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Fiorina’s Bad Proposal for U.S.-China Relations

Now that Walker is out of the running, someone has to take up his mantle of endorsing simplistic foreign policy proposals. Fiorina has accepted [1] the role:

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina joined her GOP rivals Tuesday in saying Chinese President Xi Jinping should not be honored with a state dinner at the White House.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO said during a national security forum in South Carolina that she still would meet privately with Xi. But she said she’d cancel the dinner as just one step in a new hard line against Beijing, which she criticized for cybersecurity threats, Xi’s military buildup in the South China Sea and human rights abuses. Fiorina said China, together with Russia and Iran, are aggressors that she would curtail if elected.

This is just as misguided and silly as it was when Walker first suggested it. Does anyone suppose that the Chinese president will become more accommodating or reasonable on outstanding disputes after he has been publicly humiliated with the cancellation of a state dinner? No, of course not. The Chinese government would be insulted, and would almost certainly become more intransigent on any issue that the U.S. wanted to address. Diplomatic snubs can sometimes have their uses, but gratuitously insulting the leader of another major power just to strike a “tough” pose for a domestic audience is not one of them. Fiorina says that she “still would meet privately with Xi,” but why does she assume that he would have any interest in such meetings after being publicly embarrassed? She is demanding that the U.S. engage in exactly the sort of high-handed behavior that the Chinese and many other nations find so objectionable in how the U.S. deals with other governments, but she doesn’t think this will have any adverse consequences for securing Chinese cooperation in the future.

It is a lousy idea, but it is in line with Fiorina’s generally confrontational approach to foreign policy. She declared that she would not “tolerate” Chinese military outposts in the South China Sea. This is a good example of making a rhetorical commitment that she almost certainly wouldn’t be able to keep without risking a major incident. When a politician insists that something is intolerable or unacceptable, that implies a willingness to take aggressive action to stop it, or else it is reckless, empty rhetoric. Either way, it tells us that Fiorina’s ideas for China policy are provocative and potentially quite dangerous.

15 Comments (Open | Close)

15 Comments To "Fiorina’s Bad Proposal for U.S.-China Relations"

#1 Comment By grumpy realist On September 22, 2015 @ 5:15 pm

It’s easy to see how she ran HP into the ground. Carly, you can’t fire the leader of another country.

#2 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On September 22, 2015 @ 5:50 pm

Her answers are crisp and many are wrong. I suspect she wants the world to think she’s tough, even though she’s a woman. An unfortunate attribute of glass-ceiling breakers.

Somebody should give a speech blasting these people for preferring petty confrontations and war to diplomacy. Fools. Dangerous fools.

#3 Comment By SteveM On September 22, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

Assuming the Carly put her finger up to feel which way the ideological wind is blowing in the Republican Party, her foreign policy belligerence merely validates that what is left of conservationism is firmly in the death grip of the Beltway Neocon Nomenklatura.

Rand Paul with his ill advised attempt at coöpting the war-mongers has dissipated himself into a presidential after thought.

Too bad…

#4 Comment By Myron Hudson On September 22, 2015 @ 6:33 pm

My wife constantly claims that if women ran the world it would be more peaceful. Of course she does not read the news. It scares her. Fiorina, Palin, Clinton, Albright, Noonan, Bachman, Rubin et al are all right eejits and the world would not be more peaceful if these wannabes ran it.

I think Grumpy Old Man has a good point but based on his name we have a lot in common.

Still, it would play out interestingly. USA: Forget the State dinner; we’re publicly dissing you. Come around to the servants’ entrance and we’ll have a chat. China: Oh, we were just on our way to Belgium, but thanks anyway. Find someone else to buy your T-bills.

#5 Comment By Scott F. On September 22, 2015 @ 6:33 pm

I think you’re missing the full picture as seen through Fiorina’s preferred lens. As discussed in an earlier post, her model assumes the US has “the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone knows it.” When other nations fear you at the existential level, why wouldn’t they accept your humiliating them and ultimately be grateful for any attention given them?

This is the GOP wet dream if you follow the US as THE exceptional nation to its logical conclusion. We can demand our terms or nothing, we can treat other sovereign nations with contempt and disdain, we’ll be greeted as heroes for our interference in other nations’ affairs and forgiven if we’d rather not be bothered, and if anybody’s got a problem with that, well tough, because we’re exceptional and “BOO! We could kill you all if we wanted to.”

#6 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 22, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

“Her answers are crisp and many are wrong. I suspect she wants the world to think she’s tough, even though she’s a woman.”

Of course and Sec. Clinton is no different. Trying to pin women being tough for cause and political effect on Repulicans or conservatives is like saying cat has fur because it has whiskers. The modern women for all of the speeches and advocacy that they are instruments of peace and smoother policies, have proven themselves anything but in every arena. They have assumed that the general belief is that women are perceived as weak and therefore must project stregnth — hardly a monker of political leaning aside from the polical correct adjustments that invade nearly all male female dynamics these days.


“An unfortunate attribute of glass-ceiling breakers.”

What occurred for women and it is largely white women, had less to do with glass celings as much and stretching rubberbands by those in the corporate world responding to the calls for diversity — pressured by the statistical data that indicated that discrimination was part and parcel to their hiring and promotion practices among qualified males of color. To circumvent the scrutiny, they conveniently made to strategic moves.

1. They hired homosexuals and
2. Women

Both groups at that echelon were white and allowed them to maintain the income and pwer streams among white populations. They were even willing to subject themselves to volumes and volumes of new regulations and programs about diversity in which outsiders came and fully castigated them, essentialy for being men and traditionalists.

