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[P]
Obama in China in Retrospect: Complete Fail

By nostalgiphile in Op-Ed
Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 07:22:32 PM EST
Tags: freedom, James Fallows, Obama, China, RMB, PRC, human rights, currency manipulation, free market (all tags)
Freedom

James Fallows is a stupid faggot, albeit probably more stupid than faggot. In a recent blog post he sarcastically writes that

We All Know that Obama was humiliated and stonewalled by the haughty Chinese leaders, in contrast to the titanic American presidents of yore who spoke sternly to Mao and his successors and therefore always got just what they wanted in Beijing. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has reminded us of his fecklessness again. And yet...my favorite newspaper of all, the (state-controlled) China Daily, has just indicated in its November 25 edition that China's recent year-long freeze on the value of the RMB may be about to end. (Thanks to my friend Jeremy Goldkorn, of Danwei.org in Beijing, for the tip.) If Obama had "demanded" this in public, or insisted that it be announced while he was standing next to Hu Jintao in Beijing, his "toughness" might have received better one-day coverage in the U.S. press or on SNL. But the chances of his getting what he was after would be nil. Of course, the chances are still uncertain. But this was the major item on the economic-rebalancing agenda; and the Administration's argument all along was that influencing China's behavior was a long game. This news story is not conclusive but does support rather than weaken the long-game approach.

So, in effect: "Look, I know important bloggers inside China and rely on state-run media, you can trust me on this--Obama has China right where he wants it!"


Apparently Fallows wants to defend Obama from the histrionic naysayers like Cohen and Der Spiegel, the latter of which claims big fail for the US in Beijing:
A look back in time reveals the differences. When former President Bill Clinton went to China in June 1998, Beijing wanted to impress the Americans. A press conference in the Great Hall of the People, broadcast on television as a 70-minute live discussion, became a sensation the world over. Clinton mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when the government used tanks against protestors. But then President Jiang Zemin defended the tough approach taken by the Chinese Communists. At the end of the exchange, the Chinese president praised the debate and said: "I believe this is democracy!"
Don't think it was, but nevertheless the issue of human rights did get raised by previous visiting US presidents. For that reason it seems Fallows "long-game approach" seems to boil down to: don't pressure China on any sensitive issues (human rights, Xinjiang, internet censorship, etc.) and hope the Communist Party decides to start doing agreeable things with their currency and people..."eventually."

Due to the President's excessive passivity, the OBAMA-MAO t-shirt debacle and the excessively oriental "bowing incident" have become the most memorable events of Obama's 09 Asia trip. As the conservative Wall Street Journal points out:

The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic, and they would not be if they weren't playing off a growing perception. If the pictures had been accompanied by headlines from Asia saying "Tough Talks Yield Big Progress" or "Obama Shows Muscle in China," the bowing pictures might be understood this way: "He Stoops to Conquer: Canny Obama shows elaborate deference while he subtly, toughly, quietly advances his nation's interests."

But that's not how the pictures were received or will be remembered.

To top things off, the farcical Town Hall meeting in Shanghai further illustrated his weakness, as Obama's reply to the question about the Great Firewall of China showed: freedom of speech is really cool for US, over there, but "I realize different countries have different traditions." Right, so here he's using the attitude of cultural relativism to show his willingness not to criticize the PRC leaders' vast internet security/spying apparatus. So the Great Firewall of China question was just a kind of litmus test to see how far the US will go to accommodate (or kowtow to?) the Police Republic of China--the message it sent was: we're willing to play along with your jack-booted ways as long as you pretty please with rice wine on top just go easy on the RMB currency manipulation.

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Obama in China in Retrospect: Complete Fail | 44 comments (40 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
lol "different traditions" (3.00 / 2) (#1)
by Harry B Otch on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:14:27 AM EST

As if there is no censorship in U.S. anyway.  If Obama wants to be a cultural relativist, he should go to a state dinner in Uganda and order the "Yankee pot roast".

-----
Wake up and feel the shame.

