There was something both sad and strange about President Obama’s weak presence in China last week.Nader also quoted the negative comments of David Shambaugh, director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University:
Sad because he arrived with no seeming goals and left empty handed just after visiting the ancient Great Wall, which he said gave him a perspective on time.
Strange because he allowed the Chinese rulers to quarantine his stops from the Chinese people?whether in person or on television. His main public meeting was with young Communist League students who came with scripted questions.
All the outward signs were that Mr. Obama had no cards to play. The U.S. is by far the world’s biggest debtor. It was hard to challenge his Chinese hosts who made crisp mention of our government’s deep deficits and deficit spending. They did not have to describe our weakened economy, its declining dollar and the huge indebtedness that the U.S. has with its Chinese creditors. Everybody knows how rickety America?s global financial situation is.
The failures lay in how the president spent his time in China. Not interacting with Chinese people, not giving an uncensored nationally televised speech, not visiting any civic organizations or businesses, not visiting a wind farm or clean-energy firm, not meeting human rights lawyers or activists, and not meeting with the American business or scholarly community must all be counted as failures. He did not send positive signals in these areas?but the Chinese government did not permit it and the American side did not insist on it.So it is not surprising that Mr. Nader appropriately characterized the Obama trip as "weak-kneed". I don't agree with Nader on a lot of issues. But I have to applaud this article. I am quite certain Nader is on the side of American and American consumers. I must say that I have no idea which side or what side Obama is on. Does anybody know for sure?