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Obama holding first White House dinner for China in 13 years

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"Some big questions remain: Who will cook?"

I think they should order take out.

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"Wednesday's opulent, black-tie affair"

Does the U.S. government have the money for this?

"Bush held few state dinners as president, preferring workmanlike visits with foreign leaders over eating meals in a tuxedo"

Obama should take a hint from Bush.

"Compounding the insult..."

Protesting China's treatment of Falun Gong is not an insult.

"... a White House announcer called China "The Republic of China"

Yes, it should have been called Communist China.

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"chilled lobster in tarragon sauce"

Good grief, Clinton's chef didn't know how to serve lobster? It should be served steaming hot with butter!

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Communist China has a heck of a lot of $$$ now, America knows not to bite the hand that feeds it with cheap labor and cheap goods, so we see Obama etc...bending over backwards to keep getting more Chinese money into the $$$good peopl$$$ at the $$$White House$$$?? I guess of kind of how the Saudis$$$ knew how to manipulate Bu$h??

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House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has declined an invitation to attend, according to his spokesman and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Yet another example, following the invitation to ride Air Force One with our president to the Tucson memorial, how Mr. Obama has sought to be inclusive.

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The Obamas would have been delighted to put on the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Throw in a bit of purple soda and a few of the worlds problems could be solved.

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Looks like China and America are making some serious ties while leaving Japan in the dust from their shoes.

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I guess the menu will be chow mein, fried rice, beef brocolli, and sweet and sour pork with the take out box? Sounds about right.

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China is dangerous. Her human rights record, treatment of ethnic minorities and religious movements are all horrific. Add to that her incesant bullying of Asian neighbors and you have a dangerous country.

I would relegate Hu and China to state critiques of her record rather than dinner. Or perhaps invite some local Uyghurs to prepare the state dinner.

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time to get on your knees america, and take a big mouth full of humble pie.

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Sharpie. Why?!?

Has China earned our undying respect by becoming the very model of humanitarian and civil political existence?

Has China liberated her minorities and enacted protections to assure the preservation of their cultures?

Has China turned her missiles away from Taiwan or exited Tibet and returned it to her rightful political autonomy?

Has China freed all the prisoners of conscience and religion? Or enacted protections for the civil liberties of her people?

No. All China has done is buy our debt and enrich our corporations. This new frontier and the bubble that goes with it represents one of the greatest threats to liberty and the global economy. In a few years we will be asking why our leaders did not see this coming. When in fact many of us do foresee the coming problems with China.

Our humility must be conditional upon China making better efforts to become a respectable humanitarian state and not just a growing one. To hell with humble pie sharpie.

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Other than China being a leading trading partner with the U.S., they don't have much in common with anything U.S. does. So what if China became a industrial power in the last the 30 years by copying Japan and the West. Their behavior is still primitive. How can you trust a regime that still behaves in the 1940's? Obama should have balance in trade with China and hell with the free ride of $225 billion in trade deficient. U.S. companies that profit enormously from exports should pay heavy penalty in tariffs.

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Personally, I dont really care what they eat. Should this be news?

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"Should this be news?"

What they eat, no. The fact that there is a planned state dinner. Absolutely.

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Yeah, I was more interested to hear about policy but instead we got a fluff piece?

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These things cost millions and millions of dollars (upward of 10 million dollars) in logistic costs, security, travel, food, drinks, etc. People invited are 100% covered for travel, hotels, everything.

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noborito: And your point?

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"noborito: And your point?"

Why are we paying for the upkeep of an authoritarian leader? And why are we extending such grace to the leader of a nation whose behavior does not warrant such treatment.

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tkoind, I could substitute America with China in your post and it would read with just as much reason.

don't go putting america on a pedestal claiming its a human rights model. its missiles are pointed all over the world and dont even start with the liberating of countries stuff. dont get all caught up in your eagerness to show your patriotism

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Take him to a soup kitchen

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Sharpie. I do not put America on a pedistal. If you are familiar with my posting habits you would know immediately that I am equally critical of my own former home.

That said. It does noone any good to encourage China's behavior and policies. While the US certainly deserves strong criticism, it has made considerable steps beyond China's with regards to policies on race, ethnic groups, religion, political freedom and free speech.

While US policy in the last decade especially, has been dreadful, China has equally performed in manners unbefitting a nation worthy of respect.

