Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bush Nostalgia ... in Beijing

Most Americans, and a good portion of the rest of the world, are only to happy to see George W. Bush's presidency come to an end. Not everyone is overjoyed, however. The Asia Times points out that at least one Asian power that has benefited greatly from the Bush administration's economic and geopolitical incompetence:

Indeed, as the daunting challenges of an Obama presidency start to hit home, Chinese leaders may be forgiven for some feelings of nostalgia for the outgoing US president. Bush may have fumbled in Afghanistan and miscalculated badly in Iraq and in the "war on terror" in general, all the while alienating traditional European allies. But for the most part, his presidency has been a boon for China, which has continued its relentless rise as a world power under his largely congenial watch.

That "rise" has been largely financed through China's decimation of the U.S. manufacturing base, granted by the U.S.'s suicidal free trade policies, which long pre-date the Bush Administration. However, Bush deserves particular contempt for failing to alter those policies since China's increasing ambitions became especially clear during this decade. The administration continued to turn its head as low-cost Chinese manufacturers (many in league with, or owned by the Chinese military) continued to acquire U.S. manufacturing assets and technological capabilities.

Naturally, the Chinese leadership is sad to see Bush go. After all, he has done so much to advance their interests:

From a Chinese perspective, Bush has been a good steward of the Sino-American relationship. Consider, for example, the Strategic Economic Dialogue the two countries began in 2006 under Bush's secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, the former chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs and a long-time friend of Beijing. One key, if unspoken, agreement of these talks was that the US would mostly look the other way as China manipulated its currency, the yuan, to fuel its export-driven juggernaut of an economy, which has averaged double-digit growth during Bush's tenure.

The Bush administration also blinked as the central government continued to trample on human rights in China. The crackdown was particularly apparent during the buildup to last summer's Olympic Games, when Beijing did its best to eliminate any possibility that its international coming-out party would be marred by the embarrassment of political protests.

The violent response to last March's bloody riots in Tibet was the most visible example of the central government's heavy hand. Outside the international spotlight, however, human-rights activists and even ordinary citizens petitioning their government to address grievances concerning land grabs and corrupt local officials were routinely rounded up and locked up in the past year - with barely a squeak of objection from the Bush administration.

George W. Bush has worked tirelessly to advance the interests of illegal immigrants (especially Latinos), the Chinese, and financiers who foolishly showered loans and credit on people who could never pay it back. And he has done all of that at the expense of the average American, for whom he has always had an abiding contempt.

Now that the Bush Presidential Library is looking for contributions, and has refused to make public the identities of potential donors, one can assume that Chinese will join the Saudis in ponying up a few bucks for their American friend.


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