precedent protecting the murderer of George Floyd) ruled in a slew of cases that had been brought against police officers by their victims. This Supreme Court dismissed all of them, on the basis of this absurd court-precedent, which had been established in 1967, and which was further defined in 1982. It’s “qualified immunity”, and asserts that police are allowed to do anything to anyone unless Congress has passed a specific law against what they did, and in that law, has described and identified exactly the same circumstances that the claimant against the police is claiming had existed — each and every detail of it — in his/her specific case. It’s a Supreme-Court precedent, for a police state (unaccountable government-officials) to be ‘Constitutional’ in America, and this black judge in Mississippi was here essentially begging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the precedent that the 1967 Supreme Court had established (and which had been reaffirmed and worsened yet further, by the Supreme Court in 1982). It is horrific judge-made ‘law’ that is no real law but instead nothing but an extremely evil precedent, which today’s Supreme Court continues to impose; and judge Reeves expressed that he reluctantly is bound to follow it and therefore he pleads requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse itself on this matter. 

The June 15th U.S. Supreme Court ruling had been dissented from by only a single member of today’s U.S. Supreme Court, and that person happens also to be its only black member: Clarence Thomas. All of the white members reaffirmed this police-state precedent. Ironically, Justice Thomas, who along with judge Alito is the farthest-rightwing member of the U.S. Supreme Court, dissented against the police on that occasion. And, of course, all of the Democratic-Party appointees to this Court (the Court’s liberals) voted for the police, against the public, in that June 15th ruling. Today’s Democratic Party is liberal Jim Crow. (The Republicans are conservative Jim Crow, which is closer to the 19th Century variety.) The Democratic Party’s nominee for the Presidency, Joe Biden, was one of the U.S. Senate’s leading segregationists, and he was condemned for it by Senator Ted Kennedy, the NAACP and others (though the U.S. ‘news’-media hid — and continue to hide — that fact, too).

I had headlined on June 20th about this June 15th ruling, “U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms U.S. Police State”. The Court in that decision had reaffirmed that America’s law-enforcement officers have this “qualified immunity” from prosecution, and so the Constitutional rights of Americans are effectively meaningless if the police abuse them. (As originally established in 1967, police have “qualified immunity” if they have acted “in good faith,” but since 1982 they posses this immunity even if they clearly did not.) 

As the libertarian lawyer Jay Schweikert put this matter on June 15th: “the Supreme Court let stand an Eleventh Circuit decision granting immunity to a police officer who shot a ten-year-old child in the back of the knee, while repeatedly attempting to shoot a pet dog that wasn’t threatening anyone.” The officer who had been accused in that particular case, Corbitt v. Vickers, was Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers, of Coffee County, Georgia. He had been chasing a suspect, who happened to cross into the yard of Amy Corbitt, who at that time happened to be chatting with another adult, Damion Stewart. One of her children was referred to in the case as “SDC.” Here is how the lower court ruling stated the incident:

At some point after Vickers and the other officers entered Corbitt’s yard, the officers “demanded all persons in the area, including the children, to get down on the ground.” An officer handcuffed Stewart and placed a gun at his back. …  Then, “while the children were lying on the ground obeying [Vickers’s] orders … without necessity or any immediate threat or cause, [Vickers] discharged his firearm at the family pet named ‘Bruce’ twice.” The first shot missed, and Bruce (a dog) temporarily retreated under Corbitt’s home. No other efforts were made to restrain or subdue the dog, and no one appeared threatened by him. Eight or ten seconds after Vickers fired the first shot, the dog reappeared and was “approaching his owners,” when Vickers fired a second shot at the dog. This shot also missed the dog, but the bullet struck SDC in the back of his right knee.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers. The case against Vickers was one in a batch of eight throughout the country challenging the existing court-precedent of “qualified immunity,” and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling dismissed all of them (“certeriori denied”) for the same reason: “qualified immunity” stands as-is — is valid as-is. (“Certeriori denied” means that at least five of the nine ‘Justices’ were satisfied with the existing legal precedents on the matter and with the appeals court’s application of those precedents to the given case — so: nothing gets changed. In this batch of 8 cases, 8 ‘Justices’ voted against accepting any of these 8 cases.) In each one of these cases, the appeals court had ruled in favor of the police officer, on the basis of his “qualified immunity.” And, so, 8 members of this Supreme Court approved of that. In other words: no matter how bad a police officer is, he has this legal immunity, and the only recourse that might be even possible is to reassign or maybe even fire him, if the Police Department decides to do so. Police officers are above the law, but they can be fired in some circumstances.