I don't get it? He is a negroe from Kenya. (none / 0) (#41)
by hugin on Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 09:08:33 PM EST


This is a clip that shows the Phantom makeup being applied to Michael Crawford as well as other behind-the-scenes footage as he prepares to perform on the Bob Hope Show. A must-have for any Crawford fan. Enjoy!
[ Parent ]

I'm a little amused that we seem to be angry at (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:48:30 PM EST

China for propping up our currency.  I mean, to maintain the Yuan at  it's current value, they've got to buy, and then sit on a whole bunch of dollars, right?    I mean, it seems like we should be saying 'dude, thanks for propping up our weak currency!'

but then, I'm not really an economics expert, (and I don't work in manufacturing)

well, it's easy (3.00 / 5) (#6)
by lostincali on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 09:24:50 PM EST

by keeping the dollar's buying power artificially high, China is destroying our domestic manufacturing capacity.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

and, essentially, giving us a bunch of (2.00 / 2) (#7)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 09:44:54 PM EST

free crap.  I'm failing to see the problem.  I mean, even if they decide to cut us off and we need to ramp up our manufacturing here,  we still design stuff here, and it's not hard to bootstrap manufacturing if you have a bunch of bay area Engineers to throw at the problem. Hell, I know people who are doing that for fun.  

[ Parent ]
production moves slower (none / 1) (#8)
by balsamic vinigga on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:40:53 PM EST

than intellect.

China has an intellectual coup planned.

Right now they're scaring away the intellectuals, thus keeping them in america and europe, while they conquer production, by being intellectually reprehensible politically. But they're positioning themselves for a coup.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]

dono... sounds tough to me. (2.60 / 5) (#9)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 11:35:22 PM EST

I mean, to enforce that level of 'think like us or we kill you' for so long and then say "Oh, come home now and innovate, we won't hut you, really"  -  not saying they can't do it, just sounds... difficult.

You need risk takers;  people who say "no, the establishment is wrong and I'm willing to risk my fortune to prove it"  in order to have a healthy capitalist market.  If you have a history of killing guys like that, well, they are likely going to do what it takes to stay in places where they are more welcome.  

Right now, the US economy is so focused on "adding value"  (which is to say, overcharging for the same old crap while making it just slightly incompatible)  that any idiot who isn't too greedy can come into almost any market, and undercut the existing businesses by quite a lot without too much effort or skill.

I don't see this as a problem, because it's self-correcting.  My experiences in the VPS market tell me that this 'economy of scale' bullshit is just that.  Large corporations seem to be unable to charge a fair price (which is to say, the cost of production plus some reasonable margin)  so it's pretty easy for a few guys to get together and crush large corporations on price, so if we ever get to the point where businesses care about price, there is a whole lot of efficiency we can easily gain.  

(note, these observations are mostly in the so-called b2b space.  I have little experience in the so-called b2c space.  Externally, though, it looks significantly more efficient.)  

Besides, the Chinese government is rather, ah, vulnerable.  Imagine, if a George W bush level fuckup made it into a leadership position, how much more damage it would do them than it did us (and it did us quite a lot of damage.)  

[ Parent ]

yeah i mean it's all speculation (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by balsamic vinigga on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 12:00:07 AM EST

on your last point, it remains to be seen if america can recover... you also underestimate how tolerant the risk takers can be. Look at HK - under complete and total control of the PRC, but because their policy is different there, risk taking and free markets are as strong there as anywhere else in the world...

True it can't happen overnight, but I don't underestimate those chinese...

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]

my understanding is that the (none / 1) (#11)
by Morally Inflexible on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 12:09:54 AM EST

PRC has been much more tolerant in HK than it is in the mainland.  HK has a history of being a comparatively safe place for entrepreneurs;  the PRC has been careful not to fuck that up (so far)  

Personally, I think we will see something like japan in the 80s, which is to say, they're going to buy us, but then they will fuck something up, and we'll buy us back for pennies on the dollar. International finance is hard, and we've been playing that game longer than they have.  

but then, this is all speculation.  My guess is that there is still a lot of downside in the US economy.  but eh, that's what I always say.   Either way, I think it will be interesting how China deals with the availability of cheap USian workers.  

(you know the joke I made about Detroit?  it was only half a joke.  I bet it wouldn't be that expensive to set up factories to compete with China there.)  

[ Parent ]

dunno... (none / 0) (#33)
by Aphexian on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 08:40:56 PM EST

"If you have a history of killing guys like that, well, they are likely going to do what it takes to stay in places where they are more welcome."

