Here is what drives me nuts about international politics and politics in general: there is no real, genuine, honest discussion between parties. Maybe behind closed doors, though there doesn’t seem to be evidence of it. If so, the people of the world are apparently deemed too stupid to handle the truth. Perhaps they are? Regardless, here is another example of blatant hypocrisy and lying.
According to the AP, the U.S. released a Congressional report which accuses China of deliberately undervaluing its currency, the yuan. That much is fact. Yet China reacted strongly calling this report a “cold war mentality” and that this report “constitutes interference in Beijing’s internal affairs”. The Chinese Foreign Ministry added “we urge this so-called commission to …instead exert greater efforts to build mutual trust and cooperation”. Oh, really?
Let’s recap the facts and lies here. First, China’s currency manipulation is fact, not a political opinion. They either manipulate it or not and it has been proven they do. Second, being an international matter, currency manipulation is definitely not an “internal affair”. Framing it otherwise is nothing more than political lying, otherwise known as propaganda. Hey, if you say it loud enough and often enough, it must be true, right?
Let’s move on to the “cold war mentality” comment. Well, it should be a cold war mentality. The Chinese overtly spy on us, regularly getting people into Los Alamos to steal nuclear secrets; they actively conduct cyber warfare on the U.S. (just ask Google); China consistently thwarts any international efforts at reining in rogue states like Iran and North Korea, despite pretty unanimous world agreement; they maintain aggressive posture towards our allies Taiwan and Japan. In addition, China has cornered the market on rare earth metals (which are essential components in all technology) and is using that as a negotiating lever the way the Middle East uses oil. Only oil comes from other places and has alternatives. Rare earth metals have no alternatives.
So why wouldn’t we view them as a cold war type adversary? Oh right, because we want their business! But on this front, U.S. companies are constantly at a disadvantage. How? For starters, China insists on requiring “technology transfers” where a foreign company is required to build a plant or R&D facility in China in order to do business in there. Fine, but those operations are required to teach, train and transfer know-how to the Chinese, who then promptly steal it. China also turns a blind eye to patent protection, copywrites and piracy of intellectual property.
Finally, we come to the actual currency issue. The injustices above are committed in one direction I might add (the U.S. does little with regard to one-sided policy against China, though admittedly we are no angels in the world wide scheme of things). With the scales tipped so far in favor of China, they also feel the need to manipulate the exchange rate. That’s right- even with all the embarrassing bullying, we’re also letting them give us an economic “wedgie” in front of the class too! My sense of fairness is being tortured.
Now for the ultimate hypocrisy, China’s actual comment on the currency issue was “[China] contends that a stronger yuan will not ease America’s yawning trade deficit.” Well if that’s true, why not just let it float freely? As I’ve said many times, I am all for free trade. Yet “free” in this sense means Webster’s definition “not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being”. Is that what our trade with China is? No, it is manipulated, managed and biased- a one way street. That isn’t fair, free or good for for anyone but China. Mutually beneficial relationships, in the context of world affairs, are far superior to being cold war adversaries. Yet China only acts selfishly, like a child trying to take a mile when parents give an inch. Isn’t it time we change the game? If they won’t play fair on their own, we should stop giving them what they want and act like the adult in the room.