Monday, July 16, 2012
Why Making China ‘The Boogeyman’ Won’t Work
This seems to be the case when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (both Democrats), House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) and several other Senators and Congressmen loudly condemned the U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to use China-made clothing designed by Ralph Lauren, a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee, for the London Olympics. Senator Harry Reid even called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to burn China-made uniforms.
These American politicians may think bashing China during hard times in the U.S. before an election is good political strategy. By showing America’s unemployed workers that they feel their pain, they could get their votes in November. In reality, however, the same politicians must know that blaming China for America’s economic woes will not alleviate the suffering of ordinary Americans.
To be sure, Congress has a constitutional right to weigh in on American foreign policy and its past intervention in matters related to Washington’s China policy, when conducted in close cooperation with the White House, occasionally produced positive effects on U.S.-China relations. But seizing China-made uniforms for Team USA as a political issue and using irresponsible, if not hysterical, rhetoric to inflame public opinion not only justifies the contempt of Congress held by people in the U.S. and around the world, but also undermines America’s long-term China strategy.
Such gratuitous China-bashing is, needless to say, hypocritical. The loss of blue-collar workers in general, and workers in the textile industry in particular, is caused primarily by technological progress and market forces, and not by China. Even if Team USA’s uniforms were not made in China, they would be made in Vietnam, Indonesia, or India, but not in North Carolina.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 5:53 PM