According to the NYT, Mr. Portman's (trade negotiator) nomination was held captive for several days by Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, who was demonstrating his irritation over what he and other lawmakers consider the administration's ineffective trade relations with China.
Indeed. We are awfully irritated with China for China is doing exactly what the Japanese have done with impunity for years except for the copyright violations. The Japanese were the ones worried about us violating their copyrights (ahem)! Nonetheless, America has many worries concerning China. We want to tell them how to adjust their currency, for example.
The Japanese hold $750billion of our currency and so we are mum. Can't rock THAT boat.
Congress is yelling pretty hard now. They even proposed a very hostile tariff on Chinese goods. This would start a war, a real war, if we did this. But we don't care. Yet at the same time, we basically surrendered much of our power in Asia today and then we will THREATEN them with a full bore trade war? The same things that are sinking our ship vis a vis China is true with Japan! And Japan will be our "ally" in this economic struggle?
This is why China is focusing attention on bringing Japan to heel. The Japanese will resist this, of course. They have used American power and gullibility to strengthen Japan after the WWII disaster. They have no intention of surrendering this power. It will be wrest from their hands...by the Chinese.
I remember when Americans were frightened of Japanese economic domination. President Reagan ran on "Buy America" and upstart retailer, Walmart, used this as their logo, "Buy Walmart means buying American". Then Reagan ran off to Japan to collect his $2.5 million bribe and our attempts at fixing the woes vis a vis Japan collapsed.
Now we are at it again, doing it backwards. Keeping "free trade" but not really doing it. Manipulating our currency while demanding others not do the same. Ask the Europeans. They are very steamed by Bush and Congress destroying the dollar.
And currency is hinged on the credit of a country and our wild spending as shown in the latest bill that spend wildly on miitary tools and adventures like there is no tomorrow and the sky is the limit...STINKS. Only we can fix this and note that Congress would rather provoke a trade war with China rather than clean house themselves.