Police-State Tactics Are Costing America The Global Moral High Ground

The Justice Department’s most recent indictment of former President Donald Trump has generated widespread outcry about the grievous nature of the sitting president’s administration targeting his political rival. The agency’s ongoing legal jihad against Trump means that federal officials have not only interfered in the past two presidential elections, but that they’re actively interfering in the next one as well.

Egregious as it all may be, these are just some of the many instances of the U.S. government’s war on Americans’ civil liberties. In recent years, federal officials have been busted for colluding with Big Tech platforms to censor free speech, targeting pro-lifers, parents, and Catholics, and using Covid-19 as an excuse to orchestrate the greatest state-sponsored assault on American freedoms in the modern era, just to name a few.

The sad irony found in all of this is that leading U.S. officials regularly criticize other countries for engaging in many of these same or similar behaviors. Last year, for instance, the U.S. was quick to condemn the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin who was convicted of “fraud” charges by government officials and was barred in 2017 from running in the nation’s elections. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement in March 2021 criticizing the Chinese government for interfering in Hong Kong’s elections to benefit pro-China candidates.

None of this is to suggest the levels of persecution being committed by these countries and the U.S. against their respective peoples are equivalent. Rather, it’s to highlight the risk to America’s international reputation if our nation continues its embrace of these police-state tactics.

After all, what sane country is going to take U.S. concerns about “human rights violations” seriously if our government is treating its citizens like those of banana republics? Any American criticisms of what the Chinese or Russian governments are doing to their people would fall on deaf ears.

In fact, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have already taken to distorting U.S. internal matters to try and gain the moral high ground during diplomatic exchanges with the United States. Shortly after Joe Biden took office, for example, the CCP and U.S. officials led by Blinken met in Alaska to discuss a myriad of issues, including human rights.

In response to Blinken raising concerns about China’s ongoing persecution of Uyghurs, the CCP delegation fired back by accusing the U.S. of committing atrocities against its own people, specifically referencing Democrats’ embrace of Black Lives Matter activism in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent “summer of love” riots.

“The fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well,” the CCP’s head of foreign affairs Yang Jiechi said. “The challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated.”

How are Blinken and company supposed to respond to that when the Biden administration has espoused the exact same sentiments? Any denial of these accusations or a full-throated defense of the U.S. would expose them as the race-baiting frauds they are.

And equally pressing: What’s to stop these same CCP officials from invoking any one of the many actual abuses the U.S. government has committed in recent years to distract from or even justify their government’s use of similar tactics against Chinese civilians? What’s to stop officials from any despotic government from doing so, for that matter?

While Americans slowly realize how increasingly authoritarian our government has become, that reality certainly hasn’t slipped by the world’s most despotic nations. Continued failure to uphold the principles that made it the world’s shining city on a hill will destroy not only the very foundations of the American republic, but our credibility throughout the world.


Shawn Fleetwood is a staff writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He previously served as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood

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