President Barack Obama and his administration’s foreign policy toward China can be summed up in one word: conciliatory. Conciliatory is not in the form of any weakness or appeasement, but rather the realization that in the 21st century global market, China is a main player on the world stage. Obama’s foreign policies are a departure from the previous administration. George Bush’s unilateral foreign policies were deemed domineering, even belligerent.
From an international standpoint, Anti-American sentiments were at an all-time high during Iraqi War driven years. In America, the domestic stance after 9/11 saw this as an extension of patriotism and commitment. Nowadays, both domestically and internationally, many pundits would argue that Obama’s policy record in China inspires hope and optimism. President Obama is acknowledging the fact of a much more multipolar world exists where America cannot take all of the leadership roles by itself. Yet, at the same time, the world cannot go forward without America.
In this respect, China needs a wide open market where they can export all their manufactured goods to consumers worldwide. Thus, it is a mutual benefit for China to have good international relations with other societies to acquire raw materials and sell products to overseas companies. President Obama’s policies toward China reflect a forward marching multilateral approach that deliberates an equal level playing field in terms of economic opportunities so that not one country can monopolize or control the global market.
There is a thin line when it comes to economic diplomacy and military presence, so in regards to the currency value of the Chinese Yuan/Renminbi, the Obama administration has used strategic requests to the World Trade Organization and United Nations to sanction China on purposely keeping their currency low. These formal accusations were discussed early this year between President Obama and President Hu Jintao.
There has been a consensus among the world leaders to use fair trading practices to help benefit all the countries especially in the delicate market of Asia Pacific. In this regards, even though the move is controversial, President Obama has ramped up military presence in the Pacific to police the trade waters and to secure areas where there were less American presence in previous years.
These movements have alarmed China and Japan in particular but with the WTO and UN backing some of the agreements, Obama is hoping China welcomes some of the military help not as a threat to China’s national interests but a welcomed ally to settle any disputes in international waters with the recent troubles with Japan and other regional issues that arise.
President Obama said that he was pleased to see the “peaceful rise of China” and hoped to continue to support China in its currency matters to ensure a more balanced way of doing commerce. (US Policy 2012) In May of this year, China let the renminbi hit a low of 0.9 exchange value versus the dollar. China contends the economy was slowing “sharply” thus had no choice but to try to boost its exports as a way of mending some of the bleeding (NYTimes May, 2012) This has caused much headache for the United States because its trade deficit with China has gone over $290 billion dollars last year.
The Obama administration has pressed hard for three years to let the renminbi to appreciate at a faster rate than it has been. Europe also has had some struggles with this fact because for China lowering the currency allows for competitive trade in exports but brings up the cost for imports so there is less competition inside China so its citizens benefit while other countries do not. In any case, Obama is trying to build lasting bridges of mutual respect so that in the long run, the peaceful rise will end with a peaceful future. In a sense, I believe every country must make its own interests ahead of the world to secure its citizens every benefit that is known to man.
But, on the other side, without a world, it is hard for a country to reap the benefits of trade if everyone increases tariffs or lowers their currency. This is a double-edge sword that does not have an easy solution so I understand both sides and that no country is living in a vacuum. There are a quite a bit of complexities and consequences to consider and I believe there will be a mutual success in this issue.
Concerning Human Capital, the Obama Administration has also pressed hard to improve the human rights issues in China in terms of economic policies to benefit workers and their family situations. Historically, having the highest population at a staggering figure of over $1.3 billion people, the human labor supply is more than available at any given moment. Thus, United States especially has outsourced countless manufacturing companies and jobs to China. This reality the President clearly stated will not change anytime in the future so this must be an accepted reality. (Ivaneishvili 2012) So, the Obama administration has sharply criticized China for their lack of enforcement and laws to deal with such violations.
But, this criticism as the State Department states applies to the United States as well, but the United States has laws to deal with this issues so the criticism is being put in a way not to outfight offend Chinese policies but to encourage an increase in the priority of the Chinese government to follow up actions to remedy the situation (Berg 2012). The State Department also applauded China for the actions that China already has taken to ensure better working conditions and labor rates. This issue hurts at the heart of any country because human capital affects the very lives each person is trying to save. The truth of the matter in my opinion is that every country does have gross human rights issues. The problems in China are magnified and pressed by most countries because of the sheer number of human labor that exists in China.
Thus, as China continues to rise and become an economic superpower as it is becoming, those concerns will be dealt with because the people inside will and cannot stand for harsh living conditions. But, this is also the crux of the matter because if the people inside working in those factories do not care, how will the bosses ever face the truth and do something about it. Moreover, the Chinese government must also take steps to allow unions to form and protest to go on even though that might be against the government itself. As long as peaceful protests are taking place, a mutually healthy society with certain liberties will allow for better conditions all around. The sanctions or false accusations only lead to more difficult climate for genuine diplomacy to take place.