I stand by my position that the US should not reward China with such recognition until her policies change. I would equally respect nations who call the US to accounts for its behavior.

In short all nations need to learn to treat people with greater liberty and freedom. Failure to do so should result in condemnation and limitations for diplomatic coutesey.

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As for Patriotism.... I owe patriotism to my values and beliefs only. I do not pay hommage to any state.

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And if patriotism was so 'valuable' as someone has stated here....then mr Bush, Mr Obama all these 'colleborators with the dictatorship' has committed 'treasons' since they are selling out the true American values! i really want to laughs at such 'patriotism' was so cheap! By the way where is our dear friend Mr DeLay(Tom)? the former republican party leader, his fury patriotiism really impressive, I think he should be invited to dine with our dear leader!

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This criticism of the dinner is nonsense. I intensely dislike everything from China's human rights record to it's business practices, but the proper hospitality and protocol must be followed. And Sharpie, your comments are equally nonsensical.

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Paulinusa. But you would not feel that proper protocol was appropriate for the president of Iran would you? And what has Iran done that China has not?

The distinguishing factor between Iran and China in modern politics is the capacity of the nation to generate profits and financial benefits. When money is to be made, a lot can be overlooked and forgiven.

I don't think either nation deserves proper formal dinner protocol at this point. Both have a lot to answer for and should be treated with respect while withholding top honors until their behavior becomes satisfactory.

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Considering China now owns America it is the least the White House can do.

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sharpie,

very true.

tkoind2,

Blame the American population for the current situation and being sheeple not China.

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Let me put it this way. To say that there are quite a few issues to settle between the US and China is an understatement(and some concern Japan) Because of his US reception Pres. Hu will not be able to use any excuses about disrespect impeding agreements.

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A dinner is just a dinner. What's most important is what Pres. Obama and Pres. Hu can accomplish at the end of their meetings.

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Point of view. The American people are not to blame. Global business is to blame for the rise of China and for the blindness to her potential threats.

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tkoind2,

I dont think so. If 300+ million people (Americans)put their foots down things would be different. But they dont and continue to sleep while their government sells them out. They can do this because the majority of the population are more concerned about reality TV and famous people. They are also not very intelligent.

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feet

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The atmosphere of President Hu visits 2006 and 2011 are completely different. In 2006, US has not faced the Wall street crush yet. Economy is not worse like now. Sovereign debt has not passed over more than a trillion. Personality of Mr Bush and Mr Obama are different too. Mr Bush is not matured and thoughtful like Mr Obama.

The way Mr Bush treated to his banker was not a polite manner. Mr Obama has a wisdom. He understand that offending the banker will get the unwanted consequence for national interest.

The other word is protecting the US dollar as reserve currency and foreign investment flows. For job creation and raising the government revenue, foreign investment is badly needed right now. Texas and Dallas has got many business deal just before Mr Hu visit. It is good for local people who will get jobs and infrastructure.

Although there are many difficult outstanding issues, economic and environmental co-operation are badly needed for both nations.

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Show me any country on earth where the general public put their collective feet down. With the exceptions of the French and Bolshevic revolutions I cannot think of any significant examples in the last 200 years.

As for sleeping. I would offer up Japan whose lost 20 years now seems in no danger of being found. Europe whose collective woes seem to be gaining power while the people seem to be asleep. And the list goes on and on.

So be fair. What country's people are so political savy and aware that they are standing up in unison in favor of the right and moral good of the world.

That said... there are a lot of people out there who do know what is going on and it falls to us to raise our voices in hope of at least calling attention to problems and issues.

Likewise there are those leaders in power and the leaders of corporations who are fully aware of the risks and dangers but choose not to heed them because there is money to be made ignoring them. These people are especially to blame. As government is to blame for failing to stop them.

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Mr Obama was bowing his head even lower than NIXON did to Mao in Beijing and Hillary laughing even louder than Kissinger! American politics was just money talks, their so called morale standard was just for propaganda. You ignore it and will receieved even more 'respects'!

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tkoind2,

I usually agree with you but I must say who cares what other countries are doing with their governments? The issue is with America, the supposed greatest nation in the world (but then again Iraq, Lebanon, and N. Korea say the same thing). They sold out to China plain and simple. Theyve also sold out millions of jobs for cheap labour. Political savy? If an individual in the US disagrees with mainstream news or with their own government they are considered terrorists or conspiracy theorists. Go figure. China is running Americas show because of failed and dishonest politics that wasn`t snuffed out by its citizens years ago..