Here is how the Rutherford Institute, which backed all of these cases against the officers, phrased the officers’ argument in one of these cases:

Qualified immunity shielded the defendants’ actions from liability because Petitioner could not point to any factually identical case clearly establishing that law enforcement officials exceeded the scope of Petitioner’s consent to enter her home when they essentially destroyed her home. That reasoning sets an impossible standard. Because courts are free to advance to the ‘clearly established’ prong of the qualified immunity inquiry without first deciding threshold constitutional questions, it is unlikely that a body of case law with closely analogous factual circumstances will ever develop.

In other words: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that unless Congress will pass a new law which will specifically apply the 4th and the 14th Amendments so as to enable prosecution of law-enforcement officers who do the specific listed sorts of things that unequivocally are identified in such new statutes as being prohibited under those Amendments, America’s law-enforcement officers are free to continue doing these sorts of things and to avoid any sort of legal liability for having done them.

Attorney Schweikert headlined on June 15th “The Supreme Court’s Dereliction of Duty on Qualified Immunity”, and he wrote about the Court’s ruling:

It’s impossible to know for sure what motivated the Court to deny all of these petitions. But one possibility is that the Justices were looking closely at developments in Congress — where members of both the House and the Senate have introduced bills that would abolish qualified immunity — and decided to duck the question, hoping to pressure Congress to fix the Court’s mess. It is certainly encouraging that so many legislators have finally turned their attention to qualified immunity. But the mere fact that Congress can fix this mess doesn’t absolve the Supreme Court of its obligation to fix what it broke — the Court conjured qualified immunity out of nothing in the first place, and the Justices had both the authority and responsibility to correct their own blunders, no matter what happens in the legislature.

An evil that was introduced by the U.S. Supreme Court cannot be eliminated by the U.S. Congress and a good President. Nor can it be eliminated by successfully going through the lengthy and arduous process of passing a new Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. No matter what types of actions by law-enforcement officers would be specifically listed in any such new law or new Constitutional Amendment, it would fail. An arbitrary, basically evil, U.S. Supreme Court will always be able to place its imprimatur upon and validate new rationalizations for the police-state that they have been constructing in this country, especially after 9/11. (This particular evil, however, was introduced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967, and has been and remains virtually ignored by the press since then, though it protects police officers in the George Floyd case and all other cases where police injure or kill innocent people. “Black Lives Matter” protesters get the news-coverage, but “qualified immunity” doesn’t, because this is where the rubber really hits the road and the power-structure would really be under threat — and they own the media, and the President, and Congress, who appoint and confirm new members to the U.S. Supreme Court.) 

Congress and the President can’t fix this, even if they wanted to; they can’t fix a problem that they didn’t themselves create; but Congress and the President can condemn and shame the Court — which they never do. Better yet, they can impeach and remove all of the sitting ‘Justices’ and replace them with decent people — such as Carleton Reeves. But each of this Court’s members was placed there by the Congresses, and by the Presidents. It’s an extremely vicious circle, and no part of it can fix other parts of it. (A good example of this is Joe Biden himself, the U.S. Senate’s leading northern segregationist, who also was the head of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, whose approval was needed by each new member of the U.S. Supreme Court. America’s press hides the reality, so that it can continue — they’ve even hidden, from the public, the fact that Biden was the most influential segregationist in the Democratic Party.)

This isn’t a failure ONLY by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is instead an expression of the American system as it now exists, and which failure renders the U.S. Constitution itself almost meaningless, especially as regards the rights of the people and the obligations of federal officials at all levels in the government. There is no accountability; there is only blame. And, as in any authoritarian system, all blame goes downward, and all praise goes upward. That’s the reality. It’s totalitarianism. The U.S. Constitution is by now just a string of words. America’s Founders are dead, gone, and no longer really even an influence. That’s the reality. Pretending otherwise (such as Schweikert does, who urges Congress to pass news laws in order to ‘solve’ this problem) won’t fix anything. Drastic changes are needed. And the American public has proven itself not up to the challenge, still refuses to face the reality. This is system-failure. And the public simply refuses to face it. It’s a nation of myths. There are Republican Party myths, and there are Democratic Party myths, but the worst myths of all are the bipartisan ones, which protect the people in power, of all  Parties. (Ultimately, the people in power in America are its billionaires. In effect, they own the Government.)

