Republican presidential candidates stand at attentiond during the singing of the national anthem during the CNN GOP National Security debate on November 22, 2011. (Jim Bourg / Courtesy of Reuters)
Truth be told, I don’t think that foreign policy—other than matters related to war—is likely to play a significant role in this year’s presidential election. Moreover, as decades of U.S. electoral politics have demonstrated, whatever candidates say about China is likely to bear little resemblance to what they actually do once they are in the Oval Office. Nonetheless, as a matter of character and competence, it is fascinating to look at what each of the Republican candidates has to say about China. Even though I have followed the Republican race fairly closely, I was surprised—both pleasantly and not—by what I found.
Talk the talk but don’t walk the walk: Rick Perry breathes fire on China: “Communist China is destined for the ash heap of history because they are not a country of virtues. When you have 35,000 forced abortions a day in that country, when you have the cyber security that the PLA has been involved with, those are great major issues both morally and security-wise that we’ve got to deal with now.” Well maybe, but exactly how Perry is dealing with them by courting Huawei to invest in Texas is unclear. The U.S. government has three times denied China’s telecom giant business opportunities in the United States because of security concerns related to spying and the People’s Liberation Army. Mr. Perry, however, has praised Huawei’s “really strong worldwide reputation.” The end result of candidate Perry’s China policy to date? Huawei has a corporate headquarters just outside Dallas. Read more »