OPINION / EDITORIAL
To retain leadership, the US should act like a gentleman: Global Times editorial
Published: Mar 26, 2021 09:53 PM
US President Joe Biden answers a question during his first press briefing in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Thursday local time, 64 days after taking office. Biden vowed to invest heavily to ensure America prevails in the race against China. Photo: AFP

US President Joe Biden answers a question during his first press briefing in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Thursday local time, 64 days after taking office. Biden vowed to invest heavily to ensure America prevails in the race against China. Photo: AFP

In his first press conference on Thursday since taking office, US President Joe Biden said that China's goal is "to become the leading country, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world," but he also said, "That's not gonna happen on my watch."

What he meant was that he will not allow it to happen during his tenure. He offered three approaches - increase investment in US technology from the current 0.7 percent of GDP to 2 percent; strengthen relations with US allies; continue to pressure China over human rights.

Since we entered the 21st century, the outside world has given increasing attention to the narrowing gap between the Chinese and US economies. But China has never made "exceeding the US" as its development goals, let alone planning to catch up with the US in the next four years. What China has been doing is to implement each of its Five-Year Plan and long-term agenda and solve its own problems. 

However, the US publicly emphasizes not allowing China to exceed it, and Biden is not the first US president to talk about it. The different scopes of morality of the two countries are clear to the world.

As the narrowing gap of strength between China and the US is a fact which would generate geopolitical impact, it is normal that the ruling elite in both countries have noticed it. It is also understandable that the US does not want China to catch up with it. But what should US policymakers do?

The first point Biden made is correct as it aims to increase the US' own creativity and competitiveness, although it looks like the US is propelled to do so under China's pressure. Would the US invest more in technology without the China factor? And the following two points are directly aimed at suppressing, containing and smearing China. 

China will have no objections to the leading role of the US. It is good if the US could continue to contribute to humanity with more advanced technology and create better productivity. But there is no reason whatsoever for it to keep its leadership by suppressing and jeopardizing the development of other countries. Such an idea is selfish. If the US turns the idea into real action, it would be evil.

If China does not place self-development as the absolute focus, but sees exceeding the US as the ultimate goal, should China spare great energy to impairing the US? That will make it the same for China to develop itself and to undermine the US. But China has never fallen into such a mentality. What China thinks and does is how to accelerate its development. The narrowing gap between China and the US is the result of China's hard work.

By contrast, the US has devoted great energy into how to destroy China. The US political elites lack confidence in their country's development, and do not have the resolve to initiate reforms to reinvigorate the vitality of the US that it used to be proud of. Consequently, they fix their eyes on China, and politicians from the previous administration to the current one all hype that the rotten issues of the US are caused by China. Their objective is to let China lose so that the US continues to lead without making progress. They not only think so, but also try every possible means to realize it.

This is the unprecedented degradation of the US since it became a superpower. This is also the worst approach as the US political elites have been incapable of governing the country, but only resort to geopolitical competition. Its alliances and its defense of the so-called human rights and democracy look moral from outside but are sorcery in essence.

The US is not that bad and it doesn't have to give up itself. The 21st-century US should not turn from a major creator of modern civilization to a destroyer of normal development and competition of humanity, and retain its leadership with plots and conspiracies. We hope the US can always be a gentleman no matter how strong it is.
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