Biden’s Political Persecution of Trump Damages the U.S. and Aids the PRC

A fundamental aspect of American politics is that it is simultaneously domestic and international. Domestic events impact international ones, and vice versa. What happens within the U.S. also reaches global audiences. In that light, the civil and criminal trials in New York City in Judge Arthur Engoron’s and Juan Merchan’s courtrooms of former President Donald Trump have a world impact, as do the trials in Fulton County, Georgia, and by the Special Counsel for Trump Inquires, Jack Smith, in Washington, D.C., and Florida. While Trump’s trials have multifaceted domestic political effects which will play out to election day on November 5, 2024, these events also have myriad and adverse international implications.

While the current trial, which is based on charges brought by New York City prosecutor Alvin Bragg, is another seemingly wholly domestic event, it also has major international consequences for U.S. global interests, its allies and partners, and its enemy, the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Trump’s persecution clearly hurts him and his family, his voters and other supporters, the U.S. political system and political culture, and the U.S. as a constitutional republic. The unconstitutional gag order Judge Merchan has imposed on Trump and the requirement that Trump remain in the courtroom during the trial are powerful fetters on the presumptive Republican nominee for president. They are also a gross violation of his constitutional rights and those of the American people.

In truth, a Rubicon has been crossed in U.S. politics from which the U.S. will have great difficulty restoring the status quo, if it is able to do so. In the international realm, these actions will have an equally profound effect. They embolden Communist dictator Xi Jinping and weaken the U.S.’s standing in the world, as well as Washington’s relationships with its allies in the Indo-Pacific. Here is how it happens:

Historically, the U.S. has been a valuable ally for three reasons. First, due to its power, it possesses the military, diplomatic, and economic might to advance the interests of allies and partners for security and prosperity. The credibility of that power is being eroded by the unprecedented actions against a political opponent of the current administration.

Second, the U.S. is also respected and prized as an ally due to the health of the U.S. political system as a constitutional republic. Global allies and partners understand the U.S. has been a reliable ally since it entered World War II in 1941. To be sure, at times of domestic political turmoil, U.S. credibility has waned. President Richard Nixon’s fall due to Watergate emboldened the PRC in 1974 to conquer from South Vietnam all of the Paracel Islands. A year later, it did the same for North Vietnam. Hanoi knew that the U.S. was paralyzed by the U.S. Congress, so it could conquer South Vietnam without fear of U.S. intervention to save Saigon. But the U.S. recovered from its difficulties and its faith and confidence were restored with President Reagan.

Third, the U.S. is an example to the world due to its political ideology of liberalism and stable political culture. The Washington Consensus model of democratic governance, free market capitalism, and low levels of political and economic corruption serves as the template for developing states to follow, unites allied governments, and distinguishes the U.S. from its adversaries. Washington’s model for the world demonstrates that states can be democratic, prosperous, and stable. All of which provide better allies for the U.S. and better protection for freedom and human rights.

Unfortunately, the actions by the Biden administration are feeding the PRC’s propaganda narrative of the “Beijing Consensus” that the PRC’s tyrannical ideology is superior to what they portray as the chaos, hypocrisy, and lack of genuine democracy in the current U.S. political system.

Consequently, how the U.S. conducts itself is important for the values that the country projects but also as an international political lodestar and the future for which it must fight in the fundamental struggle of the 21st century with the PRC, which should be between freedom and tyranny. Credibility in the U.S. is a force multiplier in the political warfare with the PRC. Thus, as it did during the Cold War, the world has been presented with two competing ideologies and worldviews—that distinction has been blurred by the unconstitutional actions of this administration.

Although these political warfare considerations in the Cold War with the PRC were probably far from the minds of those who authorized the raid on Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 and the many New York, Georgia, and federal trials, they were the focus of the domestic political warfare waged against President Trump. These acts have actually weakened that distinction and violated American principles and history. While the world expects that the PRC’s dictator Xi will employ every means against his domestic political enemies, the U.S. is different—or at least it was and should be different. American political culture has heretofore never allowed presidents to raid their political enemies, particularly a former and possible future president. Nor has it permitted indicting them, trying them, or invoking an unconstitutional gag order on a former president and leading presidential candidate. Those who came close to violating this understanding, however indirectly, like Nixon’s cover-up after the Watergate break-in, were disgraced and hounded from office.

