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Dobbs: Hu's visit shows who's in charge

By Lou Dobbs
CNN

NEW YORK CITY (CNN) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with President Bush in the nation's capital Thursday after a cross-country trip for Hu that follows his state dinner with billionaire Bill Gates.

The Chinese president's first two days in this country included stops at Boeing and Microsoft, raising questions about the purpose of President Hu's visit. The fact that Hu's summit at the White House comes only after touring two of our most profitable businesses means "checkbook diplomacy" is no longer purely an American strategy.

China's economy has grown by an average of about 10 percent a year over the past two decades. This year, China moved ahead of Britain and France to become the world's fourth-largest economy. It's also changing the global supply chain, becoming the world's leading buyer of basic commodities, whether grain, meat, coal and steel, and is second to only the United States in consumption of oil. China is buying up American companies and other multinational corporations with almost $900 billion of hard currency reserves.

China has now arrived, and we no longer refer to our series on China's rapid economic and military build-up as "Red Star Rising." The title of that reporting is now "Red Storm."

But the Red Storm cannot be blamed for its continued manipulation of its currency, for its record $202 billion trade surplus with the United States or for buying up American businesses and hard assets around the globe while restricting access to its market and economy.

The fault lies entirely with the U.S. government, our lack of strategy and our failed policies. This administration and U.S. multinational corporations have lost sight of the national interest. This administration and the Republican-led Congress have permitted the dismantling of America's manufacturing base and created a dependency on China for our clothing, computers, consumer electronics and a host of other products that is greater than our dependency on foreign oil.

Make no mistake: Our leaders are the fools, and China's leaders are not to be blamed for taking advantage of this administration's commitment to faith-based economic theories and so-called free trade that permits the Chinese access to the world's richest consumer market while China denies our businesses access to its emerging market.

We can only blame ourselves and our business leaders for offshoring production to China. We can only blame ourselves and our business leaders for permitting the transfer of our knowledge base in technology to China. And we can only blame ourselves and our business leaders for shipping middle-class jobs to China in search of lower labor costs.

When you watch President Hu and President Bush shake hands at the White House, it would be wise for all of us to remember what that handshake costs America. And remember, there's a reason President Hu met with business leaders in Seattle first. He obviously knows who's really in charge of this country.

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