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This criticism of the dinner is nonsense. I intensely dislike everything from China's human rights record to it's business practices, but the proper hospitality and protocol must be followed.

Well said. During JIANG Zemin's WH reception Amy TAN, who attended the state dinner, said: I don't think that strides and improvements in reconciliation and human conditions come from standing on the outside and chest-beating.

HU's party should be allowed to enjoy the meal; as the grilling usually comes during the breakfast meet and interview with Jim LEHRER.

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tkoind2: The distinguishing factor between Iran and China in modern politics is the capacity of the nation to generate profits and financial benefits. When money is to be made, a lot can be overlooked and forgiven.

And thank God for that. When you start to tie up financially the chance of conflict drops to zero.

You can come on here and spout any nonsense you want, but at the end of the day I suspect you're living you life like 99% of the other people in the world. You keep talking about revolution and change but you'll probably watch some TV or read a book then go to work tomorrow like you did today. We have to read your fantasyland posts where you fault the world for living up to standards that you probably don't live up to yourself. As I've said before....your posts always sound nice but you never produce a workable plan.

What China needs right now is help in the leadership department. They've shown to be completely incapable of doing much of anything with North Korea. They want to join the party with the West but in reality they really don't know what they're doing and it shows. They don't know how to build relationships with other nations other than writing a check. My guess is that the leaders are starting to realize that they have to somehow guide this mammoth country into the 20th century and they don't want to screw it up. Personally, I think meeting with a man like Obama is a good start for them.

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China is dangerous. Her human rights record, treatment of ethnic minorities and religious movements are all horrific. Add to that her incesant bullying of Asian neighbors and you have a dangerous country.

However the United States is in no position to wag a finger at China over human rights, foreign policy or any other matter. America simply does not have the moral high ground it likes to project. Propping-up abusive and corrupt regimes, extrordinary rendition, torture, invasion or soverign states etc, etc.

Constantly playing the 'China is dangerous' card is becoming embarrassing. China is doing nothing that the USA hasn't already been involved in for years and continues to do to this day.

China is in danger of becoming the next 'official' enemy of the USA because it challenges the current American hegemony and vision of US-led world order.

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On the Yuan currency issue, MOYO predicted it'll be internationalized and predicted that RMB would soon replace the US dollar as world's most favored currency (It's happening now, isn't it?)

Constantly playing the 'China is dangerous' card is becoming lazy not just embarrassing. But also let's not forget that when China sneezes, the world-- and the United States-- catches the cold.

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More state dinners betweeen USA and China,is good for better ties between leaders and improvement of mutual trade.

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Heh, trust Boehner to do a runner when the leader of his nation's largest banker comes to town. What kind of surrender monkey image is Boehner sending to leading Chinese govt. officials by doing a no-show?

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Heh, I couldn't help noticing it takes a democratic president to teach conservatives a thing or two about being civil to America's bankers.

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I think Boehner is running away from Hu like a scared rabbit because, like many conservatives, he simply doesn't know how to deal with anyone who doesn't look like him. Sad. If Boehner had an ounce of political nous, he would have been standing beside his president when Obama first greeted Hu. Instead, Boehner's running scared and showing Americans what a sellout he really is.

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point of view >majority of the population are more concerned about reality TV and famous people. Duh! Many people in other countries to the same thing! Hypocrite. Europe & canada also import from china. china isn't trusted by other Asian Nations either what does that Tell You!? Also one Fact always over Looked china sold out To capitalism, something they said "Doesn't work" & isn't apart of their culture. WRONG Again. what can we do boycott Every prodeuct made in china. they play the Race card alot, BUT most of us don't blame them. its the Greedy companies who have messed things up.

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AuntyAmerican: Constantly playing the 'China is dangerous' card is becoming embarrassing.

Well just think of the satisfaction you get with your daily rants against America. Surely you can understand the pleasure one might get with doing the same to China.

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Probably making sure their scripts are in order. Do all the meetings in public - problem solved.

