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|Mitt Romney dropped his nominal free-market stance to demonize Chinese currency practices. He complained about currency manipulation and forced technology transfers: “China seeks advantage through systematic exploitation of other economies.”|
On day one as president he promises to designate “China as the currency manipulator it is.” Moreover, he added, he would “take a holistic approach to addressing all of China’s abuses. That includes unilateral actions such as increased enforcement of U.S. trade laws, punitive measures targeting products and industries that rely on misappropriations of our intellectual property, reciprocity in government procurement, and countervailing duties against currency manipulation. It also includes multilateral actions to block technology transfers into China and to create a trading bloc open only for nations genuinely committed to free trade.”
Romney’s apparent belief that Washington is “genuinely committed to free trade” is charming nonsense. The U.S. has practiced a weak dollar policy to increase exports. Washington long has subsidized American exports: the Export-Import Bank is known as “Boeing’s Bank” and U.S. agricultural export subsidies helped torpedo the Doha round of trade liberalization through the World Trade Organization. [...]
If Mitt Romney really believes that the world today is so much more dangerous than during the Cold War, he should spell out the threat. He calls Islamic fundamentalism, the Arab Spring, the impact of failed states, the anti-American regimes of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, rising China, and resurgent Russia “powerful forces.” It’s actually a pitiful list — Islamic terrorists have been weakened and don’t pose an existential threat, the Arab Spring threatens instability with little impact on America, it is easier to strike terrorists in failed states than in nominal allies like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, one nuclear-armed submarine could vaporize all four hostile states, and Russia’s modest “resurgence” may threaten Georgia but not Europe or America. Only China deserves to be called “powerful,” but it remains a developing country surrounded by potential enemies with a military far behind that of the U.S.