China holds much of the United States’ debt, and the U.S. trade deficit with China stands at about $240 billion. So it’s not surprising that fiscal issues would be one of the main topics of discussion between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama during their meetings Jan. 19.
After listening to Obama drone about how Hu had indicated a desire to move toward a market-based exchange rate system, the Chinese president avoided the topic. He did emphasize the Group of 20’s role in tackling financial matters. According to an analysis by Reuters’ Alister Bull, Hu’s remarks were “a subtle rebuke to Washington for presuming to lecture China about the global economy.”
So, the gist of their discussion is this: Hu told Obama to back off. Don’t talk about the trade deficit, don’t talk about devaluing the yuan and don’t talk about human rights.
In a letter to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington wrote: "But if we are to be told by a foreign power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little."
It seems we’ve traveled too far down this road to turn back.