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What Pivot?

- September 23, 2015

Clinton's Failed Record On China Comes Into Focus As Obama Hosts The Chinese President This Week

Tomorrow, The White House Will Host Chinese President Xi Jinping For A State Visit To Discuss U.S.-China Cooperation. "President Obama will host Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, at the White House for an official State Visit on September 25, 2015. This reciprocates President Obama's State Visit to China in November 2014. President Xi's visit will present an opportunity to expand U.S.-China cooperation on a range of global, regional, and bilateral issues of mutual interest, while also enabling President Obama and President Xi to address areas of disagreement constructively." (Press Release, Statement By The Press Secretary On The Visit Of President Xi Jinping Of The People's Republic Of China , The White House, 9/15/15)

  • Some Of The "Prime U.S. Concerns" At The Summit Are Cybercrime And China's Actions In The South China Sea, As Well As Human Rights Concerns. "As China emerges as an economic and military rival that Washington both competes and cooperates with, other issues tend to get top billing at the summit table. Prime U.S. concerns are cybercrime, China's island-building in the disputed South China Sea and building momentum for a global deal to combat climate change. Still, human rights will get attention." (Matthew Pennington, "High Profile US-China Summit Takes Place Amid Human Rights Crackdown By Beijing," The Associated Press , 9/23/15)

CLINTON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BUNGLING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S "MOST IMPORTANT DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS" - THE "PIVOT" TO ASIA

"It Was Clinton's State Department That Was Mainly Responsible For The Administration's Attempt At A Strategic 'Pivot' To Asia…" "And it was Clinton's State Department that was mainly responsible for the administration's attempt at a strategic 'pivot' to Asia, designed largely to counter China's growing influence." (Michael Hirsh, "The Clinton Legacy," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2013)

  • Clinton, 2011: The "Pivot" To Asia Is "Among The Most Important Diplomatic Efforts Of Our Time." "This kind of pivot is not easy, but we have paved the way for it over the past two-and-a-half years, and we are committed to seeing it through as among the most important diplomatic efforts of our time." (Hillary Clinton, Op-Ed, "America's Pacific Century," Foreign Policy, 10/11/11)

CNN's Fareed Zakaria: "Whatever Happened To The Pivot To Asia?" (Fareed Zakaria, Op-Ed, "Whatever Happened To Obama's Pivot To Asia," The Washington Post , 4/16/14)

  • In Contrast To The Goal Of The Asia Pivot, "The United States Is Up To Its Neck Once More In The Middle Eastern Morass." "Remember, the basic argument behind the pivot was that the United States was overinvested in the Middle East, a crisis-prone region of dwindling importance to the U.S. national interest. Asia, on the other hand, is the future. … And yet the United States is up to its neck once more in the Middle Eastern morass." (Fareed Zakaria, Op-Ed, "Whatever Happened To Obama's Pivot To Asia," The Washington Post , 4/16/14)

A 2014 Report From The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Then Under Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Criticized The State Department For A Weak Commitment To The Pivot. "Nonetheless, the State Department has not substantially increased diplomatic engagement resources to its Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Department of Commerce staffing levels have not significantly increased, hindering the ability of U.S. businesses to take full advantage of new prospects. U.S. development assistance to the region, which saw a modest increase in the ad- ministration's FY2015 budget proposal, is still below levels from several years ago, and the U.S. development approach needs updating and upgrading." (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Majority Staff, "Re-Balancing The Rebalance: Resourcing U.S. Diplomatic Strategy In The Asia-Pacific Region," Senate Committee On Foreign Relations, 4/17/14)

  • Stephen Bosworth, Obama's Former Coordinator For North Korea: The Asia Rebalancing Concept "Was Ill Conceived And Bungled In Its Implementation." "Stephen W. Bosworth, Mr. Obama's coordinator for North Korea in his first term, agreed. The rebalancing concept, Mr. Bosworth argued, 'was ill conceived and bungled in its implementation.'" (David E. Sanger and Mark Landler, "Obama's Strategic Shift To Asia Is Hobbled By Pressure At Home And Crises Abroad," The New York Times , 4/21/14)

