A rather sloppy article from Foreign Policy is being linked all over the blogsphere that teases by claiming that China wants Romney to win and then backs slowly away from that assertion. But let’s tackle what the article doesn’t.
China needs two things. It needs an American leader with a stable economic policy and a weak foreign policy. China likes Obama’s foreign policy but it hates its stewardship of the domestic economy. China is uneasy when it comes to Romney’s muscular foreign policy talk, but its analysts have told the ChiCom leadership that it’s just election rhetoric. And they probably have a point. Obama’s Asia pivot has come to nothing, but that’s enough to make China a bit uneasy about his foreign policy as well.
But foreign policy plays second fiddle to economic policy. China jumpstarted its way to superpower status by aggressively exploiting the collapse of American manufacturing and the willingness of Americans to buy cheap but substandard production from its industries. The entanglement gave China a rising middle class and turned it into a heavy investor in the American economy.
China needs America to keep buying things. It needs its investments in America to maintain their value. And that means it needs an uptick in the American economy. It needs a credible and stable economic manager. And so China does hope that Romney wins.
We discussed previously on The Point why Putin needs Obama to win to keep America from becoming an energy exporter and dealing a final blow to the nationalized Russian energy empire. But China has the opposite agenda. China has much more extensive investments in America and vice versa. China’s elite and America’s elite need mutual prosperity and an American collapse would likely take the already unstable Chinese economy with it.
China’s domestic instability has led its elite to squirrel away fortunes abroad. The ChiCom’s Princelings have natural American connections thanks to the extensive Chinese diaspora in the United States and if everything goes bad, we are their fallback position.
Twenty years from now, China might welcome an America that is in a state of collapse. Right now, China needs an America that has its economic house in order.