‘We were wrong’: Illinois Democrat says U.S. must shed outdated assumptions, look inward
- The U.S. must invest in bringing manufacturing and innovation back to America.
- Bolstering the U.S. workforce for the jobs of the future requires ramping up K-12 STEM education.
- Dialogue with China remains an important and valuable diplomatic tool.
When the U.S. normalized trade relations with China more than two decades ago, it made a grave error: believing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would follow through on its policy promises, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) said during an event hosted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Hopkins Bloomberg Center on Nov. 13.
“We were wrong,” said Krishnamoorthi, who serves as ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. “We cannot be wrong any longer.”
The list of grievances against China has only grown in recent years. Krishnamoorthi noted that the country routinely and repeatedly violates everything from intellectual property rights to fair trade practices and human rights, all while undertaking a military buildup that threatens Taiwan and U.S. allies in the South China Sea. This complete disregard for global policies and norms requires that the U.S. rethink how it competes with China, which represents one of the greatest challenges facing our nation today, he said.
“We must move forward from our outdated assumptions about the CCP and up our own game by leaning into our strengths and undertaking a radical revitalization of America,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We can only outcompete the CCP by being the best versions of ourselves.”
“America’s competition with the CCP is not a game. It’s a contest over competing values, economic models and visions for the world, which have real concrete impacts on our daily lives. It’s a contest that we and people around the world cannot lose.”– U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
To do that, Krishnamoorthi called for investing in K-12 STEM education, training the U.S. workforce for the jobs of the future, fixing the immigration system to bring the best and brightest minds to America, dominating the manufacturing of emergency technologies like AI, autonomous vehicles, and lifesaving medicines, and cooperating with friendly nations to ensure that the U.S. and its top allies take the lead in the innovations that increasingly power the world. He also called for aggressively using trade policy to fight back against rampant hacking and intellectual property theft and remembering that one of America’s greatest strengths is the freedom to question U.S. leaders on the country’s direction.
“That is the secret sauce of America—the freedom to question and to change course when we’ve made mistakes,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean we should sever all ties with China, Krishnamoorthi said. That dialogue—including President Biden’s meeting with President Xi Jinping late this week—remains valuable in urging the country to turn away from its aggressive path. Even so, he added, we cannot be naive and must assume China will stay on its current path, which represents a threat we must face head-on.
“America’s competition with the CCP is not a game. It’s a contest over competing values, economic models and visions for the world, which have real concrete impacts on our daily lives. It’s a contest that we and people around the world cannot lose,” Krishnamoorthi said. “If we move forward, clear-eyed and confident, I have absolutely no doubt we will win this competition.”