BIG IDEA | ‘Look, do we think the rest of world is waiting around? Take a look. Do you think China is waiting around to invest in this digital infrastructure or in research and development?’
As I have pointed out before, if you rely on reports of President Biden’s comments on the American Jobs Plan - such as ‘Joe Biden says his US$2.3 trillion infrastructure plan is essential for US to compete with China’ in the South China Morning Post,’ or ‘Biden plays the China card’ in Politico, or the Chinese essay laid out in the post below – you would think that Mr. Biden is using China as his main point for selling the plan.
- He is not.
Below are his remarks from April 7.
- China is mentioned twice.
The balance and greatest portions are arguments about how the Plan benefits the middle class, with statements like this.
- ‘As I said last week, this is a blue-collar blueprint for increasing opportunity for the American people.’
By not making it the main point, Mr. Biden doesn’t increase the demonization of China and gives himself a little more room on China policy overall.
- That must take a lot of discipline because scaring the bejeezus out of everyone is the surest path to success.
‘I promise you — this is not part of my speech — but I promise you, you’re all going to be reporting over the next six to eight months how China and the rest of the world is racing ahead of us in the investments they have in the future, attempting to own the future.’
- ‘The technology, quantum computing, investing significant amounts of money and dealing with cancer and Alzheimer’s — that’s the infrastructure of a nation.’
‘Look, do we think the rest of world is waiting around?’
- ‘ “We’re not going to make those kinds of investments,” the rest of the world is saying.’
- ‘Take a look. Do you think China is waiting around to invest in this digital infrastructure or in research and development?’
- ‘I promise you, they are not waiting, but they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited, and too divided to keep pace.
Less emphasized than his few comments about China are the importance of demonstrating that democracies can still actually get things done.
- This to counter the assertions by China that the superiority of its political system is precisely that: It delivers.
‘You’ve heard me say it before: I think this generation is going to be marked by the competition between democracies and autocracies, because the world is changing so rapidly.’
- ‘The autocrats are betting on democracy not being able to generate the kind of unity needed to make decisions to get in that race. We can’t afford to prove them right.’
- ‘We have to show the world — and much more importantly, we have to show ourselves — that democracy works; that we can come together on the big things. It’s the United States of America for God’s sake.’