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I actually liked the foreign policy lunches Bush had. If nothing's going to get done anyway I don't see any point in blowing all that money and wasting time with a state dinner. Additionally it's more condusive to the culture that the U.S working population has taken on and how we conduct business. We don't have time for you, we barely have time for us, we certainly don't have time to wine and dine over the course of two days. If you have something to say then spit it out and be done with it because we have a lot of work to do. When I go to China or anywhere else I follow their customs, but when they're in my house I expect them to follow mine.

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That's OK, Harry Reid just called Hu a dictator on the floor of the Senate plus Schumer, et. al., are pushing a bill that would allow the state department more room to punish China for currency manipulation. Welcome to dinner, Mr. Hu.

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alladin at 09:36 AM JST - 19th January Looks like China and America are making some serious ties while leaving >Japan in the dust from their shoes.

Wow you really don't have a clue do you? We don't have a crucial relationship that could dictate war or peace with our allies. Nor do we have as many complaints and issues, both economic and strategic about any of our allies as we do with the Communist Chinese Dictatorship.

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sharpie at 09:56 AM JST - 19th January time to get on your knees america, and take a big mouth full of humble >pie.

Why? We're the ones feeding Hu.

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AuntyAmerican at 10:11 PM JST - 19th January Constantly playing the 'China is dangerous' card is becoming >embarrassing. China is doing nothing that the USA hasn't already been >involved in for years and continues to do to this day.

No it's not. Chinese military and territorial expansion is a real threat and concern to all of our Asian allies.

China is in danger of becoming the next 'official' enemy of the USA >because it challenges the current American hegemony and vision of US-led >world order.

Wrong. China has been the unspoken enemy of the USA since the communists kicked the KMT off he mainland, right through the Korean War when Chinese troops killed US and other UN troops, and are now bent on military and territorial expansion in Asia. All of China's neighboring Asian countries are turning to he United States to counter balance China's advances.

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you don't take your banker to Mickey D when you are dependant on his continud extended credit line

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If you have something to say then spit it out and be done with it because we have a lot of work to do. When I go to China or anywhere else I follow their customs, but when they're in my house I expect them to follow mine.

Considering a lot of that work seems to entail seeking bailouts from government (manufactoring, banking, farming, et al.) to cover for market inefficiencies, I would have thought that wining and dining a lender/donor was part of that "work". On the other hand, perhaps Obama should have taken Hu to McDonalds for a supersized big mac meal or shopping at Wal Mart, American customs for average Americans no?

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OssanAmerica at 04:48 AM JST - 20th January. No it's not. Chinese military and territorial expansion is a real threat and concern to all of our Asian allies.

Since China is growing, increase in military expenditure is more of a natural process for to protect their boundaries in a unstable world. Recently, U.S.conducted a joint military exercise with SK near Chinese mainland and used two large carriers, which created tension and uneasiness for China. Why would U.S. wants exercise with massive fire power and large force near China? To send message to China of the strength rather than NK? U.S. has been used to controlling sea lanes near China waters since WWII and there will be possible drastic change in the control of the south seas by China. U.S. probably cannot stay in a same course as 60 years ago and new joint agreement eminent. Current U.S. military budget is not substianable will be cut back more and more in the future.

U.S. is not in a favorable negotiating position since the election few years ago due to instablitiy in their economy and this still applies today. There will be continue mistrust but a dialogue between the two nations will help improve better understandings and both countries need to move forward better relations.

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U.S. has been used to controlling sea lanes near China waters since WWII and there will be possible drastic change in the control of the south seas by China.

Not being anti-Beijing, but have you seen a map of East Asia lately-- with Chinese drafted boundary-dots of where its maritime zone extends and ends? Probably not.

U.S.conducted a joint military exercise with SK near China's mainland that obviously irked the Chinese; but so did a joint US/Vietnam naval exercises last year.

CLINTON's doctrine, after much persuasion from the Philippines and other ASEAN states, have made clear US involvement on South China Sea. Changing the rules-of-engagements since Beijing adopted a multi-nation code of conduct in '02.

Though I doubt South China Sea would feature much during HU's US visit-- North Korea, US-China investments, and rmb will feature more--it's crucial that Asia should be vigilant to the discomfiting notion of China's claim of her indisputable sovereignty over much of South China Sea.

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Let me emphasize, however, that playing the China-is-dangerous ploy is becoming lazy. There's nothing Asia can accomplish without China in the table. And I think I've been saying it all along that we do need a multilateral approachment, with China included, on territorial disputes.