Judge Reeves happens to be a black Democrat in Mississippi (appointed in 2010 by the black Democrat, President Obama). He opened his decision by citing, as the reporter Madison Pauly phrased it, “19 killings of Black people at the hands of police before turning to the case before him, which involved a Black man, Clarence Jamison, who was subjected to a lengthy and humiliating traffic stop and search by a white police officer.” However, Reeves’s lengthy decision downplayed the racial aspect of the case before him, and even avoided the racial aspect in each of those 19 earlier cases, which he was citing against “qualified immunity” — the Supreme Court doctrine that Reeves was compelled to apply to the case-at-hand. Being tactful, Reeves didn’t want to overemphasize the fact that “qualified immunity” functions as a new type of Jim Crow law — no law at all, but only invented ‘law’, from the Supreme Court, that violates published statutes and even the U.S. Constitution. And, yet, the only judges who have forcefully dissented from “qualified immunity” are black ones, such as the Democrat Reeves, and the Republican Thomas. They don’t do it on account of their political Party, or even because of their ideology; they do it because they are Black, and because they have suffered or personally know people who suffer from the U.S. Government’s institutionalized (such as at the Supreme Court) racism — of which institutionalized racism, “qualified immunity” is a significant part.

In fact, Justice Reeves’s lengthy ruling is virtually a book about how gradually white racists — first, Democrats in the states of the Confederacy, and then increasingly in both Parties and throughout the entire country — have taken over and made ‘law’ from and by the Supreme Court, whenever the electorate itself isn’t willing to go quite that far into White-supremacy and vote for overtly racist candidates. It’s a brief, but fully documented, book about how the Confederacy has increasingly become the system of Government over the entirety of the United States (such as it is in regard to “qualified immunity” — a nominally non-racial precedent). 

The August 4th ruling by Reeves was well discussed in an article by Matt Agorist, on August 16th, “Federal Judge Makes Radical Move to End Qualified Immunity for Bad Cops, Nationally”. A good description of the “qualified immunity” concept itself is here.

Currently, the phrase “American justice” is simply oxymoronic. Such a thing doesn’t exist, though some people are lucky and therefore think it does.

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Roads and Rails for the U.S.

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For those who expect the newly announced $2 trillion Biden infrastructure program to be a goodbye to potholes and hello to smooth-as-glass expressways, a disappointment is in store.  The largest expenditure by far ($400 billion) is on home/community care, impacting the elderly or disabled.  The $115 billion apportioned to roads and bridges is #4 on the list. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) keeps tabs on our infrastructure and their latest report (2020) gave it an overall grade of C-.  Although bridges worsened, this is a modest improvement on the previous report (2017) when the overall grade was D+.  If $115 billion in spending sounds adequate, one has to remember it costs $27 billion annually for upkeep.

Astounding it might be the backlog in spending for roads and bridges runs at $12 billion annually.  Go back 20 years and we have a quarter trillion shortfall.  Add all the other areas of infrastructure and the ASCE comes up with a $5 trillion total.  It is the gap between what we have been spending and what we need to.  Also one has to bear in mind that neglect worsens condition and increases repair costs. 

One notable example of maintenance is the Forth rail bridge in Scotland.  A crisscross of beams forming three superstructures linked together, it was a sensation when opened in 1890 and now is a UN World Heritage Site.  Spanning 1.5 miles, its upkeep requires a regular coat of paint.  And that it gets.  Rumor has it that when the unobtrusive painters reach the end of their task, it is time to start painting again the end where they began — a permanent job to be sure though new paints might have diminished such prospects.

Biden also proposes $80 billion for railways.  Anyone who has travelled or lived in Europe knows the stark contrast between railroads there and in the U.S.  European high-speed rail networks are growing from the established TGV in France to the new Spanish trains.  Run by RENFE, the national railway, Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) trains run at speeds up to 310 km/h (193 mph)  — a speed that amounts to a convenient overnight trip between Los Angeles and Chicago.

The hugely expensive new tracks needed can be considered a long-term investment in our children’s future.  But it will take courage to contest the well-heeled lobbies of the airplane manufacturers, the airlines and big oil.