Governments In The Asia Pacific Argued That The Obama Administration "Loves To Talk About" Making The Pivot But Not "Walk The Walk." "The White House's problem is that even after years of talking about the strategic 'rebalance' to the western Pacific, the president and his administration still face a wall of skepticism from regional governments and critics inside Washington. Obama and his top officials love to talk about focusing on Asia, the argument goes, but they do not walk the walk." (Philip Ewing, "Obama's Asia Pivot, A Work In Progress," Politico, 4/21/14)

CLINTON FAILED TO CONFRONT CHINA'S TERRIBLE HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD

Clinton Promised Focusing On Human Rights Would Be A Key Part Of The Asia Pivot. "With this in mind, our work will proceed along six key lines of action: strengthening bilateral security alliances; deepening out working relationships with emerging powers, including with China; engaging with regional multilateral institutions; expanding trade and investment; forging a broad based military presence; and advancing democracy and human rights." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Op-Ed, "America's Pacific Century," Foreign Policy, 10/11/11)

Tomorrow's Summit Is Taking Place Amidst The Toughest Human Rights Crackdown In China

The Associated Press : "The United States Has Warned That The Toughest Crackdown In Years On Chinese Activists Threatens To Cloud The High-Profile State Visit By President Xi Jinping." (Matthew Pennington, "High Profile US-China Summit Takes Place Amid Human Rights Crackdown By Beijing," The Associated Press, 9/23/15)

In Recent Years, Chinese President Xi "Has Cracked Down On Encroachment Of What He Views As Western-Style Freedoms In China's Increasingly Prosperous And Connected Society." "Since taking the presidency in 2013 and becoming the most powerful Chinese leader in three decades, Xi has cracked down on encroachment of what he views as Western-style freedoms in China's increasingly prosperous and connected society. His administration has tightened controls on religious minorities, including a government campaign to remove crosses and demolish Christian churches in an eastern province - a move that has drawn condemnation on Capitol Hill." (Matthew Pennington, "High Profile US-China Summit Takes Place Amid Human Rights Crackdown By Beijing," The Associated Press, 9/23/15)

  • "His Administration Has Tightened Controls On Religious Minorities, Including A Government Campaign To Remove Crosses And Demolish Christian Churches In An Eastern Province…" "Since taking the presidency in 2013 and becoming the most powerful Chinese leader in three decades, Xi has cracked down on encroachment of what he views as Western-style freedoms in China's increasingly prosperous and connected society. His administration has tightened controls on religious minorities, including a government campaign to remove crosses and demolish Christian churches in an eastern province - a move that has drawn condemnation on Capitol Hill." (Matthew Pennington, "High Profile US-China Summit Takes Place Amid Human Rights Crackdown By Beijing," The Associated Press , 9/23/15)

"U.S. Officials Have Said That Draft Legislation In China To Police Nongovernmental Organizations Could Affect Foreign Rights Activists And The Personal And Corporate Privacy Of Academics And Business Groups…" "U.S. officials have said that draft legislation in China to police nongovernmental organizations could affect foreign rights activists and the personal and corporate privacy of academics and business groups - a potential setback to deepening the U.S.-China relationship even in the areas that aren't politically contentious." (Matthew Pennington, "High Profile US-China Summit Takes Place Amid Human Rights Crackdown By Beijing," The Associated Press, 9/23/15)

  • "A Lack Of Candor In Chinese State Media Reports About Economic Turmoil Roiling Global Markets Has Exposed The Risks And Limitations Inherent In Beijing's Strict Press Controls." (Matthew Pennington, "High Profile US-China Summit Takes Place Amid Human Rights Crackdown By Beijing," The Associated Press , 9/23/15)

As Secretary, Clinton's Comments "Infuriated" Human Rights Organizations As Human Rights Worsened In China

