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Remarks unbefitting of a commerce secretary: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-04 20:07
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US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo speaks at the "Senior Chinese Leader Event" held by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, California, US, Nov 15, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

Showing the extent to which Washington and the Joe Biden administration have lost the plot, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a speech on Saturday exposed how the country's makers and shapers of policy are fueling and manipulating the pervading sense of paranoia in the country to support their zero-sum, burn-it-all approach to global affairs.

Defense means to resist attack; national security means to safeguard a nation against threats; commerce is about large-scale buying and selling, to the benefit, it should be added, of both buyer and seller.

Yet in her incongruous appearance at the Reagan Defense Forum, which describes itself as the nation's premier defense forum — where "key stakeholders come together to address the health of (the country's) national defense and to promote policies to strengthen the US military" — Raimondo delivered a speech that calculatedly conflated the three.

Pitching for more funding from the US Congress for the Bureau of Industry and Security, which handles export controls, she said "It needs to be funded so we can do what we need to do to protect America."

Based on her remarks that seems to be more "washing powder" threats to the US.

Although serving as the US commerce secretary, Raimondo's remarks were more befitting of a general trying to drum up more money for her forces by scaring the populace of a citadel with wild surmises about a barbarian horde that will soon be at the gate.

Such scaremongering is nothing new in the US, as its economy is so dependent on the military-industrial complex. One threat after another has to be fabricated to feed the insatiable beast that has been created. This time the menu masters seem to have hit pay dirt as China's rapid economic growth and technological progress are ready gist for scuttlebutting like Raimondo's.

"The most high-end computer semiconductors, we have in America, they don't have, and those are the chips that run and train AI models that the PLA would want to operate into their military," Raimondo told Defense News. "If we can deny them the chips they can't run the models, then they can't use that to advance their military capability. We cannot let China get these chips. Period," she said. "This is the biggest threat we've ever had and we need to meet the moment."

It's like some B-movie from the 1950s. China may be a competitor to the US' tech leadership in some areas, but it is not an existential threat to the US whatever susceptible minds coddled in Cold War mumbo jumbo are willing to believe to the contrary.

China seeks to develop and modernize. The US doesn't want it to as that would mean a loss of privileges. But the US' chip attacks aimed at stymieing China's technological progress will prove futile in the end.

It's the 4.7 million science and engineering graduates every year, from whom emerge tens of hundreds of scientists and engineers that lay the foundation for the advancement of China's research and development. Technology is all about talent, and China is paying increasingly more attention to its talents, which is what the US should pay attention to if it wants to retain its competitive edge.

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