Yeah, because in a tech-based, global economy you can't run shit from your bedroom in Cancun.  Wait, I'm forgetting about Chinese long-distance death punch powers  Pardon me if I can't buy that.

It's akin to the internet, hell it IS the internet - there's no self-correction because there are no real repercussions.  You're playing with money (like paying for an intarweb connection,) not your life.

"so it's pretty easy for a few guys to get together and crush large corporations on price"

Attention Walmart shoppers - two upstarts from New Jersey have just undercut our prices.  We will now close our doors.  We thought we could strong-arm the b2b market and enslave the working poor, but hell I guess we were just shortsighted.

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]

what the hell kind of conspiracy theory is that? (2.00 / 2) (#27)
by nostalgiphile on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:23:46 AM EST

you talk about "the Chinese" like they're an alien species. This is just an authoritarian regime doing what authoritarian regimes do, namely put people in jail. There's no grand treacherous scheme or rationale behind it.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
when the coup happens (none / 0) (#29)
by balsamic vinigga on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 09:53:24 AM EST

i get to fuck your daughter. deal?

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]
if I'm in China then, sure (none / 0) (#30)
by nostalgiphile on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 05:59:40 PM EST

but we both know that's impossible.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
not very confident then are you $ (none / 1) (#31)
by balsamic vinigga on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 06:15:55 PM EST



---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]
a manufacturing base is non-trivial. (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by lostincali on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:24:28 PM EST

it's not something that you can just flip on and off like a light switch. you cannot wake up one day, decide, "oh, the dollar is weaker now, I will start manufacturing items in the US and exporting them". it's a highly capital-intensive process that is built up over decades and must be actively maintained. institutional knowledge also plays a large role, and when an industry disappears, so too does a lot of the knowledge associated with the manufacturing processes. you literally forget how to make things, because the only people who knew how to make them have retired, died, or retrained to work in a different sector of the economy. you can find a recent popular example of this at work where it appears that the DoE has forgotten how to manufacture an essential component for nuclear warheads. in fact, the military routinely initiates procurement programs for the purpose of maintaining the industrial base needed for advanced technology such as rocket motors.

rebuilding this capacity after it has been thoroughly decimated is an incredibly expensive and time-consuming proposition. is it much better that you do not let it implode in the first place.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

I don't know... I mean, I know people (none / 1) (#26)
by Morally Inflexible on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:32:04 PM EST

manufacturing stuff as a hobby  - I mean, obviously, it's not anywhere as efficient as it could be, but I mean, doing it at a lower level of efficiency isn't difficult.

[ Parent ]
Model rocket hobbyists - Your country needs YOU! $ (none / 0) (#34)
by Aphexian on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 08:49:05 PM EST


[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]
China has Uncle Sam's nuts in a C-clamp (2.25 / 4) (#3)
by Michael David Crawford on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 08:22:19 PM EST

The instant the US stops taking orders from Beijing, they'll stop buying our Treasuries.

Who do you think is paying for all our wars anyway?



20 years ago it was the japanese tiger (2.00 / 2) (#20)
by donnalee on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 10:30:22 AM EST

US's innovation and tradition of freedom is what keeps confidence in our dollar high.

---
Guess I'll be adding this to tomorrow's comment dump!
[ Parent ]
no longer the case (none / 0) (#42)
by iggymanz on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 09:14:46 PM EST

the Chinese are going to partial gold standard, and after securing the rest of the world as market, they will dump the U.S. paper like soiled kotex.  right now they are using near-zero interest rates we give them to buy actual real shit.

[ Parent ]
China has dollars (none / 1) (#4)
by United Fools on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 09:11:13 PM EST

Obama has bonds

Obmaa is a fool for swapping bonds for dollars

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!

You would be a fool not to (none / 0) (#17)
by sholden on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 09:15:29 AM EST

swap essentially 0% bonds for cash.

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
who gives a shit? (2.25 / 4) (#5)
by Ruston Rustov on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 09:21:51 PM EST


I had had incurable open sores all over my feet for sixteen years. The doctors were powerless to do anything about it. I told my psychiatrist that they were psychosomatic Stigmata - the Stigmata are the wounds Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. Three days later all my sores were gone. -- Michael Crawford
Maybe tomorrow. -- Michael Crawford
As soon as she has her first period, fuck your daughter. -- localroger

+1 Definitely Front Page (none / 0) (#13)
by achievingfluidity on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 01:29:41 AM EST

Obama is a total neophyte as far as the Far East is concerned. In fact, his whole foreign policy sucks now that i think about it.

