'Currency manipulator' accusation not helping US
Updated: 2012-10-17 16:32
BEIJING -- US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a face-off with President Barack Obama at their second debate on Tuesday night, repeated word by word his vow to tag China as a "currency manipulator" if elected.
If "President Romney" was determined to keep his words by throwing punitive tariffs against Chinese products exported to the US market on Day One, then China perhaps would be forced to fight back, and then his administration would be very likely to be on its way to a global trade war.
Such a scenario would ultimately bury his other promises, not least the one to jumpstart the sluggish US economic growth.
It has already been proved numerous times that forcing China's currency to appreciate would by no means turn the US economy around and help create new jobs.
Meanwhile, it is the force of globalization that has moved many of the manufacturing jobs out of the United States, and China is not the only destination of these outsourced low-paying, labor-intensive American jobs. So why blame China?
For months, with these groundless accusations targeting China, it seems that the two nominees, instead of running for president of the United States, are competing for the championship of getting tough on China.
Even former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an old China hand, has recently criticized the two candidates for their "extremely deplorable" China-bashing talks, saying he is opposed to Romney's promise to label China as a currency manipulator.
Over the past several months, Romney has worked pretty hard to portray himself as a steadfast China-basher, trumpeting the ill-grounded theory between American jobs and Chinese currency.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration, as if fearing to be outshone in the China-hitting game, has recently rolled out a series of protectionist measures against Chinese products and investment.
In fact, there are plenty of other US politicians who have built their political popularity and career by chastising the Chinese government and its policies instead of locating the true causes of their country's social and economic problems and seeking constructive solutions.
In order to get elected, they seem never to bother exercising even a bit of statesmanship, and instead are willing to do or say anything to please their constituents no matter what a serious consequence it might entail.
What is worth noting is that US politicians have a notorious record of rounding on China during election seasons and then quickly changing their course of action after taking office.
However, these chameleonic politicians should not always expect that the wounds they have inflicted to the China-US ties would heal automatically.
At present, when Washington is anxiously trying to spur its slack economic growth and slash its stubbornly high unemployment rates, it is perhaps better for these flip-flopping politicians to spend a little more time handling their own problems and a little less time scapegoating China, as their China-blaming tricks would by no means bring to the United States any substantial benefit and might eventually backfire.
To US companies and entrepreneurs, China is still one of the world's most vibrant and lucrative markets, a fact Romney should have a very good understanding of. Moreover, China's rapid economic expansion will continue to create rich business opportunities.
And if the China-US ties are allowed to be consumed by the zero-sum and near-sighted US partisan politics, American businesses, including those that used to bring businessman Romney substantial profits, would be among the first to suffer.
It is hoped that whoever will serve as the next US president would cease to blame China for his country's domestic problems.