If Spain can have high-speed rail and if China already has some 24,000 miles of such track, surely the US too can opt for a system that is convenient for its lack of airport hassle and the hour wasted each way in the journey to or from the city center.  Rail travel not only avoids both but is significantly less polluting.  

Particularly bad, airplane pollution high above (26 to 43 thousand feet) results in greater ozone formation in the troposphere.  In fact airplanes are the principal human cause of ozone formation.

Imagine a comfortable train with space to walk around, a dining car serving freshly cooked food, a lounge car and other conveniences, including a bed for overnight travel; all for a significantly less environmental cost.  When we begin to ask why we in the US do not have the public services taken for granted in other developed countries, perhaps then the politicians might take note.

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Congress and the Biden administration should end FBI immunity overseas

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Image source: U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan

The FBI notably has an extended international presence running 63 offices in select countries overseas. The offices are called “legats” and are situated at the US Embassy in the host country. One of the major reasons for FBI’s international presence is fighting international terrorism.

The FBI legat personnel at the US embassies are fully accredited diplomats enjoying full diplomatic immunity but that poses several questions that are worth asking, such as: how is it possible for law enforcement to be diplomats and is that a good idea, legally speaking?

Police work should not enjoy diplomatic immunity because that opens the door to abuse. Does the FBI’s immunity overseas mean that the FBI attaches can do no wrong in the host country? How do we tackle potential rights infringements and instances of abuse of power by the FBI towards locals in the host country? The DOJ Inspector General and the State Department Inspector General would not accept complaints by foreigners directed at the FBI, so what recourse then could a local citizen have vis-a-vis the FBI legat if local courts are not an option and the Inspector Generals would not look into those cases?

This presents a real legal lacuna and a glitch in US diplomatic immunity that should not exist and should be addressed by Congress and the new Biden administration.

While FBI offices overseas conduct some far from controversial activities, such as training and educational exchanges with local law enforcement, which generally no one would object to, the real question as usual is about surveillance: who calls the shots and who assumes responsibility for potentially abusive surveillance of locals that may infringe upon their rights. It’s an issue that most people in countries with FBI presence around the world are not aware of. The FBI could be running “counter-terrorism” surveillance on you in your own country instead of the local police. And that’s not nothing.

When we hear “cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism”, as recent decades show, there is a great likelihood that the US government is abusing powers and rights, without batting an eyelash. That exposes local citizens around the world to unlawful surveillance without legal recourse. Most people are not even aware that the FBI holds local offices. Why would the FBI be operating instead of the local law enforcement on another country’s territory? That’s not a good look on the whole for the US government.

The legal lacuna is by design. This brings us to the nuts and bolts of the FBI legats’ diplomatic immunity.

Diplomatic immunity is governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, under Chapter III on privileges and immunities. The US is also a state party to the Convention, along with most states around the world. While there could be some variations and disagreements on bilateral basis (including on weather for example one state could be hosted and represented through the embassy of another state in a third state), on the whole there is a universal consensus that the Vienna Convention sets the rules establishing diplomatic immunities and privileges.

Under the Vienna Convention, only top diplomats are given the highest degree of immunity from the law. This means they cannot be handcuffed, arrested, detained, or prosecuted by law enforcement officials of the country in which they’re stationed. Diplomatic immunities and privileges also include things like diplomatic “bags” (with very peculiar cases of what that could entail) and notably, protection and diplomatic immunity for the family of diplomats.

It is a universal consensus that not everyone who works at an Embassy has or should have diplomatic immunity.  Immunity is saved for diplomats whose role has to be protected from the local jurisdiction of the country for a reason. Not all embassy staff should enjoy diplomatic immunity. Granting law enforcement such as the FBI full legal immunity for their actions is bad news.

Only the top officials at an embassy are diplomats with an actual full immunity — and that’s for a reason.

It makes sense why a diplomat negotiating an agreement should not be subjected to local courts’ jurisdiction. But the same doesn’t go for a law enforcement official who acts as a law enforcement official by, for example, requesting unlawful surveillance on a local citizen, in his law enforcement capacity, while thinking of himself as a diplomat and being recognized as such by the law.

