President Obama will be returning home from Asia empty-handed. The G20 has pushed him around and South Korea poked its finger in his eye with their refusal to open their market to American cars, in spite of selling millions of them in the U.S. Aside from a promise by India to buy a few cargo planes (which they probably had planned to buy anyway), he has nothing to show for his efforts except a few footprints on his backside, a black eye and a fat lip. Bullying Barack has become the new sport on the global school playground.
It should come as no surprise. Like a pack of wolves, these bullies can smell fear and weakness. His weakness in negotiating became evident almost immediately. When he went to Mexico to complain about the terms of the NAFTA trade agreement, he was sent packing with a bunch of new Mexican tariffs. He made no response. When he delayed allowing Mexican big rigs access to American highways, they smacked him with even more tariffs. Still no response. At the same time, while everyone inside and outside the auto industry knew that the Japanese were dumping vehicles on the American market, Obama pretended not to notice.
So it’s no wonder that he’s now endured the biggest humiliation yet at the hands of South Korea. In spite of taking in this orphan six decades ago, nurturing it and sheltering it from the bully to the north, it’s now clear that we’ve rasied a spoiled brat. After all we’ve done for South Korea, including opening our market to their cars, they thank us by refusing to allow us to sell them a few. They gave our president a swift kick and a push, laughing at his weakness. He then found himself confronted by the G20 and they too, laughing at his feeble attempts to address China’s currency valuations and global trade imbalances, gave him another shove.
Yet, all the while, he remains in denial, thinking these are his friends. As reported in the above-linked article:
…. he contended he has now developed genuine friendships with leaders including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak — and even Chinese President Hu Jintao.”That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be differences,” the president added.
This is sickening. Mr. President, these aren’t your friends. They’re your (our) trade adversaries. Just because you’re unwilling to put up a fight doesn’t mean you’re not in one. Until you display some backbone and come out fighting, they’re going to continue to treat us this way. It doesn’t have to be like this. You could change it in a heartbeat. Like a kid on a playground who gets pushed around and shoved to the ground one too many times and suddenly comes up with a baseball bat he found lying on the ground next to him, their attitudes would adjust very quickly. Watch how fast they start back-pedaling. “Hey. Barack. We’re still buddies, right? You know we were just kiddin’ around, right?”
South Korea’s refusal to open its market to American cars screams out for a response. The most obvious response would be to immediately slap a 50% tariff on Korean auto imports. If we can’t sell them cars, why should we buy any of theirs? If they don’t like it, then perhaps it’s time to start withdrawing our forces from the Korean peninsula. South Korea is of little strategic significance anyway. Who needs them? Who cares if they end up groveling in the rice paddies for the “dear leader?” Good riddance.
It’s time to “man up,” Mr. President. See that bat lying on the ground next to you (the one whose label reads “tarriffs” instead of “Louisville Slugger”)? Pick it up.