Another round of kowtowing.
Via Stephen Yates at Fox News:
The sun has set on Chinese President Hu Jintao’s long sought-after state visit to the United States. President Hu moves on to Chicago before returning to China, but he appears to have successfully navigated the main event in Washington.
President Hu came to Washington with relatively limited objectives. He wanted symbolism of a full state visit to demonstrate to others in China that he was able to command no less diplomatic deference from the U.S. than his predecessor received. He also aimed to blunt or avoid criticism of China’s performance on human rights, economic, and national security affairs. Beyond this he sought to make no meaningful concession or take on any added responsibility.
Mission accomplished. A tried-and-true formula did its magic again. Promises to ease on currency, get tough on North Korea and Iran, well-crafted words on human rights, and of course a buying mission are all it takes for the Washington foreign policy establishment to suspend disbelief and forget that no meaningful action has been taken. And, sadly, reasonable people should not expect much to change now that the celebration is over.
I might be understood if this was America’s first time at bat in this game. Unfortunately President Obama has company when it comes to presidents who thought they got something from China by rolling out the red carpet.
The dinner guests were served wine at $399 a bottle.
At least the GOP had the guts to snub the whole disgusting farce.
Just prior to his visit, Jintao announced the disintegration of the U.S. dollar:
……he called the present U.S. dollar-dominated currency system a “product of the past” and highlighted moves to turn the yuan into a global currency.
At the press conference, Jintao played dumb on questions about China’s human rights abuses:
Associated Press reporter Bob Feller asked the first question on human rights — “Could you explain to the American people how the United States could be so allied with a country that is known for treating its people so poorly, using censorship and force to oppress its people?” — which Hu pretended he had a hard time hearing.
Hans Nichols from Bloomberg pressed Hu on human rights in a second, followup question – which the Chinese leader also tried to pass off, saying he thought it was intended for Obama. Nichols asked: “How do you justify China’s record and do you think that’s any of the business of the American people?”
Obama jumped in to answer the question to give Hu some diplomatic assistance and he acknowledged differences on human rights were “an occasional source of tension between our two governments” but said, “We have some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly.”
Obama also claimed he drove home points on human rights with the Chinese leader but added the disagreement “doesn’t prevent us from cooperating in these other critical areas.”
While Obama fed the maws of China’s ego:
“We welcome China’s rise,” Mr. Obama said at a press conference at the White House with Chinese President Hu Jintao. “I absolutely believe that China’s peaceful rise is good for the world, and it’s good for America.”
Except that China’s rise is neither peaceful nor good. It engages in cyber attacks, spying, economic espionage, and threatening U.S. Naval vessels.
All in all, it was just another diplomatic dog and pony show.
As I’ve said before, there are different schools of thought about the real China. Some assert that Bejing cooks the financial books:
Listening to the media, you’d think Chinese President Hu Jintao’s U.S. trip is nothing less than a symbolic transfer of world leadership from an America in decline to a China in ascendancy. Not by a long shot.
China’s economy on a per-person basis — the real measure of success — doesn’t even come close to ours. The average American produces over $42,000 a year in goods and services; the average Chinese produces $2,800. That’s an enormous gap in productivity.
Moreover, in its recent rankings of economic freedom, the Heritage Foundation put China 135th out of 179 countries. The U.S., even with all its current problems, ranks ninth. Who’s the leader?
Citizens in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai live a privileged existence, well-documented by the Western media. Deep inside rural China, however, hundreds of millions live in near-absolute poverty. This isn’t a country ready for global economic leadership.
Economic studies also point at China’s internal problems:
……the number of poor remains high, with China being home to the world’s second largest number of poor in any country (after India).
……Income inequality has increased significantly and China is no longer the low-inequality country it used to be a quarter century ago. The urban-rural income gap has grown and inequality within both rural and urban areas has increased.
……Disparities in other aspects of human development remain and in some cases have grown. Because of marketization of public services, incomes matter more now for access to health and education than they used to, and the burden of health and education expenditures has increased for households.
……rising strikes over pay and protests over government policies and corruption suggest some flaws in China’s top-down model. Rising social unrest as well as political and economic challenges could upend the country’s growth miracle in the not-too-distant future, according to some executives and China experts.
Massive social turmoil and violence aren’t that far back in China’s rearview mirror.
“In thinking about China’s future, we should bear in mind that its modern past includes numerous failures,” said Harvard University researcher Ross Terrill, author of several noted books on China.
The crackdown on student protestors in Tiananmen Square took place just 21 years ago. The Cultural Revolution, in which millions died, raged as recently as the 1960s. Millions more perished in the forced collectivization of Chinese agriculture during Mao’s Great Leap Forward of the 1950s. China’s history for thousands of years has also been marked by the cyclical rise and fall of dynasties that usually involved violent overthrows of the existing order.
While China has clearly transformed itself for the better in the past three decades, the country shows signs that it hasn’t quite shed the nightmares of the past.
Mass protests in China soared more than 750% to about 74,000 between 1993 and 2004, according to a study of Chinese newspaper reports by Susan Shirk, former deputy assistant secretary of state for China. Foreign and local news reports indicate such disturbances have surged in number since the factory layoffs that followed the global downturn in 2009.
A struggling China would produce mixed results for the U.S., which is grappling with China’s rising power but relies heavily on its economy for trade, investment and offshore manufacturing. A bad stumble by Beijing’s technocrats may offer competitive breathing space for the U.S., Japan and other nations but at the cost of lost business.
China also might try to redirect popular discontent by whipping up nationalist sentiment. That could turn nasty for foreign businesses and governments, notably the U.S. and Japan.
China’s heavy-handed government may trigger further unrest.
“In today’s China, ‘efficient’ decision making often has unintended consequences and comes at high human costs,” said Benjamin Wey, the head of New York Global Group, a middle-market advisory firm for China-related M&A deals.
And others assert that China is a threat to the U.S. economy because of its enormous debt ownership. As of now, China owns $907 billion in treasury securities, and it’s only going to get bigger. The average American family with two children collectively owes around $12,000 dollars to China.
How much do we actually know about the Chinese economy and what goes on in the totalitarian regime?
I do know this much: China is not a friend of the United States or any other Western country. It’s a brutal communist totalitarian country ruled by a centralized regime. People tend to forget that. It’s goal is to overtake America economically and militarily and leave it in the dust. Once in awhile it tests our resolve and world influence by rattling sabers and taking advantage of a laughable milksop like Obama.
The next President (it won’t be Obama) needs to divest our country from the habit of propping up communist China with capitalist dollars.
I’ve said this before: China is an enemy and should be treated as such instead of the privilege of being a business associate. Doing business with a communist country will not transform it into a capitalist/democratic/freedom-nurturing society.
There will come a day when the little spats we have with the Chinese will explode into a full-fledged military confrontation. You can bet on it. I hope by then, we have a President with the balls to respond with force.