Blinken urges investment at home to compete with China

Blinken urges investment at home to compete with China

Blinken cited a World Economic Forum study that the United States ranks 13th in infrastructure and said that China was spending three times as much

US President Joe Biden. Credit: Reuters File Photo

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the United States needed to invest more at home to compete with rivals led by China, casting "domestic renewal" as key to foreign policy.

The top US diplomat's speech reflects what President Joe Biden's administration calls a "foreign policy for the middle class" with a focus on competitiveness at home and abroad and a winding down of costly military commitments.

Blinken toured an engineering laboratory at the University of Maryland on the outskirts of Washington where noisy 3D printers churned out prototypes for new products.

"The Chinese and Russian governments, among others, are making the argument in public and in private that the United States is in decline so it's better to cast your lot with their authoritarian visions for the world than with our democratic one," Blinken said at the university's Advanced Fabrication Lab.

"Nothing would put to rest faster their specious argument about America's best days being behind us than if the United States made serious investments in our domestic renewal right now," he said.

Blinken cited a World Economic Forum study that the United States ranks 13th in infrastructure and said that China was spending three times as much and also investing more in research and development.

Blinken described China -- identified by the Biden administration as the pre-eminent long-term challenge of the United States -- as a "rising power" but said that challenges on competitiveness came from multiple countries.

The top US diplomat nonetheless said the United States remained "the most powerful country and economy in the world," pointing to its long history of inventions and how international students remain drawn to US universities.

"We want always to be the place that represents opportunity, possibility, achievement. Investing in our domestic renewal now means that we can continue to be that beacon to the world," Blinken said.

Blinken's remarks come before the US Senate is expected to approve a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, a major priority for Biden that will build bridges, roads and an electric car network while improving drinking water and high-speed internet across the country.

Biden has ordered an end this month to the 20-year US war in Afghanistan, which according to Brown University's Costs of War Project has cost the United States more than $2.2 trillion.

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