Republican candidate Mitt Romney has made headlines during his campaign for declaring Beijing to be a threat to world currencies, but it wasn’t always so. In an intriguing new analytical piece, Reuters did a little digging and found that the millionaire’s current stance wasn’t always so. Shocking, we know.
According to Reuters:
“From his early days at private equity firm Bain Capital to his time as Massachusetts governor, Romney welcomed investments from China, and bought and expanded companies that benefited from its low labor costs and controlled currency. As chairman of the 2002 Winter Olympics, he also said Beijing should not be punished for human rights abuses.
All this is in sharp contrast to the Republican presidential candidate’s current line of attack on the world’s second-largest economy, which is now the United States’ most important trading partner and largest foreign creditor. And that makes political strategists, China experts and business leaders wonder whether Romney will really follow through on his campaign promises if he is elected.
So far in his campaign, Romney has accused China of cheating Americans out of jobs and said a country that represses its own people cannot be a trusted partner.
He has also promised to label China a manipulator of the yuan. On the surface, that would just be a symbolic gesture because it only requires Washington to start talking to Beijing about adjusting its currency.”
Having a man who could possibly be the next “leader of the free world” being totally down on China has not helped Sino-American relations, which have gotten rocky in recent months. The Asia Times Online took notice:
“As evident by a spate of recent diplomatic rows, there seems still to be a very long way to go before the two nations will be able to build mutual political and military trust, the lack of which prevents them from fostering some kind of strategic partnership.
Thus, the so-called Group of Two or G-2 (that United States and China work out solutions to global problems together) remains a pipe dream. “
This could be an important election issue, since a major part of Romney’s campaign involves trashing President Obama for America’s decline in world stature. CNN took a look at the country’s approval ratings across the board:
“This year America’s favorability stands at 52% in Germany, down 10 percentage points from 2009, in Obama’s first year. But such approval is still up 21 points from the last year of the Bush administration. Opinion of the U.S. in Mexico (56% favorable) is down 13 points from 2009, but up 8 from 2008. Approval of the U.S. in China (43%) is down 15 points from 2010, but it is relatively unchanged from 2008.
However, America’s image as the global economic superpower is eroding. In 2008, before the onset of the global financial crisis, a median of 45% of those Pew surveyed in 14 countries named the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power, while just 22% nominated China. Today, only 36% say America is number one, while 42% believe China is the top dog.”
What do you think? Will Romney’s anti-Chinese sentiments win him the election, or is it time to recognize that the US isn’t quite what it used to be?
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