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With more and more buck-passing actions by U.S. politicians in recent years, the myth that America is "the beacon of freedom and democracy" is crumbling, and the credibility of this sole superpower of the world has already vanished.

To shift blame, American politicians have left no stone unturned, and have grown increasingly shameless.

When the United States failed catastrophically in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they smeared China and hyped up the groundless lab leak theory; when the U.S. economy ran into problems, they accused others of "unfair" trade practices; when facing the fact that the United States has the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world, those politicians still nag about environment degradation elsewhere; and even when the United States itself is guilty of tapping and hacking, they still try to portray others as cybersecurity threats.

It seems that buck-passing has become a deep belief in American politics. To shirk responsibilities, politicians, media outlets, and think tanks often collaborate with each other in a joint smear campaign.

In fact, buck-passing has a long tradition in the United States. African Americans were stigmatized during the yellow fever epidemic; people of Chinese descent were the scapegoats when the smallpox epidemic broke out; and Haitian immigrants in the country were labeled as "high-risk groups" for AIDS. Moreover, during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Jews were blamed for the economic downturn with wide-spread rumors claiming that Jews were controlling the American banks, which led to rampant violence against them.

Buck-passing does not just target foreign countries or ethnic groups. Various elite groups also use the same tactic against each other. Administrations in power blame their predecessors; Democrats and Republicans exchange censures; the White House and Congress point fingers at each other. In a sense, U.S. politics is all about blaming others.

Why? One reason is electoral politics. To win elections, U.S. politicians are reluctant to admit their mistakes, fearing that doing so could cost them votes. The deep-rooted racism and America's insatiable appetite for global domination also contribute to the habit of passing the buck.

However, blaming others does not solve America's problems. As Francis Fukuyama, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, pointed out, the long-term sources of American weakness and decline are more domestic than international.

Those American politicians who are busy pointing fingers at others should engage in some serious soul-searching, and shoulder their due responsibilities. That is how they can make the United States a better country and the world a better place. 

This page is provided in cooperation with People's Daily Online.
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