For the purposes of answering the question suggested by the title as done in part 1, I will use the definition of ‘respect’ provided at Vocabulary.com. According to Vocabulary.com, the definition of respect is to ‘regard highly; think much of’. Furthermore, the definition of respect includes ‘to respect one’s judgement’.
Following this initial definition, comes the time to answer the following; does Chinese political leadership respect the current US President? Further, given his position as commander in chief of the world’s greatest military, do Chinese officials pay due attention to the policies and requests of President Obama?
Back when Barrack Obama was running for President, the- then Senator made a number of ambitious, hopeful promises about how he could counter China’s rapid rise to global ascendancy.
In 2008, Senator Obama claimed he would prevent China from further manipulating their currency for trade advantages and would ensure that subsidized Chinese products would not flood US markets.
A 2008 Obama speech in Flint, Michigan epitomized these concerns about Chinese economic activity.
“We cannot stand by while countries manipulate currencies to promote exports, creating huge imbalances in the global economy. We cannot let foreign regulatory policies exclude American products. We cannot let enforcement of existing trade agreements take a backseat to the negotiation of new ones. Put simply, we need tougher negotiators on our side of the table–to strike bargains that are good not just for Wall Street, but also for Main Street. And when I am President, that’s what we will do.”
So, how has ‘Main Street’ coped under the reign of President Obama? How has the Chinese government taken to these audacious claims?
When reasonably considering all the evidence, it appears China has not paid adequate attention to these stated goals of Obama the Presidential candidate.
While in 2008 China was a developing superpower, the China of 2016 is a developed superpower. This is important to note as much of the growth of this increasingly nationalistic, protectionist and aggressive superpower, has occurred under the Obama’s watch.
Despite Obama’s rhetoric, China has continued to dump its products on American soil. Economic relations have only further deteriorated, as evidenced with an increase in the trade deficit with China going from 268 billion dollars in 2008, to 368 billion dollars in 2016.
Accompanied with this burgeoning trade deficit has also been the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, which has continued through the Obama Presidency.
Yes, this higher trade has allowed the United States to receive cheap imports from China. But to argue the equivalency between cheaper goods, versus the economic and social costs of mass unemployment and displacement, decreased international leverage and further reliance on China for resources, is a misleading narrative at best.
Particularly when considering Barrack Obama made one of the hallmarks of his Presidential campaign fighting for ‘Main street’.
And how have the Chinese taken to Obama’s requests that they cease their excessive manipulation of their currency?
Not very kindly. Despite China’s continued rise in the world, it has remained steadfast in manipulating the price of the yuan, through keeping it artificially low to benefit Chinese exports.
The geopolitical circumstances regarding the South China Sea is also a case in which Chinese disregard for the US President has been ever- present.
Throughout the Presidency of Barrack Obama, Obama has continued to call on the Chinese government to stop its construction of artificial islands and military bases in the South China Sea.
But this empty rhetoric has had no impact in deterring Chinese ambitions in the area, an irrefutable sign of weakening US influence under the Obama administration.
This comes despite China’s South China Sea actions intimidating key US allies and even acting in defiance of international law. Such is the state of the weakness and lack of respect for the United States under the leadership of Barrack Obama.
The Chinese theft of US technology is another issue which has continued unabated. Chinese cyber lawlessness is estimated to cost US economy 300 billion dollars a year, as key innovations, products, and intellectual property are routinely plundered by the Chinese government.
Moreover, this rampant cyber crime has continually occurred in contradiction of the wishes of the US president. That China has faced virtually no sanctions whilst disrespect of the United States has continued to mount, is possibly the most common trend in contemporary US- China relations.
The Chinese government has even emboldened to the point in which this rising superpower, feels it can diplomatically insult the US President.
Upon Obama’s arrival in his most recent visit to China, the President was reportedly the target of a diplomatic ‘snub’. After providing a staircase for the Indian, Russian and Brazilian Prime Ministers among others upon their arrivals to China, the leader of the world’s largest economy was not afforded such treatment.
Instead, the US President was left to his own devices to exit his plane, a symbolic indictment on the record of a person claims to have ‘brought respect’ back from the Bush era.
As the Obama Presidency has worn on, so too has the President’s arrogance and complete disregard from life in the real world, separate from the all- encompassing bubble that can consume a Presidency.
Thus, the feckless, weakened and ineffective policies of the US under President Barrack Obama, have weakened American relations with China, a clear sign of the limited respect the Asian powerhouse holds for the current President.