FP when it goes to vote.

--
ANNOY A LIBERAL USE FACTS AND LOGIC


meanwhile the PRC view is still (none / 0) (#16)
by nostalgiphile on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:15:04 AM EST

focused on the Girl in Red :
The story goes like this. A female graduate student from Shanghai Jiaotong University happened to sit behind Obama at his town hall event. The girl took off her red jacket and sat there in a formal black shirt and dress.

Later, she wrote in her blog that the reason she took off the red jacket was not because of the temperature in the hall, rather "In fact the temperature was not very high in the room, I really wanted to keep wearing my coat, but if I really wore the red coat, people are going to say I want to be famous like crazy."

However, the effect was exactly the opposite. Cameras recorded the entire process of her taking off her coat in slow motion and have spread like wildfire on the Internet. Overnight, she became an Internet sensation.

Of course, next she was the target of a "human flesh search engine." Now, one can find anenormous amount of online information about her, ranging from her identity to her hobbies and even her address.

There are also questions being put in chat rooms and forums,wondering why she took off her red jacket and what agenda she had.



"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
At least he didn't give them an iPod or DVDs (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by b1t r0t on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 10:02:12 AM EST

From Down Home to Beijing - Obama Gives NC Made Go Board to Chinese President Hu

AGA News (11/29/2009) (the page is sufficiently screwy that I can't get a perma-link until the next one comes up)

...not that this was publicized at all. I only heard about this by catching up on rec.games.go for the first time in months. I wonder who came up with the idea, as I would be surprised if Obama had ever heard of the game before this.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.

obama don't play games! (none / 1) (#21)
by donnalee on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 10:33:06 AM EST



---
Guess I'll be adding this to tomorrow's comment dump!
[ Parent ]
wow, Obama actually listens ! (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by sye on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 11:31:08 AM EST

to me, he should also bundle the GO board with an American fiction 'Shibumi'.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

Taiwan still a problem for US - China relations (3.00 / 5) (#23)
by blackbart on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 01:07:36 PM EST

We need to take care of this little hitch in our relationship with China. Taiwan is packed full of filthy little gooks and given that we've bailed out wall street with several trillion dollars of fresh minted US treasure, surely we could spare a few hundred billion to flatten Taiwan as this little piece of shit territory continues to offend more civilized nations with their savage ways and completely amoral and disgusting behavior.

Its time to dispense with Taiwan once and for all, and return this island to its natural state, that is, completely free of those filthy nasty little gooks.

"I use this dupe for modbombing and impersonating a highly paid government worker"
- army of phred

more blackbart heartlessness, (none / 0) (#28)
by nostalgiphile on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 07:37:59 AM EST

but TW's indigenous population would likely endorse your plan.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
William Jefferson Clinton is the best president (none / 1) (#25)
by The Hanged Man on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:37:47 PM EST

we've had in the last 25 years, as highlighted by the dunces we've had before and since.

-------------

Dificile est saturam non scribere - Juvenal
The scary thing is that might be true (none / 1) (#32)
by sholden on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 08:54:48 AM EST

I certainly will be in four years time.

When that's the high bar, it is no wonder the country's fucked.

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
It's been true for some time (none / 0) (#35)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 10:27:33 PM EST

Ronald Reagan was practically beating up a stillborn cripple when the Soviet Union imploded, and he only managed to do it because the mob/Jewish bankers were betting on him.

[ Parent ]
It depends (which is why I said might) (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by sholden on Sun Dec 06, 2009 at 02:07:46 AM EST

Reagan's second term was as you say, but his first term was a different beast.

Just the fact that he didn't stop Volcker from raising rates and saving the US economy (all the work of which was then undone by future idiots at the federal reserve) is enough to put it above Obama (so far).

The second term, yes pushing Volcker, the war on drugs, etc, etc - a disaster.

The question is do you take the terms separately - in which case I think Reagan's first term comes out ahead (so far). Or do you take the entire presidency as a whole, in which case Obama comes out ahead (so far).

I'm taking them separately since Reagan was clearly abducted by aliens and replaced with a lizard man or something...

