T Nation

Last Debate: 10/22/2012

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

One thing I’d like to put in before the debate: Romney talking about branding China a currency manipulator is beyond stupid. A good case could’ve been made about six years ago, but China has actually improved dramatically on this front and as Ezra Klein pointed out in the Post today is actually doing a better job than Singapore and even to some degree Japan. And what does Romney want to do? Hurl something that really accomplishes nothing and serves no purpose other than a big international insult, and then what? The next natural step is to impose tariffs on Chinese goods. And then next natural step after that is for China to impose tariffs on American goods. And then we have a trade war. Smart economic policy.[/quote]

The difference is that Japan and Singapore are bona fide allies - China is not - and the econommics can’t be separated from the politics. And, China, because of its size and scope, isn’t like Japan or Singapore - China’s currency advantage causes massive disruption in the “fair” flow of goods in a way that Japan’s does not. It’d be similar to comparing the trangressions of Goldman Sachs to a regional bank - even if the regional bank engaged in worse behavior than Goldman Sachs on paper, the impact of Goldman Sachs’s transgressions would have more significance.

The China issue also plays well with blue-collar-Reagan-Democrat types in the old Rust belt states - and for good reason.

China is also easy prey, given the strong opinions on it, because Obama has boxed himself in and cannot credibly complain about China at this point (since he hasn’t for 4 years).[/quote]

I understand that China’s size and ambivalence toward America make this different form when Japan does it. And I clearly see the political benefit of China-bashing.

But are you really arguing that it’s a good idea to walk into the White House on day one and brand our economic rival/codependent a currency manipulator?

Again–China has gotten MUCH better on this issue. How can that fact go unacknowledged? And again: if we’re sincere about this, the next logical step is tariff imposition.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

One thing I’d like to put in before the debate: Romney talking about branding China a currency manipulator is beyond stupid. A good case could’ve been made about six years ago, but China has actually improved dramatically on this front and as Ezra Klein pointed out in the Post today is actually doing a better job than Singapore and even to some degree Japan. And what does Romney want to do? Hurl something that really accomplishes nothing and serves no purpose other than a big international insult, and then what? The next natural step is to impose tariffs on Chinese goods. And then next natural step after that is for China to impose tariffs on American goods. And then we have a trade war. Smart economic policy.[/quote]

The difference is that Japan and Singapore are bona fide allies - China is not - and the econommics can’t be separated from the politics. And, China, because of its size and scope, isn’t like Japan or Singapore - China’s currency advantage causes massive disruption in the “fair” flow of goods in a way that Japan’s does not. It’d be similar to comparing the trangressions of Goldman Sachs to a regional bank - even if the regional bank engaged in worse behavior than Goldman Sachs on paper, the impact of Goldman Sachs’s transgressions would have more significance.

The China issue also plays well with blue-collar-Reagan-Democrat types in the old Rust belt states - and for good reason.

China is also easy prey, given the strong opinions on it, because Obama has boxed himself in and cannot credibly complain about China at this point (since he hasn’t for 4 years).[/quote]

I understand that China’s size and ambivalence toward America make this different form when Japan does it. And I clearly see the political benefit of China-bashing.

But are you really arguing that it’s a good idea to walk into the White House on day one and brand our economic rival/codependent a currency manipulator?

Again–China has gotten MUCH better on this issue. How can that fact go unacknowledged? And again: if we’re sincere about this, the next logical step is tariff imposition.[/quote]

Pretty sure this is like obama saying he would end NAFTA in 2008. Total BS, and someone in the romney camp will call China on day one and assure them of this, just like with Obama in 08…

[quote]smh23 wrote:

But are you really arguing that it’s a good idea to walk into the White House on day one and brand our economic rival/codependent a currency manipulator?[/quote]

Me? Apart from political optics, I don’t think it is substantively a bad idea. But I think establishing “free” trade with China years ago was an incredible strategic mistake on the part of the US.

This is one area where I don’t mind some blunt talk very early in an administration. There won’t be an immediate trade war - like any complicated topic with massive international repercussions, such a declaration will be symbolic and open a dialogue and negotiation on the issue. But it would start budging the status quo, which is unacceptable.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

But are you really arguing that it’s a good idea to walk into the White House on day one and brand our economic rival/codependent a currency manipulator?[/quote]

Me? Apart from political optics, I don’t think it is substantively a bad idea. But I think establishing “free” trade with China years ago was an incredible strategic mistake on the part of the US.

This is one area where I don’t mind some blunt talk very early in an administration. There won’t be an immediate trade war - like any complicated topic with massive international repercussions, such a declaration will be symbolic and open a dialogue and negotiation on the issue. But it would start budging the status quo, which is unacceptable. [/quote]

But the status quo is already moving in the right direction, more each year, and this would surely risk a setback to that progress.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

But the status quo is already moving in the right direction, more each year, and this would surely risk a setback to that progress.[/quote]

I trust China to do the “right thing” - i.e., move in the “right direction” - about as far as I can throw China. The only “right thing” in China’s mind is what benefits China and improves China’s international mission of enlarging its scope of power - and floating its currency in the name of “fair” economics on a level trading playing field does not.

