Recently, a book called “American Trap” caused a stir in multinational media and academic circles including India. The author of the book is Frederic Pierucci, a former executive of Alstom, France, and the original French version is now translated into multiple languages. The author believes that the main reason is that the theme of this book touches the sensitive heart of the global business community.
The world of business and business circles around the world often complains about the difficult struggles with successive US governments: the United States punishes foreign citizens with domestic law, even if the case is not within US jurisdiction. In recent years, this trend has accelerated and become part of the current White House “US priority” policy. The core of this policy is the uniqueness of the US “exceptionalism”.
The United States undermines its self-righteous standards of conduct (especially corruption and/or violations of US sanctions), pressures foreign companies and their executives to submit, and imposes rigorous unilateral punishment. This practice has been a major controversy between successive US governments and other rising powers. Russia, China and India, as well as other countries, have repeatedly opposed the United States as a world police to implement “unilateralism” and “misleading” sanctions and bullying. However, the United States still relies on its domestic laws, not only to punish target entities, but is also commonplace to destroy or take over its rivals in the commercial and defense sectors.
In the case of implementing the “long arm jurisdiction” through domestic law, we can see the kind disclosed in the book “American Trap”. The United States first detains foreign enterprise executives and then “dismembers” or helps American companies step by step. The acquisition of competitive foreign companies; on the other hand, the United States has also unscrupulously arrested foreign leaders in the name of maintaining regional order and law, and conducted trials in US courts.
Such behavior has not stopped. In recent years, the US Congress is still promoting the adoption of several laws seeking overseas law enforcement. The United States has become a “neighbor to each country” through global military deployment, and has resorted to various laws to seek to cover this hegemony in business and technology. We can see that since the McMahon Act of 1946, the United States has banned any sharing of nuclear technology, and even allies do not. It is important to know that scientists from allies have made a significant contribution to the famous “Manhattan Project”, which made the United States the most powerful country in the victory of World War II. In 1978, the US Congress passed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, prohibiting the transfer of any sensitive military-civilian dual-use technology to non-nuclear-weapon states. The latter cannot conduct any research and development on the ground that is suspected of manufacturing nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.
In dealing with commercial opponents, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act introduced by the United States in 1977 provided a basis for the “long-arm jurisdiction” for combating the so-called “overseas corruption cases.” The condition is that as long as the transaction is conducted through the US dollar, or the relevant communication is completed through the US server to send and receive mail.
Since Trump came to power in 2017, the United States has gradually withdrawn from several international agreements or international organizations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement, and even the UN Human Rights Commission. Moreover, Trump’s “strong buy and sell” at several internal summits of allies has made his reputation outside. Because the US government believes that “the whole world is deceiving the United States through unfair trade,” this has led the White House to impose tariffs on many countries around the world regardless of opposition. However, such behaviors and strategies may make the US’s global discourse dominant power increasingly weak.
The same is true from the US. A country that protects “life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness” has consistently accused China of violating intellectual property rights and levying large-scale arbitrage on China’s exports to the United States, leaving American consumers to face the bitter consequences of rising prices. The growing disconnect between American leaders and their internal and external environments has become an important topic for discussion among American scholars and more international scholars.
From now on, the United States may not directly put a “trap” on Indian companies like the Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE. There are two main reasons: First, Indian companies have not yet created enough strategic challenges for US interests. Because the starting point of the “long arm jurisdiction” action by the relevant US government departments is to protect the US “commercial interests” from the competitive enterprises of other countries. Some Chinese companies have become the world leader in the telecommunications industry, so the United States believes it is necessary to take this measure. France’s Alstom also fell into the “American trap.”
Second, India often succumbs to US pressure, which can be reflected in New Delhi’s growing reluctance to open to Chinese companies in 5G construction. These moves by the Indian side are often exchanged for the harsh accusations that India can be exempted from the United States. For example, on the issue of purchasing Russian S-400 missiles, the United States applies the different attitudes toward India and Turkey in the “Counter against the United States Enforcement Act on Sanctions” in 2017, which is the most obvious case. However, this “bias” that India receives will certainly cost.