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
Managing a transition time (2.25 / 4) (#37)
by ckm on Sun Dec 06, 2009 at 02:15:09 PM EST

What everyone misses and refuses to acknowledge is that there is a delicate transition happening which no American president has confronted before. Basically, the balance of world power is shifting from a Euro/Atlantic centered place to an Asian/Pacific centered place. It's not just China, it's also all the other Asian countries. As much as people might dislike Obama and think he is weak, but the strongarm/man approach that has traditionally been a staple of Western diplomacy is just that, Western diplomacy. It doesn't work and is not in sync with Asian cultures, which require a more subtle, delicate approach. That is what Obama is trying to do, instinctively, as he grew up in a Pacific centered culture. His positioning of the US as a 'Pacific nation' is very, very astute, as it insures the relevance of the US going forward. And the relationship with China is really symbiotic, not a rivalry. Besides, it will take decades for any country to come even close to the US in terms of power (in any sense of the word). We still export 3x (in dollar value) than the next closest competitors, are the third largest oil producer in the world, and have a dozen aircraft carriers (with their associated support tails). No other country even comes close in terms of economic, social, military and political power, and that will remain the case for at least another 50 years. If you want to find a real set of losers in the US/China relationship, it's the Europeans. They should be scared shitless that the Atlantic alliance is slowly fading away and that five centuries of Euro-centric world dominance is ending. The new maps of the world will show the Pacific at the center of the planet, not the Atlantic.

Whoops, sorry about the formatting.... (none / 1) (#38)
by ckm on Sun Dec 06, 2009 at 02:16:54 PM EST

Here it is better formatted.

What everyone misses and refuses to acknowledge is that there is a delicate transition happening which no American president has confronted before. Basically, the balance of world power is shifting from a Euro/Atlantic centered place to an Asian/Pacific centered place. It's not just China, it's also all the other Asian countries. As much as people might dislike Obama and think he is weak, but the strongarm/man approach that has traditionally been a staple of Western diplomacy is just that, Western diplomacy. It doesn't work and is not in sync with Asian cultures, which require a more subtle, delicate approach. That is what Obama is trying to do, instinctively, as he grew up in a Pacific centered culture.

His positioning of the US as a 'Pacific nation' is very, very astute, as it insures the relevance of the US going forward. And the relationship with China is really symbiotic, not a rivalry. Besides, it will take decades for any country to come even close to the US in terms of power (in any sense of the word). We still export 3x (in dollar value) than the next closest competitors, are the third largest oil producer in the world, and have a dozen aircraft carriers (with their associated support tails). No other country even comes close in terms of economic, social, military and political power, and that will remain the case for at least another 50 years.

If you want to find a real set of losers in the US/China relationship, it's the Europeans. They should be scared shitless that the Atlantic alliance is slowly fading away and that five centuries of Euro-centric world dominance is ending. The new maps of the world will show the Pacific at the center of the planet, not the Atlantic.

[ Parent ]

Get off the soapbox, pal (none / 1) (#39)
by PhillipW on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:52:50 AM EST

"Right, so here he's using the attitude of cultural relativism to show his willingness not to criticize the PRC leaders' vast internet security/spying apparatus." That's a purely internal affair and none of your damned business. Also, if you care so much, why don't you head to China and protest?

-Phil
why is he bowing to the zips ? (none / 0) (#40)
by hugin on Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 09:06:57 PM EST

The sound of 100,000 dead pacific theatre WWII U.S. Vets rollin in their graves.

This is a clip that shows the Phantom makeup being applied to Michael Crawford as well as other behind-the-scenes footage as he prepares to perform on the Bob Hope Show. A must-have for any Crawford fan. Enjoy!

god what a fucked up thing to say. (none / 0) (#44)
by mikelist on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:12:31 AM EST

a commander of a horde in the chinese army is reviewing the troops, pleased by the completeness of the armor and how well it fits, how completely it covers his soldiers. he comes across a pudgy slodier whose armor hasn't been tailored, and  exclaims "a chink in his armor!", before having him executed.

[ Parent ]
JESUS (none / 0) (#43)
by The Hanged Man on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:16:17 PM EST


-------------

Dificile est saturam non scribere - Juvenal
Obama in China in Retrospect: Complete Fail | 44 comments (40 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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