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Bloomberg to America: Stop Blaming China

9 Nov 2010

In an interesting move, during his trip to Hong Kong this weekend, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent a strong message to his fellow Americans: Stop blaming China for our problems.

This message comes directly after a hotly contested midterm election in the US during which troubles with the economy were at least partly blamed on China — by members of both parties. Making China a scapegoat, or playing into the fear of a rising China were all common political tactics used by those on both sides of the aisle this election season.The elections aside, rhetoric that seemingly could lead to a trade war or a currency war has been on the rise in both countries, with the US threatening sanctions against Chinese imports in response to Chinese manipulation of the renminbi.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“I think in America, we’ve got to stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else and take a look at ourselves,” he said.

Earlier, in an interview, the mayor was deeply, undiplomatically critical of provincialism and populism in U.S. Congress.

“If you look at the U.S., you look at who we’re electing to Congress, to the Senate—they can’t read,” he said. “I’ll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports. We’re about to start a trade war with China if we’re not careful here,” he warned, “only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is.”

All of this raises many questions. The mayor’s remarks will certainly earn him some criticism in the US from the right wing of the Republican Party, as his comments seem to take direct aim at the Tea Party. Don’t expect Fox News to go easy on him. Luckily, the most ignorant member of the Tea Party when it comes to China (or anything really) did not get elected. Even so, there are still some extreme voices in both parties that play the China blame game.

But despite the criticism he is sure to receive, Bloomberg could be very appealing to many moderate Republican, independent voters, and moderate Democrats, if he ever decides to run for a higher public office. After all, that’s how he got elected mayor of NYC. Bloomberg certainly has the money to launch such a campaign, and his moderate views, unlike those of his predecessor, make him a very attractive candidate to voters. The Chinese would certainly welcome any candidate that doesn’t make them the scapegoat of America’s problems.

[via WSJ]

Tyler Gibson attends Middlebury College, where he is finishing a degree in International Politics and Economics with a focus in Chinese. Follow him on Twitter.

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