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Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2012

U.S. shouldn’t ignore China’s actions

June 6, 2012

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This past Monday marked the 23rd anniversary of the Chinese government’s massacre of hundreds, perhaps, thousands of protesters in Tiananmen Square. Once, again, as in virtually every year since the massacre, the U.S. government has called upon China to release dissidents and begin to follow international norms on human rights. Once, again, the Chinese government has told the United States and the world to mind its own business and has marked the nonevent (according to the Chinese) by censoring any attempts to memorialize the brutal actions of the government at Tiananmen Square.

It is easy to say that what China does internally is its own business and that the U.S. should stay out of its internal affairs, but that’s an extremely dangerous approach for Americans to take. For years the American government has permitted China to accumulate a massive amount of U.S. debt instruments, so much so that many believe that the U.S. economy is now very much at China’s mercy.

Indeed, it was revealed recently that China, alone of all purchasers of American Treasury bonds, has been given the right to purchase these bonds directly from the U.S. Treasury, a significant financial concession to the Chinese. For years, China has manipulated the value of its own currency, manipulation that has harmed American financial interests and the American trade deficit with China. As American officials declare that the U.S. and China are not military antagonists, China has deliberately modernized and built up its military, particularly its Navy and its space capabilities. Here, again, such a build-up cannot be beneficial to the United States over the long term., particularly given U.S. interests in the Pacific, interests that may well be directly adverse to China’s.

At a time when the United States has intervened in various ways to protect human rights in North Africa and the Middle East, it has quietly accepted China’s internal human rights abuses. It has also been stymied in its efforts to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria by the opposition of Russia and China to such humanitarian steps. To pretend that the United States and China are not antagonists on the world stage is foolhardy and, ultimately, dangerous. And it’s clear that China will continue to increase its financial leverage over the U.S. as well as continue to build up its military and transform its military from a defensive force into a massive military machine capable of challenging U.S. power in the Pacific and around the world.

Certainly, American policy should be oriented toward finding a way to have a peaceful and long-lasting relationship with China. But the anniversary of the Chinese government’s brutal acts of repression at Tiananmen Square should not be the occasion only for half-hearted exercises in diplomatic rhetoric. This anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, like every other, should be an occasion on which the U.S. government carefully considers China’s actions and its ultimate goals regarding the United States. The United States has ignored foreign powers’ actions too many times in recent history to forget that potential threats need to be stopped before they become real and present dangers.

Mike Hoeflich, a distinguished professor in the Kansas University School of Law, writes a regular column for the Journal-World.

Comments

FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

"cannot be beneficial to the United States over the long term."

Everything China does is "long term" Mike.

Old America and New America are just a 'flash in the pan' to China that has been around for a couple thousand years.

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hoeflich 1 year, 10 months ago

Lateralis: China, like any sovereign nation, has a right to build up its military. My point is that the U.S. is foolish to pretend that China and the U.S. are not both present economic rivals and potential future military adversaries so that we can continue to let China buy up our debt and invest freely in major US industries as well as ignore Chinese human rights violations.

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Lateralis 1 year, 10 months ago

As American officials declare that the U.S. and China are not military antagonists, China has deliberately modernized and built up its military, particularly its Navy and its space capabilities. Here, again, such a build-up cannot be beneficial to the United States over the long term., particularly given U.S. interests in the Pacific, interests that may well be directly adverse to China’s. - Mike Hoeflich

Does China not have the right to a strong Military?

American officials declaring that the US isn't a military antagonist is just...well it speaks for it's self.

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jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

I've said for many years that trade with other nations should be tied to human rights - we're a large consumer nation, and they want our business.

Also, if we're antagonists, then we shouldn't be borrowing money from them.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

China and Japan have "ignored" New America under 'whats his face' by 'trading' in 'yuan'. So let us "ignore" them. Seems "fair".

***Nearly 18 months ago, we chronicled how China and Russia agreed to bypass the U.S. dollar in their international trade.

That process is rapidly gathering speed. “This is a growing trend,” Putin adviser Sergei Markov tells The Christian Science Monitor, “to denote deals in yuan or rubles, instead of going via the dollar as in the past, and it reflects growing confidence in our partnership.”

Look for even more dollar talk tomorrow as Wen and Putin convene the annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — a no-Westerners-allowed club of nations led by China, Russia and the central Asian “Stans.”

Events are moving quickly, coming on the heels of China and Japan launching trade in yuan and yen last Friday. China keeps firing new volleys in its war on the dollar; best prepare yourself for the consequences****

(from a source)

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 10 months ago

At the very least, the Campaigner in Chief should tweet about this.

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hoeflich 1 year, 10 months ago

Ron: I don't think that incarceration rates alone give a full measure of human rights. It is also important as to why people are put in prison or executed. I would argue that China consistently imposes repressive measures against folks for "crimes" that we would consider attempts at free speech, etc.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 10 months ago

Clipped from: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2494/does-the-united-states-lead-the-world-in-prison-population

"We've (the U.S.A.) got roughly 2.03 million people behind bars, or 701 per 100,000 population. China has the second-largest number of prisoners (1.51 million, for a rate of 117 per 100,000), and Russia has the second-highest rate (606 per 100,000, for a total of 865,000). Russia had the highest rate for years, but has released hundreds of thousands of prisoners since 1998; meanwhile the U.S. prison population has grown by even more.""

The statistics seem to be a bit obscure and possibly not terribly accurate for China and some other countries. It is also very likely that they are skewed a great deal by the prolific use of the death penalty by many countries.

But, it appears that the U.S.A. has 701 per 100,000 people behind bars. And China has about 117 per 100,000 people behind bars.

But, our ethnocentric point of view is that we represent the free world, and China does not, although our per capita rate of incarceration is about 6 times what China's is.

Maybe we should get our own house in order before trying to solve other country's problems.

But, I do not mean to belittle the rather serious potential problems that are not at all unlikely to arise from the U.S.A. owing so much money to China, as well as many other foreign nations.

And, the U.S.A. spends a lot of that borrowed money on foreign aid to nations that have a large segment of their population considering us to be "The Great Satan".

The problem is that we, along with many other nations, have racked up our national credit cards. When are the bills coming due? Oh, probably after today's politicians are out of office.

I think that it should be considered to be a national emergency to get the U.S.A. out of the situation of needing so much crude oil from politically unstable nations. Until that problem is solved, it appears to me that just about everything else is a side show.

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