Countering most pundits, Mitt Romney writes in an op-ed column published today in The Wall Street Journal
, that a 21st century dominated by Chinese power and influence is not inevitable.
America, because of strengths that China does not have, has competitive advantages that if used properly should guarantee its position as the world's leading superpower throughout the century, the Republican candidate for president said.
"With China's billion-plus population, its 10 percent annual average growth rates, and its burgeoning military power, a China that comes to dominate Asia and much of the globe is increasingly becoming thinkable," Romney writes. "The character of a Chinese government — one that marries aspects of the free market with suppression of political and personal freedom — would become a widespread and disquieting norm."
Romney takes President Barack Obama to task for moving "in precisely the wrong direction." The former Massachusetts governor writes that Obama came into office begging the Chinese to continue buying American debt in order to finance his "profligate spending here at home." That and the Obama administration's timid stance on human-rights abuses in China have encouraged Chinese assertiveness and made allies of the United States question our staying power in Asia.
To meet China's challenge, the United States must restore its strengths by improving its economy, rebuilding the military, and renewing faith in American values, Romney writes in the Journal.
First, the United States must counter "abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation," Romney writes. He says he will not continue an economic relationship, such as that nurtured by the Obama administration, that rewards China's cheating and trade penalties.
"Unless China changes its ways, on day one of my presidency, I will designate it a currency manipulator and take appropriate counteraction. A trade war with China is the last thing I want, but I cannot tolerate our current trade surrender," Romney writes.
Romney prescribes maintaining U.S. military strength to meet the long-term challenge posed by China's dramatic buildup and preserve U.S. military presence in the Pacific.
The United States also must support dissidents in China because, by failing to do so, America emboldens Chinese leaders at the expense of greater liberty. "A nation that represses its own people cannot ultimately be a trusted partner in an international system based on economic and political freedom," Romney writes in the Journal.
Romney says his approach "will ensure that this is an American, not a Chinese, century."
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