The Obama Administration has done their best to limit some of the criticisms, instead, suggesting some ideas and working out plausible solutions to ensure the embassies on the ground in China can be an instrument to help both sides make the right judgments and calls on the spot for every situation that may arise (Berg 2012). Countries are going to continue to outsource jobs into China because of such cheap labor. In this sense, Americans can obtain ever increasingly cheaper products while China gains more jobs for its citizens. I do not see any reason for not forming better political allies in this respect.
Lastly, there has been heated contention on the political issues vis-à-vis North Korea, Iran, and Taiwan that affect the globe economically. President Obama and his administration have recently sanctioned some banks in China that have allegedly used to fund certain radical Muslim groups and Iranian nuclear proliferation aims.
The Chinese government certainly denies any wrongdoing on the part of the government and so that is not the issue (NYTimes 2012). There is no doubt China and India have become large consumers of oil and natural resources over the last few years have shifted the market that oil and coal producers desperately needed (Chang 2012). Iran and the Middles East supply most of the oil for China while America has supplied a lot of the coal for China. The rate of increase is at a huge figure of 8% a quarter growth.
That is a huge supply. This type of consumption has been a blessing for many number of countries including the United States so the Obama Administration on these terms are delicate to file complaints on behalf of International Labor Unions, but he has to his credit. On the other hand, many countries including China appreciate American presence but not American intervention. To connect to two issues, some of China’s unilateral policies with these countries affect national security and oil prices in America.
Thus, the two are irrevocably tied together. It is not only China but Russia as well. The State Department has taken certain measures to cut the finances of certain groups or countries that have ties to terrorist organizations and nuclear goals. North Korea has been one of the countries that China seems to be passive towards. President Obama has been careful to be too unilateral or assertive in these matters but with the recent change in power in North Korea and the upcoming elections in Iran, there is a vested interest in the Obama administration to secure a more peaceful region in Asia and the Middle East. The purpose of terror is to disable and terrorize Western populations as a whole so the pressure from Americans and other Western countries to secure the Middle East has set a fire to Obama’s more multilateral approach (Obama 2012).
The research is not there for an easy explanation for these events and situations. I can see why China continues to have relationships with Russia and Iran. I can also speculate why the continued help to North Korea. Most of these countries do sit right on the border of China so that reason is obvious to keep your friends close and enemies closer, but that is just it. I do feel they are enemies of China rather mutual partners. I think this is what America and Obama worries about.
I believe the best ways to go about this for both countries are for more transparent policies without fine print. Relationships cannot be built on lies and deception and in my fair and balanced view, there has been plenty of that from both sides, so it is important to be transparent and open in the discussions to help liberty and economic success to grow. In this way, a peaceful China and peaceful Middle East helps everyone prosper.
In conclusion, President Obama and his administration have embarked on a different path from the previous administration because of the new world order that we all face in the world. Conciliatory as a method for foreign policy has been an effective means to not isolate one country over another. In other terms, using multilateral agreements and combined pressures have made progress in China. I believe one taste of liberty, any person or group cannot wait for more so as China grows economically, it is the best interest of both countries to help one another in terms of currency, human rights, and political allies incidentally natural resources.
The growth of China in recent years has been tremendous and there is so much room for it to grow more. Internally, Obama has repeated that the people in China as consumers need to consume more (US Policy 2012). This goes without saying and I believe that is happening in China. President Barack Obama is up for re-election and I am not sure who is going to win but there have been pretty strong words in regards to China and foreign policy so this paper is an interesting and important topic of study.
The economist writes “Chasing the Anti-China Vote” as an article to speak of the elections. But, I happen to agree with Obama that outsourcing and manufacturing in China is there to stay so the way forward is not unilateral changes or demands. I believe China does need America’s presence in the pacific as a police figure to help. It is similar to the situations at the turn of the 20th century. China did not accept then, and I do not believe China will accept now but surely, there will have to be some compromises made on each side and I for one look forward to healthier and brighter future for both populations since I am a product of both.
Works Cited Berg, Rebecca. "In Meetings, U.S. Presses Beijing on Rights." The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 July 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. . Chang, Gordon G. "How China Will Restructure the Oil Market." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 June 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. . "Chasing the Anti-China Vote." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. . "Obama Foreign Policy Doctrine: Preparing America to Succeed in Multipolar World | IVANEISHVILI | Journal of Social Sciences." Obama Foreign Policy Doctrine: Preparing America to Succeed in Multipolar World | IVANEISHVILI | Journal of Social Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. . "Obama's Rudderless China, Russia Policy." â Global Public Square. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. .
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