Obama was (and is) naive on China, but so was Bush and Clinton. Surprisingly, I think Romney has a chance to offer something different (and better) here. Romney appears to understand the China of the real world, as opposed to the abstraction.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
The consensus seems to be that foreign policy matters little. I do agree that economic and domestic matters are more important in this election, but the electorate (very rightly) demands that the nuclear codes end up in rational and competent hands. A gaffe tonight could certainly be costly for either candidate, and more so for Romney because this is in many ways his first venture into the arena of international politics.

Edit: On a personal note, if Mitt Romney makes level-headed calls tonight and avoids the apology tour nonsense, he will not have earned my vote but he will have taken my vote away from Obama over the course of the three debates. I will stay home on election day unless I feel like a Romney victory poses a threat to our national security (doubtful).[/quote]

Well, at least your heading in the right direction.

TB:

Isn’t it true that the Chinese tend to be a bit more pragmatic…therefore will negotiate (to a degree; CERTAINLY much better than any Middle Eastern Jihadist)?

What I understand is that they HATE to be publically “called-to-the-carpet” (which recently happened with the Blind dissident…I can’t remember his name).

I guess what I’m asking is isn’t “behind-the-scenes/non-public” negotiation always better with the Chinese?

Mufasa

Chen Guangcheng.

Mufasa

Yeah, but Monday night football! I’ll read the analysis on who won tomorrow.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

Isn’t it true that the Chinese tend to be a bit more pragmatic…therefore will negotiate (to a degree; CERTAINLY much better than any Middle Eastern Jihadist)?

What I understand is that they HATE to be publically “called-to-the-carpet” (which recently happened with the Blind dissident…I can’t remember his name).

I guess what I’m asking is isn’t “behind-the-scenes/non-public” negotiation always better with the Chinese?[/quote]

Well, I think you’ve hit both points, and they aren’t mutually exclusive - using China’s discomfort with the public eye on their activities is precisely the catalyst to get some behind-the-scenes negotiation going. The Chinese powers are sensitive to global criticism - so, use that sensitivity to nudge them in a certain direction.

I don’t think noisy bluster is useful here, but I do think that China needs a dose of big-boy-pants diplomacy and international relations. China needs to learn that its actions produce consequences, and not all of these consequences will be tolerated. Romney - again, surprisingly, I didn’t expect it from him - has shown an interest in being tough on China. Someone in the West needs to be.

While I agree with most of the analysis here regarding this debate’s relative unimportance in the grand scheme of things, I think both candidates will be coming to fight hard tonight and I do believe that the winner, if there is one, will go home with a serious prize.

The race is extremely close, so neither candidate should feel comfortable playing this one to a draw. President Obama is in many ways still struggling back from his sleepy performance in Denver, and he should be seriously worried about some of the trends in the national tracking polls.

For his part, Mitt Romney probably has even more to worry about. If the election were held today and the polls ended up being accurate in their guesses of voter turnout and behavior, Romney would probably lose MIchigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio and therefore the election.

In other words, both candidates in a sense have their backs to the wall. In an election this close and with the electorate sliced up in such a rigid manner, any minds you change count. Both candidates have a lot to gain and a lot to lose tonight. It doesn’t matter that the issues won’t be the ones keeping undecideds up at night: a victory is a victory and the scale seems to be at such a precarious balance right now that any little bit could tip the whole thing.

I will say that while I expect Obama to win (Romney’s strength is the economy-so far he has been relatively unimpressive on foreign affairs), Romney absolutely has the most to gain here. The president is pretty much, aside from Libya, expected to win according to many.

IF Romney can come across as level headed, confident, and not get caught in a gaffe of some kind, I think he will be the winner, regardless of what polls say about who “wins” the debate…if that makes sense to everyone? Obama is expected (especially after coming across as stronger in the last debate-moderation issues aside) to be much stronger here, but with the prep they have both put in, I feel as though that gap will close.

What is interesting is how Romney will approach Obama’s strong response he showed in the last debate about Libya. I would love to see a good back and forth here with substantive points, but both sides have “red buttons” to push to muddle the whole affair if they feel this issue is slipping away. Whenever something gets this hyped, I feel it usually ends up becoming a mess of soundbites sadly…

At the end of the day though, I guarantee this is the least influential debate-Monday Night Football will kill a lot of interest and most people will get the processed “news” fed to them by their media source of choice…

LULZ at Van Jones on CNN, Christ Almighty these people could be no further up Obama’s ass to the point where one cannot distinguish where he starts and Obama ends.

Damn Libya 1st…that’s surprising.

ZING!!

[quote]MaximusB wrote:
LULZ at Van Jones on CNN, [/quote]

Van Jones is a douchebag, and the fact CNN pays him to speak on camera is an embarrassment.

Last debate he was talking about “look at social media, look at twitter. The binder comment hurts romney in this election”. Some old fucker was looking at him like “you are a dickhead with no idea what you are talking about. The typical twitter user is a 28 year old woman with an iPhone, middle age people out vote that demographic like 40%”

I lol’ed at the old man’s face as Van buried himself.

12 mins in and o is hammering him on flip/flop and studdering like a mofo.

I like romney “attacking me is not an agenda”

Obama just knocked it out of the park on military spending.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Obama just knocked it out of the park on military spending. [/quote]

I thought he sounded like a dick.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Obama just knocked it out of the park on military spending. [/quote]

True, but he fucked up when he admits that military spending went up in the past 4 years, so how is he better than Romney in this regard ?