Clinton "Made Clear During Her Tenure As Secretary Of State That" Other Interests Would Not "Become Captive To The Human Rights Cases." "Mrs. Clinton has mentioned Mr. Chen's bravery in public as one of the most startling among China's human rights dissidents. But she has also made clear during her tenure as secretary of state that the vital economic and strategic dealings with China cannot become captive to the human rights cases." (Jane Perlez and Sharon Lafraniere, "Chinese Dissident Is Released From Embassy, Causing Turmoil For U.S.," The New York Times , 5/3/12)

In 2009, Clinton Said Human Rights "Can't Interfere With The Global Economic Crisis, The Global Climate Change Crisis, And The Security Crisis." CLINTON: "But successive administrations and Chinese governments have been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis. We have to have a dialogue that leads to an understanding and cooperation on each of those." (Hillary Clinton, Roundtable With Traveling Press, Seoul, South Korea, 2/20/09)

  • Clinton "Infuriated" Human Rights Organizations When She Claimed "That Human Rights Concerns 'Can't Interfere' With Pressing China For Greater Cooperation." "Clinton, who on Sunday will complete a one-week tour of Asia, infuriated human rights organizations when she told reporters Friday that human rights concerns 'can't interfere' with pressing China for greater cooperation on the economic front, the environment and the impasse over North Korea's nuclear program. Many advocates were especially upset because Clinton, as first lady, achieved renown in 1995 for making a tough speech in Beijing about China's human rights record." (Glenn Kessler, "U.S., China to Focus On Slump, Climate," The Washington Post, 2/22/09)

The Washington Post Editorial: Clinton's Suggestion That Advocacy For Human Rights Would "Interfere" With Cooperation Was "Misguided." "Ms. Clinton's suggestion that U.S. advocacy for human rights might 'interfere' with cooperation on other issues is equally misguided. Over many years China has proved ready to work with the United States on issues where it sees an interest in doing so, regardless of disputes over human rights." (Editorial, "Hillary Clinton's Silence On Chinese Human Rights," The Washington Post, 2/24/09)

  • Clinton's Statement Will "Demoralize Thousands Of Democracy Advocates In China, And It Will Cause Many Others Around The World To Wonder About The Character" Of The Obama Administration. "But Ms. Clinton's statement will have an effect: It will demoralize thousands of democracy advocates in China, and it will cause many others around the world to wonder about the character of the new U.S. administration." (Editorial, "Hillary Clinton's Silence On Chinese Human Rights," The Washington Post, 2/24/09)

Since Leaving The State Department, Clinton Has Touted Her Work With Blind Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng-But Chen "Was Not So Impressed"

"Clinton Has Described The State Department's Handling Of The Case Of Blind Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng As An Important Achievement" And A Reminder Of The Importance Of Human Rights. "Hillary Clinton has described the State Department's handling of the case of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng as an important achievement during her time at Foggy Bottom - a reminder that 'our defense of universal human rights is one of America's greatest sources of strength." (Nahal Toosi, "Hillary Clinton And The Case Of Chen Guangcheng," Politico, 3/19/15)

"But Chen Himself Was Not So Impressed." (Nahal Toosi, "Hillary Clinton And The Case Of Chen Guangcheng," Politico, 3/19/15)

  • In His 2015 Memoir, Chen "Writes About Feeling Extreme Pressure From Clinton Aides To Quickly Accept A Deal With The Chinese - One That He Feared Would Expose Him And His Family To More Abuse." "In his new memoir, the so-called 'barefoot lawyer,' who managed against all odds to flee house arrest and seek refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in 2012, writes about feeling extreme pressure from Clinton aides to quickly accept a deal with the Chinese - one that he feared would expose him and his family to more abuse. He suggests that at times he felt as if U.S. diplomats had misled him, and he undercuts Clinton's assertion in her recent memoir that U.S. officials "had done what Chen said he wanted every step of the way." (Nahal Toosi, "Hillary Clinton And The Case Of Chen Guangcheng," Politico, 3/19/15)

