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Can the 2012 candidates China-bash their way to victory?|
With the 2010 US presidential campaign underway, China has once again become a trump card for the candidates. But their China-bash tactics can hardly help them win the election, according to Michael A. Cohen in a commentary on the website of Foreign Policy on Oct 14, 2011.
In the most recent Republican debate, GOP front-runner Mitt Romney was unabashed in labeling China as a cheater and manipulator of its currency, says Cohen, senior fellow at the American Security Project. He was quoted as saying, "the Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank, taking our currency and taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future." Romney went even further in a Washington Post op-ed, accusing China of seeking "advantage through systematic exploitation of other economies" and stealing American innovations. His remedy: classifying Beijing as a currency manipulator and taking a host of unilateral steps against China, including punitive measures.
But the Chinese currency is hardly a predominant cause of America's economic malaise, argues Cohen. Adam Hersh, an economist at the Center for American Progress (CAP), wrote on Oct. 7, "Policymakers should not pretend ... that tackling the exchange rate issue will be a panacea for our economic growth, jobs, and competitiveness challenges."
CAP's Nina Hachigian also points out it's not that currency valuation is unimportant, but other challenges in the US-China relationship, like improved market access for U.S. products and better intellectual-property protections, need to be addressed.
Devin Stewart, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council and longtime Asia watcher, believes that the right direction for US would be to focus on spurring innovation at home and building social infrastructure rather than making China into a global bad guy.