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“Chinese Expansionism”: Donald Trump Will Make China Great Again!

New York Republicans aren’t the only ones convinced by Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy — they’re just the only ones who can vote on it. Chinese state media has continued to support the racist businessman’s ascent to his party’s nomination.

Rather than seeing a threat in Trump’s promises to wage a trade war against China, state media have viewed such commitments as both negotiable and indicative of imperial decline.

“The United States has no obligation to allies or the international community to provide more public services in the area of trade,” said the nationalist Global Times, laying out the characteristics of what it called the Trump Doctrine. “He must keenly smell the isolationist sentiment in American society, and has dared to put forward such a bold foreign policy.”

Returning to an isolationist conception of foreign policy, to which Americans stayed roughly committed until the start of World War II, would ease China’s attempts to project its own power further beyond its shores. The power disparity in the South China Sea between China and its neighbors would be far more acute today if President Barack Obama had not carried out his pivot to Asia, essentially a containment policy aimed at maintaining the postwar status quo in the Pacific.

“Why isn’t China worried about Mr. Trump’s threat of high tariffs on their exports to the US? Because he’s also said he’s a deal-maker. They think they can make a deal to preserve what they have in the US-China relationship while a Trump administration retreats from world economic leadership,” said Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the libertarian American Enterprise Institute, to The Daily Beast.

A Trump presidency would most likely relinquish the Pacific region from American military and economic dominance, given Trump’s demands that Japan and South Korea cover the cost of housing American troops in their countries, an unprecedented break in the postwar world order. And Trump would be seen as more pliable than previous American presidents, due to his obsession with approaching international problems as opportunities to peacock his negotiating prowess.

“Between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump may be the better choice,” said Caixin, another Chinese media organization. “Trump is an advocate of negotiating.” Hillary Clinton, who represented the country most recently as Secretary of State under Obama, would take a much harder line against any attempts at Chinese expansionism.

In a 2011 piece published in Foreign Policy, Clinton laid out her vision of American involvement in the Pacific, and calling out China’s behavior in the region in all but name. “Strategically, maintaining peace and security across the Asia-Pacific is increasingly crucial to global progress, whether through defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, or ensuring transparency in the military activities of the region’s key players,” she wrote.

Key to maintaining balance, Clinton said, was the projection of American power across the region, which may grow deeper as China continues to increase its economic and military strength. Trump has made no similar commitment, despite his obsession with strength and power.

By openly suggesting that he would make American allies in the Pacific pay the cost of American protection, despite free trade benefitting the U.S. far more than cash payments, Trump has revealed an opening the Chinese government hopes to exploit.

 

By: Saif Alnuweiri, The National Memo, April 20, 2016

April 21, 2016 Posted by | China, Donald Trump, Isolationism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Yuge Order”: Trump Said He Bought Windows From China Because America’s Were Too Expensive

Along with being the childhood home of Wyatt Earp and holding the world’s record for the number of people dancing in wooden shoes at one time (2,600), the Iowa town of Pella is best known for its namesake window company.

So you would figure that folks at the home of the Pella Corporation would remember Donald Trump’s declaration in 2010 that he had been forced to make a yuge order of windows from China because he had such difficulty finding any that were made in America.

“I ordered windows, thousands of windows the other day; they’re made in China,” Trump said during an interview with CNBC. “I don’t want to buy them, but it’s hard to get them anywhere else.”

The revelation had caused quite an uproar in the window industry. Trump had sought to smooth it over with a statement insisting “I would much rather buy ‘U.S’—and do much business with Pella—(and others). The U.S. product is better.”

“China’s artificially low currency makes it hard for U.S. companies to compete,” he said at the time.

In other words, Trump had bought the Chinese windows because they were cheaper. That translated into greater profits for him.

And profit is what made Trump the Really Rich guy who had people lined up by the hundreds in Pella to hear him speak on Saturday. Here is how Trump began his speech.

“Oh Pella, Pella, Pella, I’m always negotiating the prices of those damn windows, you know?” Trump can be heard saying in a video of the event. “Brutal, brutal.”

The auditorium filled with cheers.

“But they’re good, I’ll tell you what,” he went on. “They’re a great product and we buy a lot of them.”

