Obama’s Evolution to a Tougher Line on China – NYTimes.com

A new tack on China:

“Obama pulled back the veil,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, the president’s chief adviser on China at the time, who was one of those in the room. He added that Mr. Obama’s warning prodded the Chinese president to send a senior diplomat to lean on North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il.

The tense exchange, Mr. Bader and other officials said, was a turning point in the president’s complex relationship with China, a journey that began with hope and accommodation but fell into disillusionment after Beijing started flexing its muscles on trade and military questions and proved to be a truculent partner on a variety of global issues.

via Obama’s Evolution to a Tougher Line on China – NYTimes.com.


7 thoughts on “Obama’s Evolution to a Tougher Line on China – NYTimes.com”

  1. It’s clear that much of this “evolution” is taking place right now in preparation for Nov. 6th (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/us/politics/obama-exploits-familiar-junction-of-policy-and-politics.html?pagewanted=all). This is another example of the nexus of domestic politics and foreign relations. Obama has to look strong on the issue, which is why he’s recently adopted two trade cases against China. The real evolution, though, will be clear if Obama is elected to a second term. Are these trade cases meant to be robust rebukes of Chinese policy, or are they just evidences of political maneuvering (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/business/global/us-files-wto-case-against-china-over-cars.html?pagewanted=all)? The President is making use of every advantage of incumbency right now…yesterday he dedicated Chimney Rock in Colorado as a national monument, a move aimed at garnering voter support in a swing state (would he really take time out of his campaign schedule to honor Chimney Rock if there weren’t inherent benefits?). That’s not to blame Obama–every president seeking reelection has used incumbency to his advantage. It just remains to be seen how stern Obama really will be with China if he gets the opportunity.

  2. The recent American and Chinese involvement, although seemingly calculated into Obama’s campaign, is very necessary. The US/ China relationship is important to maintain but our nation’s stance on Asian nuclear threats should have been discussed in China much earlier.

    On a related note, it is important to remain friendly with Chinese trade. As Obama campaigned in Ohio last week, announcing his WTO complaint to a swing state of car parts manufacturers, Romney said the action should have come earlier. Still, whether early or late, strictness against a powerful China is needed today. While Obama has made the correct step in involving the WTO against possible subsidy violations, it must remain this way. By using the WTO as a vehicle to challenge American concerns, a trade war can be prevented and economic stability between the nations can even increase. The campaign on both sides is using China as a tool but it is important for Americans to understand what is currently going on, why it is important, and what it means to this nation. In 2010 the US exported $1.3 billion-worth of auto parts. Yes, we need jobs, but taking actions against China is a step in a big-picture method to strengthening America and her interests.


  3. As China continues its trajectory of development, there will be increasing tensions between the number one economy (US) and the number two economy (China). The two economies are so intimately linked, that damaging one will inevitably damage the other. They will either put up with each other or seek a divorce where both will be losers. I don’t see the latter happening, except in the election campaigns.

  4. The fact that Japan is such a strong ally of the US makes trying to form alliances with China very tricky. It’s hard to try and keep Japan happy while also trying to engage and form relations with one of their enemies. We’ve done a pretty good job so far and I think Obama has done a pretty good job dealing with it. He started off his presidency trying to be nice with them and form a relationship, then he put the hammer down and said “you need to make some changes if this is gonna work.” An article on Forbes’ website talks about the current struggle over land in the South China Sea between China and Japan. The US flat out told China that if there was ever a military conflict, the US is obligated under treaty to intervene.(http://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenharner/2012/09/23/is-the-u-s-committed-to-defend-the-senkakus-text-of-article-5-of-the-u-s-japan-treaty/) I think it will be pretty hard to strong allies with both Japan and China, but there is a middle ground and I don’t think it’ll be long till we reach it.

  5. It is interesting to me that after so long and so many complaints about President Obama not being aggressive enough with China, that he has chosen now to put his foot down. Obviously, he is trying to improve his image as Election Day looms ever closer. Almost every move he makes at this point must be taken in the context of the election. It is sad to me that our leaders find the need to have to play their cards in a way that will ensure their reelection rather than in a way that will benefit the country immediately.

  6. But why is it that Obama can not seem to “put his foot down” on Iran and the nuclear threat it poses. Why not give Israel a clear answer as to where the U.S. stands on the issue?? If he is gearing towards election day, what card is he playing on taking a firm stance on China yet not Iran?

  7. This has always been Obama’s stance on China, he just hasn’t dare threaten to upset the dragon. This isn’t so much a shift in diplomatic tactics as it is a public acknowledgement of the decline of China. We used to talk every day about how China would take over the world (I even moved to China last summer just to see what it was like). Now it’s clear that this global supremacy may not be much more than smoke and mirrors, and Obama is much more likely to speak his mind.

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