I say that as a trainer in executive programs and listened to volumes of tales. Fortunately, we were an experiential company and it was expected that everyone fulfill the tasks inspite of gender, position, or color.

It’s not what the women did that i pay attention to as much as how what they did is discussed. And none of the women have been treated to what amounts huge errors in judgement that cost either lives or careers the way we discuss the errors made by men.

Glass ceiling breaking hardly. More like bending and breaking the standards to accommodate failings. So if I want to get ahead and I look at the demographics the cautious and perhaps wise choice is to ignore the failings, and lowered standards that the entrance of females have entreated.

#7 Comment By collin On September 22, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

Oh brother…How can somebody who LOVES doing business, could think China is such an enemy? (And she clearly loves doing business with outsourcing cheap labor!)

There are a lot of issues with China to discuss but nothing near this level of concern. China is a huge trading partner and we should be looking for shared interest here. Yes, this is stupid by Carly.

#8 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 22, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

Obviously I am ill schooled.

Her comments oif confirm why she intends to increase the military. What is not clear is why. China’s abuses and undemocratic behavior is no where near it was before Tianmen Square. And the current financial correction is a normal adjustment for overvalued markets, artificially propped up by government subsidies. That should sound familiar to Mrs. Fiorina as well as Sec Clinton who both supported bailouts of the corporate cmmunity as well as government subsidies to boost markets which go on unabated as of last months reports.

If anything retracting from relations is likely to exacerbate the matter she and Sec. Clinton claim they seek to redress.

Again, I do not think our posture should be one of fear, but we certainly are behaving as if we are afraid as opposed to confiedent. If the goal is to out manuever our neighbors via tensions created by us, suggesting that you intend to invade the South China Seas is hardly a sound way to go about it.

I remember when Pres. Bush came to the WH. There was no small agtation to send missles and ships to Taiwan. Which made no sense as it was highly unlikely that China was going to invade their most properous community.

Should we need to take action against China at some time, it should be a clear threat to the US or her allies. But before that we should seek to avoid such costs. not because we won’t win, but because it would most likely be unneccessary.

And that includes provoking a crisis with N. Korea.

#9 Comment By SF Bay On September 22, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

I’m from CA and have seen her up close. She defines opportunist better than anyone in politics that I know of.

Crisp language bordering on spitting the words out is off putting for many.

She ran an awful campaign in CA against Barbara Boxer who was vulnerable and managed to lose badly. Her work experience is a loser and she ran the famous demon sheep ad.

She will be the flavor of the month and with luck disappear back to wherever she came from.

#10 Comment By Andrew W On September 22, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

I worked for Kelly Services, working for EDS on a contract for HP during her tenure. I would advise anybody I knew NOT to buy one of their computers. We often KNEW that the computer had to come in for a bench repair but it wasn’t permitted until after a five calls and a series of steps that were useless. The service number wasn’t toll fee either. She’s barely better than Trump.

#11 Comment By jk On September 23, 2015 @ 4:50 am

Where are HPs made again….?

#12 Comment By Look At Those Cavewomen Go On September 23, 2015 @ 11:03 am

“I suspect she wants the world to think she’s tough, even though she’s a woman. An unfortunate attribute of glass-ceiling breakers.”

There’s not much of a glass-ceiling to break, really. Germany’s Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world. She was the most powerful woman in the world when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, too.

If Fiorina or Clinton were to be elected, no doubt a woman would be the single most powerful person in the world. But it wouldn’t be quite the great leap forward it would have been if Merkel wasn’t already the leader of a great power and de facto leader of the EU (population 502 million souls) for over a decade.

I don’t think Merkel ever said anything as pointlessly, stupidly belligerent as what one hears regularly from women like Fiorina, Hillary “totally obliterate Iran” Clinton, or dozens of lesser if equally blood-thirsty neocons and liberal interventionists.

At this level there’s always the little matter of wisdom and character. And the ironies entailed.

For example, if Clinton had heeded the wise advice of the most powerful and experienced woman in the world at the time (Merkel) about Libya, her presidential prospects would be far brighter today. But she was hypnotized by visions of nailing Gaddafi’s scalp to her wall. And if Fiorina possessed more of Merkel’s circumspection and restraint, she would be a far more compelling candidate, making most of her male rivals look immature. Instead we’re treated to the absurd spectacle of the same impulsive self-seeker who wrecked HP and Compaq, fired tens of thousands of American workers, and then shipped their jobs to China, tell us now how tough she intends to be on the country whose military buildup she helped enable.

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 23, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

” . . . tell us now how tough she intends to be on the country whose military buildup she helped enable.”

That is a very, very tough hurdle. But I wanted to check out when Mrs. Fiorina was CEO when most of the shift began. I think it is safe to say that your suggestion has very strong legs. Very.


#14 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 24, 2015 @ 1:02 am

But I suspect between Sec. Clinton’s corporate law practice, and legislative proposals Sec. Clinton has her beat hands down on exporting US occupations and importing H1 cheap labor.

#15 Comment By Tom On September 24, 2015 @ 1:38 am

This is just the latest manifestation of the delusion that normal diplomatic relations are some kind of reward. Instead of, you know, the normal state of affairs.

George W. Bush already insulted the last Chinese President by refusing to even schedule a state dinner. This is just ratcheting up the insults another notch: cancelling an already-scheduled dinner.

What’s next? Maybe we could put the Chinese President in a motel along I-95 instead of Blair House? Wouldn’t it be fun to fire off a 19-gun salute instead of a 21-gun salute? In fact, why not just have Air Traffic Control could tell the Chinese Air Force One to turn around and fly back home?