More cheers.

“Anybody who work at Pella? Anybody?” he asked.

Voices responded in the boisterous affirmative.

“Well, you know you have lots of orders for Trump,” he said. “They make a quality window and you’re proud to have them.”

He was not done.

“I didn’t realize I’d be speaking in Pella. I’ve paid so much money to them. Ay! I get the shudders to think I’m here.”

He then turned serious.

“But the end result is their product is great,” the man who six years earlier said he had ordered windows by the thousands from China now said, “Which is what we want in this country, right? That’s what we want.”

From the crowd came a cry.

“USA!”

Trump returned to the subject of windows while speaking of Donald-doubters, in particular people who suggested that his financial disclosure forms would show he was not as rich as he claimed to be.

“Actually, it turned out I’m much richer,” he said to the crowd’s manifest delight. “I built a great company.”

“Pella knows, Pella knows,” he went on. “Those windows go someplace. And those were successful jobs.”

Neither Trump nor the Pella Corporation responded to requests for comment, so it is difficult to determine what jobs he was speaking about.

Unless he was applying a Trump-ian definition of success, Trump was not likely talking of his casinos in Atlantic City, an adventure that led to multiple bankruptcies. That despite his father, Fred Trump, slipping him more than $3 million through a supposed gambling chips purchase at a casino cashier’s cage.

He certainly was not referring to whatever buildings were outfitted with thousands of Chinese windows, which he almost certainly purchased because they were cheaper than American-made ones such as those Pella produces.

Donald Trump was also not likely to have been citing a number of projects where he was not the actual developer but had simply licensed his name to lure investors.

In two of those projects, the Trump Soho and the Trump Fort Lauderdale, the buildings went into foreclosure.

In two other projects, the Trump Tampa and the Trump Baja, the buildings were never built.

The locals down in Baja in Mexico must get a pretty good laugh when they hear Trump talk about building a wall along the border and then see his smiling face on a billboard overlooking a hole in the ground.

“Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico,” the billboard says. “Trump. Owning here is just the beginning.”

Not laughing are the investors who lost millions imagining that Trump is a synonym for Midas.

His name remains his company’s greatest asset.

The first image that appears on his company’s website is of a foreclosed building erected with such business partners as Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant with a violent felony conviction who had previously participated in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud linked to the Mafia.

But the building is still the Trump Soho. It still bears the moniker that to some means bigotry and misogyny but to others means bucks and moxie.

In another of his foundering deals, a mega-project on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Trump had a partner named Vincent Lo who was sometimes called China’s version of The Donald. Lo even hosted an Apprentice-style reality show called Wise Man Takes All.

Lo could never quite pull it off: The Chinese might be able to make bargain-priced windows, just as they made bargain-priced garments that Trump sold in clothing lines before he got even better prices having them made in Lesotho.

But Trump is a uniquely American product.

Just ask those good folks in Iowa.

As Trump would say, Pella knows.

 

By: Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, January 26, 2016

January 27, 2016 Posted by | China, Donald Trump, Outsourcing of Jobs, Pella Corporation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“After Six Full Years Of Being Wrong About Everything”: Crash-Test Dummies As Republican Candidates For President

Will China’s stock crash trigger another global financial crisis? Probably not. Still, the big market swings of the past week have been a reminder that the next president may well have to deal with some of the same problems that faced George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Financial instability abides.

So this is a test: How would the men and women who would be president respond if crisis struck on their watch?

And the answer, on the Republican side at least, seems to be: with bluster and China-bashing. Nowhere is there a hint that any of the G.O.P. candidates understand the problem, or the steps that might be needed if the world economy hits another pothole.

Take, for example, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. Mr. Walker was supposed to be a formidable contender, part of his party’s “deep bench” of current or former governors who know how to get things done. So what was his suggestion to President Obama? Why, cancel the planned visit to America by Xi Jinping, China’s leader. That would fix things!

Then there’s Donald Trump, who likes to take an occasional break from his anti-immigrant diatribes to complain that China is taking advantage of America’s weak leadership. You might think that a swooning Chinese economy would fit awkwardly into that worldview. But no, he simply declared that U.S. markets seem troubled because Mr. Obama has let China “dictate the agenda.” What does that mean? I haven’t a clue — but neither does he.

