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China Daily, People's Republic of China

Republican Presidential Race 'Hijacks' China-U.S. Relations


Are Republicans making statements about China that they will later regret? According to senior editor Fei Erzi of the state-run China Daily, Republican candidates have picked up on the 'sadness of Americans' at not being able to 'influence global economic outcomes. So they have decided to ' go to extremes,' raising the likelihood of a trade war.


By Fei Erzi


January 21, 2012


People's Republic of China - China Daily - Original Article (English)

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People both in and out of the United States and are closely watching the Republican presidential campaign. With the Republican caucus in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire, Americans officially embarked on the road to November's critical presidential election. The journey will be heavily influenced by differing interpretations of the American economy and U.S relationships around the world.


Some people lament the extent to which the America has lost its competitive edge to other nations, especially in Asia. There is sadness that the U.S. can no longer influence global economic outcomes.


So it should come as no surprise when candidates go to extremes to make a point clear in the heat of the campaign. They have already begun, having allowed domestic U.S. politics to hijack Sino-U.S. relations.


Republicans candidates emphasize that it is necessary to confront China. Mitt Romney, the presumed frontrunner, is already attacking Beijing. He asserts that President Obama has allowed China to "run all over us" when it comes to taking American jobs. He favors imposing tariffs on China to "punish" it for "currency manipulation."


But China is much more than what Republicans think. The Pew Research Center has identified three core Republican groups, based on responses to certain questions. About 80 percent of "staunch conservatives" want the U.S. to get tough with China on economic issues, but both "Main Street Republicans" and "Libertarians" are evenly divided on whether Washington should get tough or build stronger economic ties.


Should we be angry that China figures so prominently in an election campaign on the other side of the Pacific?


Washington advocates of stronger Sino-U.S. trade and cooperation look with concern at the anti-Beijing rhetoric, fearing that it could lead our countries into a trade war. The U.S.-China Business Council has even produced fact sheets detailing the impact of China trade on key primary and caucus states.


New Hampshire, for example, exports goods totaling $412 million to China every year, making it the third-largest exporter to China among U.S. states. South Carolina exports goods worth $2.2 billion to China. In addition, annual exports from Nevada to China rose from about $11 million in 1996 to more than $455 million in 2010, according to data provided by the state.   



There is little doubt that U.S. global economic dominance is coming to end. The future will see growing competition for influence and market share from other economies.




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Foreign Policy magazine, an American bimonthly magazine, sought opinions from nine leading academic experts on global affairs, including Francis Fukuyama, Joseph S. Nye and Robert Keohane on the biggest foreign-policy challenges America confronts. Thirty-two percent of them said their short list would include the rising power of China, up from 23 percent in 2008. The scholars said East Asia was the region of the greatest strategic importance to the United States today, with 45 percent identifying it as the most significant region - or 15 percent more than 2008.


And let us not forget that there are reasons we shouldn't take the election campaign at face value, because the Republican primaries are getting wilder on other issues as well. Take former Senator Rick Santorum and Texas Governor Rick Perry, for instance. Santorum said he believed that the entire West Bank belongs to Israel. According to him, the West Bank is filled with Israelis and is thus is Israeli territory. Perry, on the other hand, said it was a bad idea to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, and that if elected president, he would reverse Obama's decision and send them back to counter Iranian influence.


What should one make of such comments? If the Republicans can be so absurd on the campaign trail, can we really take them seriously?


*Fei Erzi is a senior writer with China Daily.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US Jan. 22, 7:10am]


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