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He Xun , China

Worries After Joys of
Obama’s Re-election

By Shi Ze Hua

Translated By Yu Huifang

8 November 2012

Edited by Heather Martin

China - He Xun - Original Article (Chinese)

In the U.S. election the incumbent president, Democrat Barack Obama, has defeated Republican challenger Romney and was re-elected on Nov. 6.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. For this election, more Americans voted for Obama, who rescued the U.S. economy from its slump, than for Romney's “give me an opportunity." However, the real test for Obama in the second term is still the unbearable sorrow, money.

In economic policy, the Obama administration is continuing its practical ways and not adhering rigidly to ideology. It does not blindly advocate crazy tax cuts like the Republicans, nor is it giving out large amounts of social benefits like the traditional "big government" Democrats; rather, it is using government spending and market intervention accordingly as catalysts for economic development. However, social security on a certain level also means a significant level of financial investment, while "taxing the rich" paranoia is likely to reduce the confidence of business development. For the next few years, the Obama administration will continue to walk the fine line between decreasing expenditure and increasing tax, searching for the golden mean in politics between the poor and rich.

In terms of social policy, Obama fought bravely in the election by advocating same-sex marriage and calling on young, American women to fight for their rights to abortion and contraception. As a result, young, free-spirited people of coastal areas were ecstatic and voted for him.

However, if the younger generation is to continue leading such lifestyles, this will mean opening a Pandora's box of various radical thoughts. The only way to resolve this is to increase federal expenditure on education so that the younger generation can all afford university education to nurture them to be models of freedom, openness and inclusiveness. And this, too, would require money.

Defense and foreign policy should assist the Obama administration in saving some money, as compared to the competitive and suspicious Republicans. For the past four years, the Obama administration has reduced their defense expenditure, leading American soldiers out of the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has saved much more money than what the Republicans have proposed.

However, the problem with the Democratic administration is its overwhelming concern with the “democratic process” of other countries as well as unifying the “liberal camp,” and it is willing to go to war too often, thereby wasting significant amounts of money. For the next few years to come, the two major minefields the Obama government should avoid are the civil wars of other countries and regional conflicts. Otherwise, the never-ending war expenditure will cripple the Democratic administration's future.

As for Sino-American relations for the next four years, the Obama administration’s foreign policy will include proceeding with its protectionist policies under the banner of protecting domestic labor rights. And the U.S. will not decrease its “guidance” for the Chinese economy and its economic policies. Still, the different structural benefits of Sino-American trade, investments and financial services will continue to be an important pillar in sustaining U.S. economic development and social stability. At the same time, returning to Asia ensures U.S. control over crucial areas and will greatly reduce Obama's limited foreign and financial resources. Among these, the best way for Obama to make money is moderate tension, but not to the extent of leading to a war in Asia or affecting the regional order; yet to a large extent, this will be a test of the flexibility and pragmatism of U.S. foreign policy.



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