CLINTON FAILED TO CONFRONT CHINA'S CYBER ATTACKS ON THE U.S. AND ITS AGGRESSION IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

While Clinton Refused To Take A Stand On China's Aggression In The South China Sea, The Conflict Continues And Is A "Major Threat To Stability"

The Asia Pivot Has Earned "Mixed Reviews From Foreign Policy Analysts" Over China's Continued Aggression In The South China Sea. "Clinton's signature policy project at the State Department - the so-called 'pivot to Asia' - earns mixed reviews from foreign policy analysts. Some say it signaled a lack of commitment to the Middle East, and they note that China continues aggressive policies in the region." (Michael Crowley and Nahal Toosi, "GOP Targets Hillary Clinton's Years At State," Politico, 4/12/15)

  • With China's Aggression In The South China Sea, "The Pivot Policy Now Looks Inadequate." "With China building fake islands around the South China Sea and threatening to enforce an air-exclusion zone in the area, the pivot policy now looks inadequate." (Josh Rogin, Op-Ed, "Why Hillary Can't Run On Her State Department Record," Bloomberg View, 6/3/15)
  • The Conflict In The South China Sea Is "An Urgent Issue" And "A Major Threat To Stability." "A major threat to stability in Asia today is the competing claims of countries that border the South China Sea. It is an urgent issue that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, a regional group, needs to discuss at its annual meetings this week. Yet China, which will attend the meetings as a guest, is insisting that the topic not be raised." (Editorial, "Cooperation On The South China Sea," The New York Times, 8/4/15)

Clinton's Involvement Did "Little To Quell The Tensions" Between China And Its Neighbors In The South China Sea. "In July 2010, she provoked a sulfurous reaction from China when she announced that the United States had an interest in helping to resolve territorial disputes between China and its neighbors over the South China Sea. …And yet Mrs. Clinton's involvement has done little to quell the tensions. China feuded recently with the Philippines over a rocky shoal claimed by both countries, and farther north, in the East China Sea, it is enmeshed in a dispute with Japan over islands." (Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses Of Clinton As Dogged Diplomat, Win Or Lose," The New York Times , 2/2/13)

As China Repeatedly Hacks The United States, Clinton Points To "Better Communication Or Cooperation With China" Among Her Chief Accomplishments

When Asked To Name A Top Accomplishment As Secretary Of State, Clinton Cited "Forming Better Communication Or Cooperation With China." "Clinton was asked in the interview to name her top two achievements as Secretary of State. … 'I think on the other issues, whether it was forming better communication or cooperation with China, or reaching out to our allies in Europe who felt very neglected, putting together an economic strategy in the State Department to win and keep American jobs - something very important to me - standing up for Internet freedom ... there's just a long list.'" (Dan Tuohy, "Updated: In One-On-Interview, Clinton Talks Issues, Calls Planned Parenthood Videos 'Disturbing,'" New Hampshire Union Leader, 7/28/15)

  • But Just Weeks Earlier, Clinton Accused China Of Trying To "Hack Into Everything That Doesn't Move In America." HILLARY CLINTON: "But we also have to be fully vigilant that China's military is growing very quickly, they are establishing military installations that, again, threaten countries we have treaties with, like the Philippines, because they are building on contested property. They're also trying to hack into everything that doesn't move in America. Stealing commercial secrets, blueprints from defense contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information. All looking for an advantage. Make no mistake, they know they're in a competition." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks, Glen, NH, 7/4/15)

Click To Watch

China Is Widely Suspected Of Hacking U.S. Government Databases, Compromising Sensitive Information Of At Least 22 Million People. "Two major breaches last year of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least 22.1 million people, including not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends, U.S. officials said Thursday. … Other U.S. officials said that a foreign intelligence service could use the information to identify U.S. intelligence operatives, and that China is suspected of stealing large amounts of data on Americans as part of a 'strategic plan' to increase its intelligence collection." (Ellen Nakashima, "Hacks Of OPM Databases Compromised 22.1 Million People, Federal Authorities Say," The Washington Post , 7/9/15)