Law enforcement personnel are not diplomats. Dealing with extraterritorial jurisdiction cases or international cases is not the same thing as the need for diplomatic immunity. If that was the case, everyone at the export division at the Department if Commerce would have diplomatic immunity for protection from foreign courts, just in case. Some inherent risk in dealing with international cases does not merit diplomatic immunity – otherwise, this would lead to absurdities such as any government official of any country being granted diplomatic immunity for anything internationally related.

The bar for diplomatic immunity is very high and that’s by design based on an international consensus resting upon international law. Simply dealing with international cases does not make a policeman at a foreign embassy a diplomat. If that was the case every policeman investigating an international case would have to become a diplomat, just in case, for protection from the jurisdiction of the involved country in order to avoid legal push-back. That’s clearly unnecessary and legally illogical. Being a staff member at an embassy in a foreign country does not in and of itself necessitate diplomatic immunity, as many embassy staff do not enjoy diplomatic protection. It is neither legally justified nor necessary for the FBI abroad to enjoy diplomatic immunity; this could only open up the function to potential abuse. The FBI’s arbitrary surveillance on locals can have a very real potential for violating the rights of local people.  This is a difference in comparison to actual diplomats. Diplomats do not investigate or run surveillance on locals; they can’t threaten or abuse the rights of local citizens directly, the way that law enforcement can. Lack of legal recourse is a really bad look for the Biden administration and for the US government.

The rationale for diplomatic immunity is that it should not be permitted to arrest top diplomats, who by definition have to be good at representing their own country’s interests in relation to the host state, for being too good at their job once the host state is unhappy with a push back, for example. The Ambassador should not be exposed to or threatened by the risk of an arrest and trial for being in contradiction with the interests of the host state under some local law on treason, for example, because Ambassadors could be running against the interests of the host state, by definition. And that’s contained within the rules of diplomatic relations. It’s contained in the nature of diplomatic work that such contradictions may arise, as each side represents their own country’s interests. Diplomats should not be punished for doing their job. The same doesn’t apply to the FBI legats. Issuing surveillance on local citizens is not the same as representing the US in negotiations. The FBI legats’ functions don’t merit diplomatic immunity and their actions have to be open to challenge in the host country’s jurisdiction.

The FBI immunity legal lacunae is in some ways reminiscent of similar historic parallels, such as the George W. Bush executive order  that US military contractors in Iraq would enjoy full legal immunity from Iraqi courts’ jurisdiction, when they shouldn’t have. At the time, Iraq was a war-torn country without a functioning government, legal system or police forces. But the same principle of unreasonable legal immunity that runs counter international laws is seen even today, across European Union countries hosting legally immune FBI attaches.

Congress and the Biden administration should end FBI immunity overseas. It can be argued that for any local rights infringements, it is the local law enforcement cooperating with the US Embassy that should be held accountable – but that would ignore that the actual request for unlawful surveillance on locals could be coming from the FBI at the Embassy. The crime has to be tackled at the source of request. 

When I reached out to the US Embassy in Bulgaria they did not respond to a request to clarify the justification for the FBI diplomatic immunity in EU countries.

To prevent abuse, Congress and the Biden Administration should remove the diplomatic immunity of the FBI serving overseas.

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Competition and cooperation between China and the United States and the eighth priority

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In mid-March U.S. President Biden held his first press conference since taking office. Speaking about Sino-U.S. relations, Biden said: “I will prevent China from surpassing the United States of America during my term of office”. At the same time, he also stressed that he would not seek to confront China, but to keep up fierce competition between the two countries.

Focusing on competition between major powers is one of the important changes in U.S. foreign policy in recent years. As the strengths of China and the United States draw closer together, the United States increasingly feels that its own ‘hegemony’ is threatened. During Trump’s tenure, the United States has caused a trade war, a technology war, and even a complete disagreement with China in an attempt to curb China’s development momentum and erode Chinese positions.

The expansion of the competitive field and the escalation of the competitive situation have become the hallmarks of Sino-U.S. relations during this period. Although Biden’s policy line has made substantial changes to ‘Trumpism’, it still has much of its predecessor’s legacy with regard to its policy towards China.

The first foreign policy speech made by U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken listed China Challenge as the eighth priority, preceded by:

1) ending the COVID-19 pandemic;

2) overcoming the economic crisis, reviving the economy at home and abroad, as well as and building a more stable and inclusive global economy;

3) renewing democracy;

4) reforming immigration and creating a humane and effective immigration system;

5) rebuilding alliances, revitalising U.S. ties with allies and partners with the system that the military calls force multiplier;

6) tackling climate change and leading a green energy revolution;

7) securing U.S. leadership in technology; and

8) confronting China and managing the greatest geopolitical test of the 21st century, i.e. relations with China, which is the only country with economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to seriously challenge the international system and equilibria.