Constantly playing the 'China is dangerous' card is becoming embarrassing.

The Americans are our important ally in Asia. And it's important that the US and China meets eye-to-eye on crucial issues that matters to Asia.

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Considering a lot of that work seems to entail seeking bailouts from government (manufactoring, banking, farming, et al.) to cover for market inefficiencies, I would have thought that wining and dining a lender/donor was part of that "work".

The fact that anyone stupid enough to lend to the government, especially one that thinks inefficient businesses can be fixed by giving them more cash, can figure out how to get a fork to their mouth is quite frankly amazing and I'm happy for Hu's accomplishment. As I am, was, and will always be against any bailout or subsidization I don't see why I should relish the idea of blowing a few hundred grand (I think that's a pretty conservative number) on one of the men who made it all possible.

On the other hand, perhaps Obama should have taken Hu to McDonalds for a supersized big mac meal or shopping at Wal Mart, American customs for average Americans no?

Sure. Wal-Mart is one of the most powerful businesses in the world and became so through excellent supply chain management, a little bit of muscle applied to its suppliers, and staying power. I can say the same thing for McDonalds. Two excellent businesses that started in the U.S and are able to thrive in the face of incredible opposition from unions, government regulation, and public resentment.

Heck, maybe taking Hu to a Wal-Mart would generate some respect. After all, if Wal-Mart was a country it would be China's 8th largest trading partner ahead of Russia and Canada. Chinese labor should be a tool for the U.S to make it even more wealthy, instead we go into debt trying to sustain failed businesses.

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TheQuestion at 07:14 AM JST - 20th January. Chinese labor should be a tool for the U.S to make it even more wealthy, instead we go into debt trying to sustain failed businesses.

It's not just Walmart but most of the high tech industries import their own assembled products from China. Apple is also one of the South Korea and China's biggest client on electric component’s supply. China assemble it for Apple and export to the whole world. Just make it clear for everyone, products such as iPhone 4 is designed in Cupertino, California, made by Korea and Taiwan, and assembled in China. Bottom line is the U.S. executives gret rewarded for the profit that they make for the company. This is some of the reason U.S. as a country has over $200 billion in trade inbalance with China.

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Raymasaki,

You just prooved my point. The failure of politics and people have given China the opportunity to own America. Other countries are irrelevant.

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"up financially the chance of conflict drops to zero."

Not entirely true. Please revisit your WWII era history and look at the economic ties of the time.

Also there are more types of war than ones that sever economic ties. There are cold wars that include economic ties but play out in the fields of proxy nations. The APAC region could very well be the playground for the next cold war.

Nothing is black and white. Especially in our age.

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Pointofview. I will conceed that political apathy and inaction in all nations have resulted in the loss of political voice for the people and the selling out of labor world wide. But when has this been different? Again there are only a few rare examples in history where the people rise in defence of their best interests. More often "uprisings" are the product of political manipulation to meet the needs of those in power, most often in the form of war.

It is unfair to blame any people of any nation for this fact. As the sad reality is that the media and other control mechanisms focused upon them make it impossible for most to resist. As you said, social and political threats of being outcast keep many away. And the brave few that do stand up face considerable risk. Which is why we must respect those courageous enough to do so.

The fact is that governments of the former first world have sold out their people in exchange for debt, cheap goods, profits for corporations and personal gain. Behavior with regard to China is demonstrative of this point and most of the major world powers are guilty of this.

Change can only happen in two cases. 1. If China proves her colors as a clear and present threat, which she very nearly did in recent behavior with Japan. 2. The economic problems in the western nations becomes so bad that new socialist/labor movements arise. Neither of which will result in better conditions or greater safety. Both will likely result in the needless loss of life.

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Two excellent businesses that started in the U.S and are able to thrive in the face of incredible opposition from unions, government regulation, and public resentment.

Is that comment meant to be some kind of joke? Or is it just the view of another American cheering on the collapse of his country? Unions have been dead for decades, the government exists to serve the corporate welfare state, and the sheeple are lined up at the door and resent nothing. As long as they can shop at the hillbilly five and dime store, and eat their government subsidized corn "food", they will be happy.

