Overshadowed by the Afghanistan crisis, the Border crisis, natural disasters, inflation and the continued attempt to push tribal segregation issues on American society is the problem of what to do about China. The answer in the short run is, nothing can be done about China that the current Congress or Administration is willing to do. However, come January 2023 there may be a lot that can be done to reestablish a balance between China, The U.S. and Russia (which is content to continue running under the radar in pushing its own agenda in the Middle East and Europe having abandoned Asia and Africa to Chinese hegemony.)
I realize that believing politicians will put the country before themselves places me in the category of idealist but here goes. The changes that need to be made are domestic and rest in the hands of Congress and the President. Things like:
A law that allows the USG to profit from intellectual property developed or improved with public funds. The Patent Office could be expanded with a section for the licensing of intellectual property paid for with USG funds whether developed by a university or private research lab. If US money went into the project then US ownership of the property will result. The law would state that only companies wholly based in the US would have the ability to license the IP and that transporting said IP offshore would result in significant fines and loss of US investment in future undertakings. Such a law enforced would produce hundreds of millions of dollars a year in IP licensing fees to the USG thereby reducing the need for certain taxes and providing funding for the entitlement programs some administrations believe are necessary.
Tighten up enforcement of foreign student access to research and development programs in US universities and research labs.
A law that prohibits any proprietary IP from going off shore for manufacturing purposes. In other words if China requires the IP be shared in order to manufacture something in country then you have to find another place to manufacture the product. Put penitentiary penalties into laws regarding transfer of information to foreign entities.
Require a stricter process for off shore hiring under H and J Visas requiring employers to submit the resumes of US citizens who applied and were qualified for the positions but not hired. Apply stiffer penalties to violation of these requirements.
Establish a better student tracking mechanism requiring semi-annual check-ins of foreign students with immigration offices. This can be done using biometric devices on computer terminals that go through the appropriate college or university at which the student is engaged. Require better security programs on campus to ensure foreign students are not exposed to proprietary research programs and be more aggressive in doing background investigations into students who are part of such programs referencing their contact with foreign students on campus.
Require temporary visa holders in the US to leave the country to apply for a visa adjustment. That is, if a F visa holder wants to be a J then they must leave the country and reenter if their J is approved. This makes the process fairer and prevents abuse of the system.
Establish a Counterintelligence/Counterespionage Agency with sworn officers( a sworn officer is someone who has the authority to carry out arrest warrants) experienced in actual espionage operations to investigate both government and commercial espionage. Remove this responsibility from the FBI which has proven less than effective over the years. This agency would also be charged with investigating offshore transfer of intellectual property as well as investigating foreign entity activity in the US, to include contributions to organizations that impact social or political institutions.
Create a much larger financial crimes investigation section in the FBI and provide the Department of Justice a greater number of attorneys to investigate and prosecute financial crime.
A trade act that is tit for tat: any restriction or tariff on US goods or services exported to another country will be mirrored in imports from that country arriving in the US.
Establish an essential resources board that will plan for US essential materials to be stockpiled as well as providing agreements and secure routes of transfer for off-shore materials during crisis periods.
Remove the Presidential bans on hydrocarbon fuels and the acquisition thereof.
Empower a civilian panel to review all, yes all, laws currently on the books and provide a list to Congress so it may remove outdated and unnecessary laws.
Rewrite the tax code with the emphasis being on the USG making money rather than taxing individuals. Consider a flat tax on income above a designated cutoff with no deductions for anything and income being defined as any real property, service or other emolument which can be valued under the current exchange system. A tax of this nature would bring in more revenue than the current progressive tax structure does while still allowing for investment and would actually result in larger payments by “the rich” than are being made now. Such simplification will be resisted by tax attorneys and law firms but it is time we concentrated on an actually fair system of taxes instead of the current full of holes ramshackle arrangement we have allowed to develop over the last hundred years.
The point behind these ideas is: in order to play in the international arena you must have your own house in order and these ideas will strengthen the US significantly by making it financially more stable and less subject to covert and overt foreign interference . People will moan that these are difficult things to do but, in reality they are not. They are simply difficult because the politicians tell us they are. The key is having the “Will” to do something practical.