The Asian failure

“When it came to China, President Obama’s famous powers of persuasion failed to persuade,” wrote Barbara Demick in the Los Angeles Times. “Not only is the U.S. president coming away without definable concessions, but the Chinese appeared to be digging in their heels.”Mr. Obama had sought three things in China. First, he wanted Chinese support for sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. Second, he wanted China to agree to curbs on fossil fuel emissions. Third, he wanted China to agree to a more realistic value for its currency. He batted zero for three.The most important of these is the currency issue. China pegs the value of the renmimbi (also called the yuan) artificially low in relation to the dollar to boost sales of its exports. This essentially mercantilist policy makes it harder for us to sell things to the Chinese, and for our economy to recover.What Mr. Obama received was a lecture on the danger of US budget deficits, and criticism of the protectionist policies his administration has implemented. Mr. Obama was treated with far less respect than were Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush when they visited China. The whole world sees us as weak and getting weaker—thus we are more likely to be ignored—or even attacked.br /br /But Mr. Obama told the US media that his Asia trip was very successful—and so they reported it. As Mark Twain once said, if you don’t read the papers you are uninformed; if you do read them you are misinformed.

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