As for this meeting between Obama and Hu, it is like two guys playing musical chairs and there is only one chair left. If they both go for it too hard it might fall apart and then there will be no chair, and they both know that. Both countries are getting into very dangerous territory, and their only solution is to keep kicking the can down the road. But you can only fight off the reality and the future for so long.

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Bottom line is the U.S. executives gret rewarded for the profit that they make for the company.

Well that is what execs are supposed to do after all.

This is some of the reason U.S. as a country has over $200 billion in trade inbalance with China.

Well yeah, our labor is to expensive. Anybody working in the manufacturing field in America is delusional, machines can do the work better and for less overhead or the chinese can do it for less. Take your pick, machines or chinese because nobody wants American workers.

Is that comment meant to be some kind of joke?

If unions can mess up the educational system and maintain influential lobbies in political elections they're hardly dead, less prominent thank goodness, but not dead. Lovely little nanny states like San Francisco have been imposing increasingly absurd requirements on what people can eat, food that people already know is bad for them. And hypocrisy does not negate the fact that the average American views both Wal-Mart and McDonalds some special kind of socially acceptable evil. Both have entire movements dedicated to their demise.

As long as they can shop at the hillbilly five and dime store, and eat their government subsidized corn "food", they will be happy.

Subsidized crops have always been ridiculous. But there's nothing wrong with wanting more for less.

As for this meeting between Obama and Hu, it is like two guys playing musical chairs and there is only one chair left.

The reality is, and most in the business field have already accepted it, that china will become a larger economy. They have more people it only makes sense. That is, however, an opportunity for the increasingly service based economy of the U.S. But the only way we're going to come out of this alive is if we kick our opportunistic, profiteering, good old capitalistic swine insincts into high gear. If government wants to help they can pave the way with better trade deals, we don't need more bailout money, just better avenues to where the money can be made.

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"Unions have been dead for decades, the government exists to serve the corporate welfare state, and the sheeple are lined up at the door and resent nothing."

But this is about America, not Canada.

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The moral to the story;

China needs America, America needs China.

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Let China grow more. The more they become agressive they are digging own grave. Well USSR did it, Now USA is doing it and next China is going to do it. I tell you after 2013. The world focus will change and that will be the begingin of all the super powers including China.

Need evidence wait for 2013 jan 13. The D-day.

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But this is about America, not Canada.

Considering it was America that had to bailout it's banking sector (with the biggest welfare cheque ever written) with Chinese money. It is about America (Canada didn't need to bailout it's banks = no need for Chinese money).

Wal-Mart is one of the most powerful businesses in the world and became so through excellent supply chain management, a little bit of muscle applied to its suppliers, and staying power.

and the hard work of Chinese labourers, which causes a significant amount of USD to leave the US. The same USD that leave the US are then lent back to the US with interest Fees. More commonly known as a broken business model.

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and the hard work of Chinese labourers, which causes a significant amount of USD to leave the US. The same USD that leave the US are then lent back to the US with interest Fees. More commonly known as a broken business model.

As it's the government accepting the loans I fail to see how this is broken on the business end of things, more a failing of government. Not to say our business model isn't broken, any business that requires government intervention to support itself deserves to be liquidated and sold off, end of story.

Wal-Mart and other businesses that utilize chinese labor have it right. Manufacturing in the U.S is a lost cause, finance and service is where all the money is now. Let them work for our benefit, let them help make us wealthy, it looks like they'll make themselves more wealthy along the way.

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Some forms of capitalism are more acceptable to the Obama regime than other forms. He likes the way the Chinese do business.

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President Obama hosted Chinese President Hu Jintao lavishly. However, in the following days Obama "talked tough" about China's trade positions. Still, he was not NEARLY as harsh as Donald Trump was. Trump has a very obvious HUGE disdain for China's trade policies. Trump is even considering a run for POTUS in order to correct what he perceives as Chinese unfairness and greed. We live in interesting times.

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Still, he was not NEARLY as harsh as Donald Trump was. Trump has a very obvious HUGE disdain for China's trade policies. Trump is even considering a run for POTUS in order to correct what he perceives as Chinese unfairness and greed.

Trump did that in the 80 s too. He claimed the Japanese were taking unfair advantage of US markets.

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When China realizes it can stop floating the US to buy goods by allowing it's own citizens to buy their own goods, it's all over. For the average Chinese that's the only way wages will go up and end their wage slavery. Ignorance is bliss. So far.

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