"China's Cyber Spies Have Accessed The Private Emails Of 'Many' Top Obama Administration Officials … And Have Been Doing So Since At Least April 2010." "China's cyber spies have accessed the private emails of 'many' top Obama administration officials, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official and a top secret document obtained by NBC News, and have been doing so since at least April 2010." (Robert Windrem, "China Read Emails Of Top U.S. Officials," NBC News, 8/10/15)

  • NBC News Headline: "China Read Emails Of Top U.S. Officials" (Robert Windrem, "China Read Emails Of Top U.S. Officials," NBC News, 8/10/15)
  • "The Time Period Overlaps With Hillary Clinton's Use Of A Private Email Account While Secretary Of State From Jan. 21, 2009 To Feb. 1, 2013." (Robert Windrem, "China Read Emails Of Top U.S. Officials," NBC News, 8/10/15)

DESPITE THE TOUGH RHETORIC, CLINTON FAILED TO CONFRONT CHINA'S CURRENCY MANIPULATION

In 2011, Clinton Said That China's Currency Policy "Cost American Jobs" And Accused China Of "Gaming The Trading System" To Give Its Companies A Leg Up. CLINTON: "Enough of the world's commerce now takes place with developing nations that exempting them would render the whole system not just unfair but unworkable. And that would end up harming everyone. One example of just such an unsustainable approach is China's currency policy, which does, in fact, cost American jobs, but it also costs Brazilian jobs and German jobs and other jobs, and it denies the Chinese people the full fruits of their own labor. China has been gaming the trading system to hold down the value of its currency to give its companies a leg up. It's currency has appreciated, but not enough. And currency is just one unfair practice." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Economic Club Of New York, New York, NY, 10/14/11)

Democrats And Editorial Boards Alike Voiced Their Frustration With Clinton And Obama's Failure To Lead

"China's Policy Has Probably Cost Americans Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs And Contributed To China's Destabilizing Pile Of Trillions Of Dollars In Reserves." "China's undervalued renminbi is a long-standing, bipartisan concern, and it is not a phony one: In pursuit of growth led by exports, China has held the renminbi down in relation to the dollar, rendering its goods artificially cheap in the U.S. market. The renminbi would gain about 20 percent against the dollar if it were allowed to float freely like other currencies, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. China's policy has probably cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributed to China's destabilizing pile of trillions of dollars in reserves." (Editorial, "Breaking China? Last Thing Needed Is A Trade War," The Washington Post , 9/1/11)

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) Urged The Obama Administration To "Pursue The Aggressive Policies" Needed To Protect American Companies And Jobs. "'China's unfair trade practices and economic policies are harming companies and costing jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country,' said Senator Casey. 'I urge President Obama to address these concerns with the Chinese Vice President and pursue the aggressive policies I have advocated to give Pennsylvania workers and manufacturers a chance to compete.'" (Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), "Casey Urges Obama to Get Tough On China Ahead Of Visit From Chinese Vice President," Press Release, 2/14/12)

With Just Months Left To Clinton's Term, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Said That "The Administration Continues To Let China Get Away With Flouting Trade Rules Just For The Sake Of Diplomacy." Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been sponsored legislation that would punish Chinese imports for the undervalued currency, also criticized the administration's report. 'The administration continues to let China get away with flouting trade rules just for the sake of diplomacy. Calling out China as a manipulator may be awkward, but it is time to take off the kid glove,' he said in a statement. 'With the administration continuing to balk on this, it's up to Congress to act. The Senate has passed bipartisan legislation to confront China and stand up for American workers, and Speaker Boehner needs to stop sitting on it and give it a vote.'" (Julian Pecquet, "Treasury: China Not Manipulating Currency," The Hill, 5/25/12)


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