By the way, five years ago there were real reasons to complain about China’s undervalued currency. But Chinese inflation and the rise of new competitors have largely eliminated that problem.

Back to the deep bench: Chris Christie, another governor who not long ago was touted as the next big thing, was more comprehensible. According to Mr. Christie, the reason U.S. markets were roiled by events in China was U.S. budget deficits, which he claims have put us in debt to the Chinese and hence made us vulnerable to their troubles. That almost rises to the level of a coherent economic story.

Did the U.S. market plunge because Chinese investors were cutting off credit? Well, no. If our debt to China were the problem, we would have seen U.S. interest rates spiking as China crashed. Instead, interest rates fell.

But there’s a slight excuse for Mr. Christie’s embrace of this particular fantasy: scare stories involving Chinese ownership of U.S. debt have been a Republican staple for years. They were, in particular, a favorite of Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012.

And you can see why. “Obama is endangering America by borrowing from China” is a perfect political line, playing into deficit fetishism, xenophobia and the perennial claim that Democrats don’t stand up for America! America! America! It’s also complete nonsense, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

In fact, talking nonsense about economic crises is essentially a job requirement for anyone hoping to get the Republican presidential nomination.

To understand why, you need to go back to the politics of 2009, when the new Obama administration was trying to cope with the most terrifying crisis since the 1930s. The outgoing Bush administration had already engineered a bank bailout, but the Obama team reinforced this effort with a temporary program of deficit spending, while the Federal Reserve sought to bolster the economy by buying lots of assets.

And Republicans, across the board, predicted disaster. Deficit spending, they insisted, would cause soaring interest rates and bankruptcy; the Fed’s efforts would “debase the dollar” and produce runaway inflation.

None of it happened. Interest rates stayed very low, as did inflation. But the G.O.P. never acknowledged, after six full years of being wrong about everything, that the bad things it predicted failed to take place, or showed any willingness to rethink the doctrines that led to those bad predictions. Instead, the party’s leading figures kept talking, year after year, as if the disasters they had predicted were actually happening.

Now we’ve had a reminder that something like that last crisis could happen again — which means that we might need a repeat of the policies that helped limit the damage last time. But no Republican dares suggest such a thing.

Instead, even the supposedly sensible candidates call for destructive policies. Thus John Kasich is being portrayed as a different kind of Republican because as governor he approved Medicaid expansion in Ohio, but his signature initiative is a call for a balanced-budget amendment, which would cripple policy in a crisis.

The point is that one side of the political aisle has been utterly determined to learn nothing from the economic experiences of recent years. If one of these candidates ends up in the hot seat the next time crisis strikes, we should be very, very afraid.

 

By: Paul Krugman, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, August 28, 2015

August 29, 2015 Posted by | China, Financial Crisis, Global Economy | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Outsourcing Of Jobs”: Scott Walker’s Secret Love For Red China

Just before the 2012 presidential election, a prominent Republican governor appeared on Chinese state television wearing a lapel pin on his dark blazer that depicted that country’s hammer-and-sickle flag.

In an interview, he brushed off his party’s concerns about trade with China, downplayed citizens’ worries about outsourcing, and called the country’s trade practices “good and fair.”

That governor was Scott Walker—the same governor who, on Tuesday, confused just about everyone by saying Obama should make the Chinese president cancel his upcoming state visit. Same guy.

Walker has a record as being extraordinarily comfortable with China and its leaders, even going so far as to praise the country’s trade practices on government TV.

China and international trade issues have become central to the 2016 presidential campaign, especially given that the country’s economic struggles precipitated Monday’s stock market dive. As he’s done with immigration, Walker fast moved to be the furthest right on China, releasing a statement calling for Obama to cancel Chinese president Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit.

“Given China’s massive cyberattacks against America, its militarization of the South China Sea, continued state interference with its economy, and persistent persecution of Christians and human rights activists, President Obama needs to cancel the state visit,” Walker said in the statement.

