China is a sovereign nation – not the backyard of the United States

American politicians including Barack Obama need not lecture China on how to manage its sovereignty and pilot its destiny.

By Manzie Vincent Doh

Barack Obama

BEIJING–(September23—M4Relay)– President Obama increased pressure on China to immediately revalue its currency on Thursday, devoting most of a two-hour meeting with China’s prime minister to the issue and sending the message, according to one of his top aides, that if “the Chinese don’t take actions, we have other means of protecting U.S. interests” reported the New York Times.

“Democrats in Congress are threatening to pass legislation before the midterm elections that would slap huge tariffs on Chinese goods to undermine the advantages Beijing has enjoyed from a currency, the Renminbi…” the report added.

The report headlined “With Warning, Obama Presses China on Currency,” cited Mr. Obama’s aides who said he was embracing the threat of tariffs and new trade actions against China at the World Trade Organization to gain some leverage over the Chinese.”

This report by the New York Times show how disrespectful American leaders and politicians can be to a sovereign nation. In the first lines of the report, China is told to “immediately” revalue its currency. Is the People’s Republic of China a backyard or a garage to the United States? President Obama displayed utter disrespect in addressing a nation that has the second largest economy in the world; a nation that has its own leadership, a nation with the largest population on earth, a nation that equally has to take care of its citizens and protect the interests of the people. Obama sounded as if he was giving instructions to a pupil.

The United States president also said that if “the Chinese don’t take actions we have other means of protecting U.S. interests.” Who told President Obama that China does not equally have its own interests that need to be protected?

According to the New York Times, “the unusual focus on this single issue [currency] at such a high level was clearly an effort by the White House to make the case that Mr. Obama was putting American jobs and competitiveness at the top of the agenda….” Does this mean that China should not also put Chinese jobs and competitiveness at the top of their own agenda? Definitely, just as the United States leadership is putting American jobs and competitiveness at the top of the agenda, so too, Chinese jobs and competitiveness need to be put at the top of the agenda. The Chinese currency issue as it is revolves also around the fact that the competitive nature of Chinese exports is assured and more workers will maintain their jobs.

As one Chinese official may have rightly speculated shortly after the meeting between the US President and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in a spare conference room at the United Nations on September 23, “Mr. Obama’s insistence on spending so much time on the issue [currency] was motivated by pre-election politics, suggesting that the pressure might abate after early November.”

In the meantime, for fear of not being misunderstood, here are the main points of this article: that the United States and its politicians including the president should not avail themselves as the world police by poking their noses into the policies of other countries; that the United States is not the United Nations and should not unilaterally arrogate to itself the role of a spokesperson for the rest of the world; that the United States and its politicians should not lecture China or any other country on Earth on how to manage its sovereignty and pilot its destiny; that even if the United States falls into the temptation and commits the sin of poking its nose into the affairs of other country (whether national or international), the US should be polite in its tone; that the US need not consider a sovereign nation like China told be a backyard wherein the US leadership can just stand up one morning and issue an ultimatum by setting deadlines during which a certain action must be carried out.

China should be respected. The issue of the Chinese currency appreciation should be handled with respect. The United States should not rush China, nor threaten China in this issue. Dialogue, and as Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao pointed out, the country’s option for a gradual “reform” of China’s currency policy should be considered and respected.

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