The Corner

Romney Talks Tough on China

Mitt Romney is promising to “take China to the mat” over its trade policies, particularly its tariffs and currency manipulation. Let me give you a preview of how that conversation is going to go:

Trade Talks Round 1

Mitt Romney: “I’d like you to change your trade policies.”

Hu Jintao: “No.”


Trade Talks Round 2

Mitt Romney: “I’d like you to change your trade policies.”

Hu Jintao: “No.”


Trade Talks Round 3

Mitt Romney: “I’d like you to change your trade policies.”

Hu Jintao: “No.”

Mitt Romney: “Uh, please?”

Hu Jintao: “No.”

Mitt Romney: “. . .”

Hu Jintao: “I’ll give you a moment to collect your thoughts.”

Mitt Romney: “. . .”

Hu Jintao: “Jeez, this is as embarrassing for me as it is for you. It’s like a ritual. You know, Clinton did the same thing, then Bush, then Obama. It’s like a tradition with you people. Same thing, over and over again. Qiong ze bian, bian ze tong.”

Mr. Romney, in Ohio, did the usual song-and-dance number about China’s currency manipulation, tariffs, etc. Mr. Romney might want to reflect that he’s running for president of the United States of America, which is at the moment involved in one of history’s remarkable episodes of currency manipulation. Perhaps Mr. Romney could give Ben Bernanke a call and have him run through the details.

Much more sensible than Romney’s speech in Ohio is his short video on the same subject, which features a gentleman named Steve Cohen, who runs a manufacturing business, Screen Machine Industries. Mr. Cohen doesn’t much talk about currency manipulation or tariffs. Instead, he talks mostly about the real, legitimate, actionable beef that American firms have with the Chi-Comms: their rampant, degenerate thievery. China is a nation of pickpockets, a crime-wave with a flag. The hijacking of foreign intellectual property by Chinese thieves, including those running businesses connected to the government, ought to be front-and-center in our trade discussions. We should be identifying firms that steal intellectual property and seizing their assets—that’s what government is there to do, after all: protect property. It won’t be easy to do, but it will be worth the effort.

If Mr. Romney wants to go to the mat over something, he should try: Thou shall not steal.

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