But up until yesterday, concerns about Chinese currency manipulation and human rights violations seemed far from Walker’s mind. (Of note: human rights leaders also called for Obama to cancel Xi’s visit.)  Throughout his governorship, Walker adopted rhetoric and policies that sought to build bridges and deepen relationships between China and Wisconsin—even though, according to one analysis, the Badger State lost more than 600,000 jobs during his tenure because of the growing Chinese trade deficit and the country’s currency manipulation. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Walker has criticized Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit for being mere “pomp and circumstance.” But pomp and circumstance didn’t bother him in 2011, when he attended an official dinner in Chicago for then-Chinese president Hu Jintao. The city’s mayor at the time, Richard Daley, hosted the dinner on Jan. 21, 2011—a little more than a week before Walker’s inauguration. Valerie Jarrett, Sen. Mark Kirk, and Sen. Dick Durbin also attended, according to a press release from the city. Walker and the other guests savored “a traditional Midwestern menu with Asian accents,” and listened to Daley discuss his efforts to promote the study of Chinese language and culture in city public schools.

Over the course of his governorship, Walker didn’t exactly try to put daylight between the Badger State and China. Shortly before the 2012 presidential election, Walker made an appearance on CCTV—a Chinese state television broadcaster—sporting a lapel pin that depicted the American and Chinese flags side by side, waving over Wisconsin (Wisconsin blogger Jud Lounsbury flagged the video on YouTube in 2013).

The conversation was pegged to the criticism that the Republican presidential ticket had leveled at China’s trade practices.

“Despite all the criticism on China from the Romney/Ryan campaign, Gov. Walker has been an advocate of bringing more Chinese investment to his state and increasing trade with China,” said the host, introducing the segment by contrasting him with fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan.

Walker said state leaders needed to communicate with Chinese investors about the benefits of trade with Wisconsin.

“[I]t’s our responsibility to show them good investments that will ultimately help put people to work in our state, that will provide a return on investment to those Chinese investors,” Walker said. “It’s not only good for our state, good for our employees, good for the investors, but also good for the people of China.”

He also called the trade status quo “good and fair.”

“The best way for us to show that there’s a good and fair trading system is to do what we’re doing right here. We’re living!” Walker said. “We’re not just talking about — we’re living it this week, we’re putting in place something that’s a mutually beneficial scenario, and I think that’s what most people and most voters ultimately want out of their leaders.”

And he said Wisconsin’s trade with China didn’t result in outsourcing.

“You look at that almost $1.4 billion worth of exports from Wisconsin to China—that’s not exporting jobs, that’s exporting products,” he said. “That’s a win-win.”

Walker backed up that rhetoric with action. A few months after appearing on Chinese state TV, he led a trade mission to China that included representatives from a variety of companies, as well as from the now-troubled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the state government. They visited Beijing, Shanghai, and Harbin, according to a press release.

While he was there, Walker attended the U.S.-China Governors Forum. Terry Branstad, the Republican governor of Iowa, led the American governors’ delegation there.Branstad took those two to visit Xi during the trip, according to the Des Moines Register. The paper noted that Xi rarely meets visiting foreign dignitaries, and that Walker benefited from Branstad’s ability to make the introduction.

Walker also opened a Wisconsin/China trade center in Shanghai on the trip.

“This trade center strengthens our relationship with China and provides Wisconsin businesses the resources and assistance to pursue export opportunities in this growing market,” he said, according to a press release. “Through the years, Wisconsin has built a strong trade relationship with China, and the opening of the Wisconsin Center China will help Wisconsin businesses continue to strengthen our trade relationships and grow export opportunities.”

(Note: Nothing on persecution of Christians or human rights abuses.)

Back home in Wisconsin, concerns about China got him in a bit of trouble. Walker’s 2013-2015 biennial budget proposal included a provision that would have foreign individuals and corporations own unlimited amounts of land in the state, even if they didn’t live there.

“[T]here’s no question that this would allow the Chinese government to buy a big chunk of land in northwest Wisconsin if it wanted to,” said then Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz at the time, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Republicans yanked that provision from the budget after it drew outrage.