The historical precedent and political culture of the United States forbade such an act. Now, because of this rogue Biden administration, it is possible. U.S. political principles and culture have been eroded, and the U.S. now stands much closer to Beijing than it did before. The distinction between the political systems and their respective claims to global leadership is not as stark as before. Through the raid on a former president, indictments, trials, and gag orders, the Biden administration has weakened the political stability of the United States and opened a path to totalitarianism. That should shock all Americans into understanding the risks the country faces.

American politics is on a dangerous slippery slope. History contains an important lesson. When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, they did not know how far they could push the Russian people. Every year, they tightened their grip until they crushed the people in the horrors of Stalinism. Similarly today, the raids, indictments, trials, and gag orders for a former president and leading 2024 candidate demonstrate that the constitutional rights of the most prominent political figure in American politics in this century can have his rights violated, so too can all Americans. The only defense ordinary Americans have is the Constitution and a legal and political system that respects it—or at least is compelled to respect the constitutional rights of Americans.

Seen through the prism of the current Cold War with the PRC, the Biden Administration has handed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) a weapon to be used to expand its influence in international politics as well as to challenge the position and legitimacy of liberal democracy in the minds of the American people, the Chinese people, and others around the world.

The great strength of the U.S. in its competition with the PRC is that its ideology, political culture and values, rule of law, and respect for human rights stand in direct contrast to the odious and repressive regime of the CCP. No administration should be allowed to jeopardize the sanctity of the U.S. as a constitutional republic, U.S. political values, and the tools Washington needs to defeat the PRC in political warfare. The Biden administration has and is jeopardizing the political system of the United States. Biden just gave the CCP an unearned and undeserved victory in the political warfare fight. The raids, indictments, and trials of Trump now have a life and legacy in global politics, to the detriment of the U.S. and its allies in the struggle against the PRC. This will only worsen unless the American people reject this aberration of Americanism.

James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer are authors of Embracing Communist China:  America’s Greatest Strategic Failure.


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About James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer

James Fanell is a government fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy and a former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Bradley A. Thayer is a Founding Member of the Committee on Present Danger China and the coauthor with Lianchao Han of Understanding the China Threat.

Photo: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 3: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 3, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges. (Photo by Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. Messer’s Fanell and Thayer assume a traditional mindset when discussing the geo-political ramifications of the political persecution of Donald Trump by the neo-Marxist junta in DC, led by Hussein Obama, but nominally fronted by the deeply corrupt, dementia-ridden sock-puppet resident of the White House, Joe Biden.

    First, it has always been the goal of the Luciferian Obama to diminish American world standing, both politically and economically. If enemies of the US are emboldened by the outrageous lawfare campaign against PDJT, then it is most certainly a feature, not a bug–it is quite intentional.

    Second, the removal (and vilification) of political opposition is a cornerstone of Marxist ascension to power. And the means by which that power is accrued and consolidated is only constrained by imagination and resources: there are no moral, legal and ethical constraints to the attainment of power. The neo-Marxist Obama is keenly aware of his Marxist history.

    Moreover, in the calculation of the deeply anti-American Obama, the weakening leadership role of the US is a bonus. And this mindset is salted throughout the hierarchy of the federal government, and even accepted within the foreign policy community. This movement away from traditional notions of US power and prestige began in 2008 when Obama helped initiate the ascension of anti-American leftist radicals throughout the Democrat party, the federal government and the satellite NGO community.

    Consequently, any appeals to fairness, decency or even supposedly shared goals of US prominence and authority fall on deaf ears; leftists despise this country and gleefully wish to see its downfall.

    The American people have still not awakened to the horror and evil that rules from DC, but resides in the power centers of the coasts. We are still thinking in the traditional terms of Messer’s Fanell and Thayer–a luxury of thought that will be the death of this country if not changed.

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