Tag Archives: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Back to Blogging: Some Things I've Missed

After almost two months in China (Friday makes it official), I’ve settled in to a rhythm of life in Beijing and I think it’s time to revive this site. I’ve missed a lot of news, which is OK with me. In the future, this blog will be less news-oriented (though as a journalist I can’t imagine I’ll leave it all behind). I’m also still working on a new format and identity for the site which I think will fit my interests. But for now, let’s just review some of the things I’ve missed in the last two months.

In no particular order:

  • As we all know by now, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is finished. I’ve found Observing Japan to be the best source for detailed news on the selection of Fukuda Yasuo as the next prime minister. Most recently, the tireless blogger-scholar behind OJ gives us analysis of how Fukuda has made some peace in the party by appointing faction-heads to the cabinets.
  • Very little has been said about China in the U.S. presidential contest over the last few months, but …
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s trouble with a fugitive donor changed triggered some conservative criticism of her and her husband’s connections to Chinese (really, Chinese-American) money. See here for a representative example. I wrote about Clinton’s most prominent statement on China so far in this election cycle back in March.
  • A recent violent roundup of black drug dealers and many other innocent black people in Beijing brought disquiet in the expat community. Though I was in the area the same night, I left too early to see it first hand. A first report came from Jen Brea, and a later, more detailed one from Chris O’Brien. A Newsweek blog has another first-hand account from an expat who was forced to delete photos of the event.
  • A correspondent in Kyushu e-mailed with some interesting survey results (via Japan Probe and Jun Okumura, another great blogger on recent political developments).
    • In a survey of Chinese, 78 percent saw Japan as a threat, followed closely by 75 percent perceived a U.S. threat.
    • Forty-six percent of both South Koreans and Japanese saw China as a threat, and more than 70 percent of both of those populations saw North Korea as a threat.
  • W. David Marx and friends launched Néojaponisme, an online journal that will eventually supplant Marxy’s Néomarxisme “post-blog.” I highly recommend the first week-long series, a detailed and interesting interview with Patricia Steinhoff, a sociologist and professor at University of Hawaii who has studied student radicalism in Japan with some of the best sourcing around. Start reading here. And I’m not just plugging this because you’ll see my work on the site in the future as a contributor from Beijing.

That’s all for now.

Hillary Brings China Into '08 U.S. Presidential Contest

How issues involving China will play in the 2008 U.S. presidential election is yet mostly uncharted territory, but Senator Hillary Clinton revealed revealed some China talking points this week after the Shanghai market’s burp heard round the world.

Sounding bells of economic populism, Clinton told CNBC the United States faces a “slow erosion of our economic sovereignty.” She sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, saying the stock market turbulence “underscores the exposure of our economy to economic developments in countries like China. As we have been running trade and budget deficits, they have been buying our debt and in essence becoming our banker.” Her letter went on to warn the government’s economic czars that “if China or Japan made a decision to decrease their massive holdings of U.S. dollars, there could be a currency crisis and the U.S. would have to raise interest rates and invite conditions for a recession.” (A nice sound bite from the letter: “The writing may not be on the wall, but yesterday, the writing was on the Big Board.”)

An unnamed “Democratic strategist not currently working for any of the presidential contenders” (well, not that he admits) told MSNBC that China may be a liability for Clinton:

“Arguably, no candidate may be more vulnerable on China, and Wal-Mart than Senator Clinton,” he said. Why? Because she once served as a member of Wal-Mart’s board of directors and because, as president, her husband persuaded Congress in 2000 to award China with permanent normal trade relations status and smooth the accession of China to the World Trade Organization.

But if the mood of the electorate in 2008 is anti-China, other Democratic presidential contenders would have their own China history to contend with: as senators, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden all voted for the Clinton administration’s China trade deal.

So what’s the policy message? How is the U.S. to get out of this bind? Clinton’s letter to Bernanke and Paulson and her public statements (as far as MSNBC and I have found) have been short on details, but she did endorse a plan by “Senator Dorgan and then Congressman Cardin that sounds an alarm bell when US foreign owned debt reaches 25 percent of GDP or the trade deficit reaches 5% of GDP. It would require the administration to develop a plan of action to address these conditions, and report their findings to Congress.”

OK great. The solution is to require someone else to come up with the solution. Sloughing off responsibility from Congress onto the executive branch may look good when you’re running for reelection as a senator from the great state of New York, but people concerned with her China background are going to need more from Clinton if she wants to run the executive. Not that anyone else is giving us much to go on so far. Not to worry! We’ve got 10 more months of this clown show before the primaries.