But that didn’t constrain the governor’s energy for improving relations with China. On his trade trip, he oversaw the finalization of a handful of trade deals, including one in which one of the country’s biggest medicine companies promised it would only sell ginseng in its stores if it was from Wisconsin. According to WBNS-10TV, the Chinese prize Wisconsin ginseng, but the market is riddled with counterfeit products that claiming to be from Wisconsin but aren’t. Walker estimated the deal could be worth up to $200 million to businesses in the state.

Since then, Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has lavishly praised the state’s relationship with China. On Dec. 8, 2014, her office put out a press release touting the ginseng deal and saying she and Walker were committed to “diplomatic relationships that will position Wisconsin to benefit from Asia’s rise.”

The New York Times reported in July that Walker “met or [spoke] with” Xi Jinpeng at some point in the last few months, as well as other world leaders.

All this is to say that Walker helmed energetic efforts to improve Wisconsin’s trade relationship with China. But he doesn’t appear to have done much to check the nation’s currency manipulation and unfair trade practices.

Robert Scott, the director of trade and manufacturing policy research at the Economic Policy Institute—a labor-affiliated think tank—said Walker could have gone much further in pushing back against China. Scott said Walker could have filed an unfair trade practices complaint with the World Trade Organization or pressured the Treasury to do more about China’s currency manipulation.

“I’ve heard no efforts from the governor or anyone else on that front, until last week,” Scott said.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin governor’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on if Walker had (or could have) pursued any of those remedies.

Scott added that canceling Xi’s state visit “could cause China to overreact.”

“The Chinese are very sensitive to saving face,” he said, “and I think if you were just to insult the Chinese president, just for the sake of insulting him, I don’t think it would be useful in improving the relationship.”

“I think it could cause China to dig in his heels,” he added.

And, Scott noted, that could be particularly tough on Wisconsin. Scott’s research indicates that Wisconsin would stand to benefit more than any other state if China and other countries stopped manipulating their currencies because of the state’s sizable durable goods industry.

Scott’s research also tracks how many jobs individual states lose each year because of outsourcing. He estimates that, thus far in Walker’s governorship, Wisconsin has netted 600,000 lost jobs because of outsourcing to China.

 

By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015 Posted by | China, Scott Walker | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Tutorials Really Aren’t Going Well”: Walker’s ‘Unbearably Silly’ Approach To China

More than one presidential candidate has struggled with foreign policy this year, but few have had as much trouble as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). In March, the far-right governor, recognizing his troubles, arranged for a “crash course” in international affairs.

If yesterday was any indication, the tutorials really aren’t going well. The Washington Post reported:

Angry anti-China rhetoric from U.S. politicians escalated Monday as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) called on President Obama to cancel Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the White House next month. […]

“Why would we be giving one of our highest things a president can do – and that is a state dinner for Xi Jinping, the head of China – at a time when all of these problems are pending out there?” Scott Walker told reporters following a visit to the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg, S.C., on Monday afternoon.

As the governor sees it, China would “actually respect” us more if President Obama snubbed the Chinese leader. Let that thought roll around in your head for a moment.

In a written statement, Walker also said there are a series of major Chinese issues of great concern to the United States – the economy, currency manipulation, cyber-security, militarization of the South China Sea, human rights, etc. – and the Wisconsin Republican seems to think the best way to address these issues is for the White House to withdraw its invitation to the Chinese leader.

“We need to see some backbone from President Obama on U.S.-China relations,” Walker added.

Maybe the governor who’s afraid of his own positions on immigration should steer clear of backbone” rhetoric.

Dan Drezner, a center-right foreign-policy scholar and Washington Post contributor, called Walker’s argument “unbearably silly,” which is both fair and the kind of label presidential candidates should try to avoid.

In Slate, Joshua Keating said, “Cutting off dialogue with China at a time of rising tension seems disastrously short-sighted,” adding, “[I]t’s hard to avoid the impression that Walker simply saw that China was in the news today and decided to make some tough sounding noises about it.”

In April, after some unrelated nonsense from Walker on foreign policy, President Obama called the governor out by name. “Mr. Walker,” the president said, apparently needs to take “some time to bone up on foreign policy.”

That’s as true now as it was four months ago.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, August 25, 2015

August 25, 2015 Posted by | China, Foreign Policy, Scott Walker | , , , , | 2 Comments

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