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Scrutiny
  
The undergrad!
China calls Obama that, and more
19/02/2009

The first cut was when President Obama compared communism (read obliquely, ‘China’) with fascism and America’s hard struggle to fight against communists in his inaugural speech, saying, “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions”; and the second was when Timothy Geithner, newly selected Treasury Secretary of Obama’s administration, made strong comments and accusations targeting China as the ‘currency manipulator’. Unfortunately, at a time when both countries desperately need to strengthen relations to work together amidst the deep unending crisis, this seems to have a very wrong signal ahead of them. Looking at the past, US has been soft on China. Even on the currency issue, Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary, despite making continuous visits to China, all but failed to send a strong message to China on revaluation. Although the American government comes up with a list of currency manipulators every six months – and US negotiates with them strictly for a fair currency mechanism – Bush cryptically never put the name of China on that list. China has also been taking advantage of its controlled rate strategy to devalue its currency against the dollar in a bid to boost its exports at the cost of American manufacturers.

The only sticky point now is, Obama is not seemingly in a mood to relent even an inch and wants to force China to correctly value its currency. Compared to this, China’s reaction over Obama – ranking him an undergraduate in the global political scene and clarifying that all American Presidents make similar mistakes after immediately being sworn into office – clearly shows China has no intentions to listen to Obama. Given the fact that US has its largest trade deficit with China, it’s clear that Obama is treading a precarious line as non-cooperation by China in trade can further destabilise the already tottering US economy; consequently the whole world. Will the undergrad Obama blink first? One suspects he already has...

By:- Akram Hoque
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