The eighth medium-term guideline for the national security strategy sees China as an important competitor. These guidelines clearly show that competition still sets the tone in the way President Biden’s Administration’s manages relations with China, as was the case in the previous four-year period.

At a press conference on March 26, 2021, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the above statements were not surprising. It is clear that China and the United States are competing on different interest levels.

The key factor, however, is to compete fairly and justly and to improve oneself. The appeal to the other side is moderation and restraint, not life or death, or a zero-sum game. These words are along the same lines as Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s statement when he spoke about Sino-U.S. relations at a session of the National Congress of People’s Representatives of the People’s Republic of China (the Chinese Parliament). It is not only a response to the U.S. strategy of competition with China, but it also provides a model for the future way in which superpowers should proceed together.

The reality of Sino-U.S. competition is unavoidable, but competition can be divided into benign and vicious. The former is a winning model for “improving oneself and understanding the needs of the other side”.

Since Deng Xiaping’s reforms and opening up to international trade, China has begun its own reconstruction. It has continuously widened the scope for benign competition and has changed its mindset by actively embracing the world’s different political parties and participating in international competition. It has also inspired enthusiasm for innovation and creativity and made progress in various fields.

At the same time, development has also provided ample opportunities for countries around the world and injected growth momentum into the global economy: this is a typical example of China’s good interaction and common development with all countries around the globe.

Conversely, fierce competition means breaking rules and systems and even breaking the demarcation line to prevent or contain the opponent, and this is usually followed by fierce conflicts.

The two World Wars of the last century were extreme examples of violent competition between great powers: the first as a clash between capitalist imperialisms in search of new markets; the second as a result of mistakes made in the peace treaties that ended the Great War, plundering the losers and causing misery, resentment and chauvinistic desires.

In today’s world, competition without respect for the other side has not disappeared from the scene of history. Trump Administration’s frantic anti-China activity over the last four years has not only failed to make the United States ‘great again’, but has caused a linear decline in its national competitiveness, at least according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020 published by the Lausanne-based International Institute for Management Development, which sees the United States dropping from third to tenth place. Besides the fact that its international image has seriously plummeted and Sino-U.S. relations have hit the lowest ebb since the establishment of diplomatic relations. It can clearly be seen that fierce competition will only restrain its promoters and ultimately harm the others, themselves and the international community.

In December 2020 General Mark Alexander Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (a body that brings together the Chiefs of Staff of each branch of the U.S. military and the Head of the National Guard Bureau), said in an interview that ‘great powers must compete. This is the essence of the world’.

There is no problem with this statement: it is not wrong, but it is important to maintain a state of competition and contact between major powers, precisely to ensure that it does not turn into conflicts or wars that are fatal to mankind and the planet as a whole.

The gist of the speech shows that some U.S. elites also believe that China and the United States should adhere to the principle of ‘fighting without breaking each other’. The importance and the overall and strategic nature of Sino-U.S. relations determine that no one can afford the zero-sum game, which is a lose-lose as opposed to a win-win game – hence we need to ensure that competition between the two countries stays on the right track.

Competition between China and the United States can only be fair and based on rules and laws. This is the basic rule of international relations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations as its point of reference.

Regardless of the common interests of China, the United States or peoples in the world, both countries should make this system promote healthy and fair competition, thus turning it into the greatest value of sharing and cooperation.

China’s goal has never been to surpass the United States, but to advance steadily and become better and no longer a prey to imperialism and colonialism as it has been the case since the 19th century, when Great Britain waged the two Opium Wars (1839-1842 – 1856-1860) to have not only the opportunity, but also the right to export drugs to the Middle Empire – hence Great Britain was the first pusher empowered and authorized by the force of its weapons.

Although – by its own good fortune -the United States has never been England, it should not always be thinking of surpassing the others or fearing being overtaken by the others, but should particularly focus on Secretary of State Blinken’s first seven priorities and raise its expectations.

China should show its traditional political wisdom and manage Sino-U.S. relations in accordance with the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, so that Sino-U.S. relations can develop in a healthy and stable way for the good of the whole planet.

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