President Obama, who puts such enormous stock in words, is at his foreign policy worst whenever he has to deal with cultures in which verbal promises aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on. Muslim-ruled nations are the best example of this phenomenon. China is another. The fact that Hu says that he wants to address the trade imbalance between our nations, and says that he wants to make progress on human rights in his country, and says that he doesn’t want to participate in another Cold War – well, none of those statements mean a thing. That’s a difficult concept for any Westerner, and particularly one so naïve as Obama, to wrap their arms around. We are used to believing that when somebody makes a definitive statement, and especially when such a statement is a matter of official policy, the person making that statement is being completely and absolutely truthful. But, as anyone who has spent substantial time in most Muslim and some Asian (including China) nations can tell you, that’s not the way everyone thinks. Words in some cultures are just words: completely valueless utterances that count for nothing against the finality of actual actions.
This actions of this new resurgent Red China are telling. The Dong Feng 21D “carrier killer” missile promises to change the balance of power in the western Pacific theater. The J-20 fighter appears to many to be a creditable, dangerous threat to the United States’ F-22 Raptor. While everyone seems to believe that the Yuan is undervalued and thus continues to hurt the American economy (by denying American access to growing Chinese markets), China hasn’t done anything to restore currency balance and seems decidedly unwilling to do so.
The only way to deal effectively with China is through a position of strength, and that means – as Larry Kudlow has pointed out – through a position of economic strength. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s policies haven’t done a thing to restore America’s economic health, much less make our nation stronger than it was. The United States can still brag the world’s most powerful economy, but every day that our current doldrums continue is another day that the PRC catches up a little bit more. If we don’t face up soon to the fact the fact that our nation’s greatness and influence is defined in large part by its economic health, America may soon find itself relegated to the position of a second-rate power by our erstwhile friend, located half a world away.
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