US Elections and China
The 2012 US elections are taking place on Tuesday, 6 November, 2012. President Barack Obama, and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney are facing off in this year’s elections. While the outcome of the elections will have a great impact on the United States and its citizens, it is also of great importance to the global community. What impact, for example, will the outcome of these elections have on the foreign policy of the United States, and on US-China relations in particular? How will each candidate’s outlook on US-China relations influence the political, economical, and cultural ties between what some experts call the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century? We have gathered a selection of articles, links, images, and vocabulary that will support discussion and education of this important and current topic.
- US-China Relations
- National Committee on US-China Relations
- Perspective on the United States-Chinese
- Committee of 100
The National Committee for United States-China Relations (NCUSCR) organizes many events to develop US-China relations. For example, the yearly China Town Hall meeting, which was held this year on Monday, 29 October, 2012. Follow this link to see the webcast, and for more information about this, and other NCUSCR events, visit http://www.ncuscr.org/events.
Watch this video registration of a debate between a Democratic and a Republican representative, about their candidates position on US-China relations.
The US-China Institute at the University of Southern California features a wide range of videos on US-China relations, including this 20-minute video discussing the so-called ‘pivot’ of US military presence. Click here to watch the video.
The following study questions are largely based on material discussed in the links above, but can also be used as a starting point for a broader, more general discussion.
- Why is China, and the position towards US-China relations, such an important topic during the 2012 US presidential elections?
- What is the difference between the Republican and Democratic party position on China? Does it make sense to you in terms of other differences (and similarities) between them?
- In what ways might the outcome of the US presidential election affect the outcome of the Diaoyu Islands dispute between China and Japan? Use historical evidence to argue why each candidate might change current policy, or why not?
- China keeps its currency ‘pegged’ to the dollar, maintaining a specific, set exchange rate, without a free market. This practice is a major talking point on the US campaign trail. Why might it be fair to keep the exchange rate the same? Why might it be unfair? Be sure to include historical evidence in your answers.
- One fear of the future is that China and the United States might get into a trade war, where both sides try to punish the other through the use of tariffs. What are tariffs? What products might each party focus on? What would be the possible results of such a trade war? Focus on both the overall economy, and individual consumers.
- President Obama has been responsible for a “strategic pivot,” in which American soldiers are moved from European allies to Asian allies. Do you think a President Romney would continue this initiative? Why or why not?
- How can the United States promote human rights in China? Should the United States (or other foreign countries) be involved in this issue at all? Why or why not? In what ways might both candidates and parties differ on methods to achieve this goal?
- Why do you think some people use the terms “Panda hugger” and “China basher” to describe the candidates and their respective positions towards China? What do you think these names imply? How would you describe the two candidates in their rhetoric, and their actions?
- During the Cold War, the USSR (now Russia) was our “enemy.” Is China the same kind of enemy today? Explain your answer, using specific examples from economics, history, and politics.
- Do countries need an enemy to maintain a sense of national unity or national identity? Does terrorism work as a national enemy? I.e., the “War on Terror.” When else in history have national enemies been used to unite a nation? Cite specific examples, and describe the results.
The first two images below portray US-China relations, but they seemingly represent two very different views. Discuss how both images represent US-China relations. What are the makers/publishers of these images trying to convey, and why? In your opinion, which image is closer to the actual situation of US-China relations, and why?
|中美关系||Zhōng-Měi guānxì||US-China relations (NP)|
|副总统||fù zǒngtǒng||vice-president (N)|
|投票||tóupiào||to vote (V)|
|选举日||xuǎnjǔ rì||election day (N)|
|民主党||Mínzhǔ dǎng||Democrats (PN)|
|共和国||Gònghé dǎng||Republicans (PN)|
|外交政策||waìjiāo zhèngcè||foreign policy (N)|
|辩论||biànlùn||to debate (V)|
|开幕式||kaīmù shì||inauguration (N)|
|巴拉克 奥巴马||Bālākè Aòbāmǎ||Barack Obama (PN)|
|米特 罗姆尼||Mǐtè Luómǔní||Mitt Romney (PN)|