Obama's Foreign Policy on China

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President Barack Obama and his administration’s foreign policy toward China can be summed up in one word: conciliatory. Conciliatory is not in the form of any weakness or appeasement, but rather the realization that in the 21st century global market, China is a main player on the world stage. Obama’s foreign policies are a departure from the previous administration. George Bush’s unilateral foreign policies were deemed domineering, even belligerent. From an international standpoint, Anti-American sentiments were at an all-time high during Iraqi War driven years. In America, the domestic stance after 9/11 saw this as an extension of patriotism and commitment. Nowadays, both domestically and internationally, many pundits would argue that Obama’s policy record in China inspires hope and optimism. President Obama is acknowledging the fact of a much more multipolar world exists where America cannot take all of the leadership roles by itself. Yet, at the same time, the world cannot go forward without America. In this respect, China needs a wide open market where they can export all their manufactured goods to consumers worldwide. Thus, it is a mutual benefit for China to have good international relations with other societies to acquire raw materials and sell products to overseas companies. President Obama’s policies toward China reflect a forward marching multilateral approach that deliberates an equal level playing field in terms of economic opportunities so that not one country can monopolize or control the global market.

There is a thin line when it comes to economic diplomacy and military presence, so in regards to the currency value of the Chinese Yuan/Renminbi, the Obama administration has used strategic requests to the World Trade Organization and United Nations to sanction China on purposely keeping their currency low. These formal accusations were discussed early this year between President Obama and President Hu Jintao. There has been a consensus among the world leaders to use fair trading practices to help benefit all the countries especially in the delicate market of Asia Pacific. In this regards, even though the move is controversial, President Obama has ramped up military presence in the Pacific to police the trade waters and to secure areas where there were less American presence in previous years. These movements have alarmed China and Japan in particular but with the WTO and UN backing some of the agreements, Obama is hoping China welcomes some of the military help not as a threat to China’s national interests but a welcomed ally to settle any disputes in international waters with the recent troubles with Japan and other regional issues that arise. President Obama said that he was pleased to see the “peaceful rise of China” and hoped to continue to support China in its currency matters to ensure a more balanced way of doing commerce. (US Policy 2012) In May of this year, China let the renminbi hit a low of 0.9 exchange value versus the dollar. China contends the economy was slowing “sharply” thus had no choice but to try to boost its exports as a way of mending some of the bleeding (NYTimes May, 2012) This has caused much headache for the United States because its trade deficit with China has gone over $290 billion dollars last year. The Obama administration has pressed hard for three years to let the renminbi to appreciate at a faster rate than it has been. Europe also has had some struggles with this fact because for China lowering the currency allows for competitive trade in exports but brings up the cost for imports so there is less competition inside China so its citizens benefit while other countries do not. In any case, Obama is trying to build lasting bridges of mutual respect so that in the long run, the peaceful rise will end with a peaceful future. In a sense, I believe every country must make its own interests ahead of the world to secure its citizens every benefit that is known to man. But, on the...
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