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Why is Washington's China rhetoric growing harsher?
Howard Richman, 6/20/2010

Chinese-business advisor Benjamin A. Shobert has an interesting commentary in the Asia Times which discusses the recent escalation of rhetoric in Washington about Chinese mercantilism. After quoting Senators Charles Schumer and Debbie Stebenow and Representatives Sandy Levin and Tim Ryan, he has an excellent insight into the cause of their increasingly harsh rhetoric:

Against the backdrop of a general economic frustration in the US, it is easy to miss that much of what lies beneath Washington's concerns is not simply Beijing's economic policy but a more general and caustic concern that how China was anticipated to evolve and embrace global rule sets and overall liberalize is not happening, which begs the political question of whether the sacrifice American workers are perceived to have made by opening their markets to China has, in fact, been worth it.

Then he descends into Marxist class warfare rhetoric, giving an alternative explanation:

It has been quite literally several decades since the interests of the working class and the ownership class have been so front and center in Washington as they are now. The still-powerful pro-business lobby will push back against bills like those mentioned earlier, but unless the American economy begins to show additional life, even organizations like the critical Business Roundtable may be ineffective at limiting a political retaliation against China.

Shobert was correct with his first explanation. There are union leaders, corporate CEOs, and intellectuals whose idealistic views about China are now being hit over the head with reality. They are starting to realize that China will not stop beggaring-us until forced to do so.

The debate in the United States is not between the working class and the ownership class. The real debate within the United States is between those who see China as they would like it to be, and those who see it as it really is.

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