Op-Ed: Trump’s Irrational China Bashing Shows His Ignorance Of China

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Above Photo: From en.people.cn

Just days after receiving a phone call from Taiwan’s leader, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wrote a two-part tweet aimed at China, further upsetting the most important bilateral relationship for America: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” Trump said.

In his tweet, Trump accused China of manipulating its currency and of preparing for conflict and war in the South China Sea. Trump also seemed to suggest that China needs U.S. permission to protect its own national interest.

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The U.S. cannot (and should not) try to dictate the policy of another sovereign state. Sovereignty means that China, for example, is not always going to do what the U.S. wants. Furthermore, China will never bow to U.S. pressure. International relations 101: China is an independent, sovereign state with its own national interests. As a sovereign state, China sets its own policy and can retaliate if necessary.

Trump does not seem to understand what China is doing with its currency, because he has repeatedly accused China of devaluing its currency. Many U.S. economists and currency experts agree that China is not a currency manipulator, and Chinese leaders have long insisted that market forces determine the price of the yuan. There is no solid data to suggest that current value of the yuan is being engineered. In fact, the U.S. Treasury Department has repeatedly declined to label China a currency manipulator.

China is not building a “massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea,” as Trump claimed. China wants peace and stability in the South China Sea, not tension and conflict. No doubt, China is determined and willing to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, but the claim that China is militarizing the South China Sea is completely false. The claim just shows his ignorance of China.

An irrational and hasty “get tough with China” policy would be detrimental to U.S. long-term interests. There is good reason why the China-U.S. relationship is described as one of the most important bilateral relationship in the world. Not only is the U.S. more dependent on China than Trump seems to realize, but world peace and prosperity depend on the healthy develop of China-U.S. relations. Trump needs to get the China-U.S. relationship right.

 

  • jemcgloin

    When country A runs a trade surplus with country B, it needs to buy country B’s currency to buy those extra goods. When country A puss more of is clemency on the market, and takes country B’s currency of the market, it should drive down the price of country A’s currency and drive up the price of country B’s currency.
    This should make it harder to buy country A’s goods and easier to buy country N’s goods, erasing the trade surplus.
    China has been running a trade surplus with the US for decades. That is a piece of economic levitation, that can’t be explained without manipulation.
    China used to make no secret of its currency manipulations. For much of that time they even had to currencies (one foreign, one domestic) to facilitate that.
    On top of that they subsidize industries to steal market share. This is how they have taken over our market share in many of markets we dominated or invented from steel to solar panels. Over the last decade or so, they have widened the band that their currency is allowed to trade in, but they still keep it artificially low to increase exports.
    China also refuses to protect our intellectual property, allowing it’s companies to use our brand names to sell its products.
    All of this was more of a problem in the past. Workers now face more competition from robots and artificial intelligence, but no one can say with a straight face that China didn’t steal 10s of thousands of high paying jobs from the US, with the help of corporations that took advantage of the situation, and Republicans who refused to fight back.
    Trump is a big Orange pathological liar, but he is smart enough to base his lies on a grain of truth. And that grain of truth is that our politicians have let China steal most of our heavy industries without a fight.
    I’m too skeptical and do too much research to believe propaganda coming from my government, or anyone else’s government.

  • “China stole our jobs”.

    How many times have you heard this complaint?

    But how exactly does one “steal a job”?

    The simple reality is that a “job” is nothing more than a label applied to an economic exchange.

    Tom wants some work done. He offers Dick a certain amount of money to do it. Dick can either accept Tom’s offer, do the work, and receive the money, or he can reject it as unacceptable and go his own way.

    Tom can then make an offer to Harry. He can even offer Harry less. It’s up to Harry whether to accept Tom’s offer.

    Nowhere in the entire process does the “job” belong to anyone. A “job” is not a piece of property. It is not a “right”. It is not an “entitlement”. It is a deal struck in the free marketplace.