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Robert Reich on Foreign Policy

Former Secretary of Labor; Democratic Challenger MA Governor


China's industrial policy is unapologetically direct

China's industrial and technology policy is unapologetically direct. China especially wants America's know-how. The best way to capture know-how is to get it firsthand. So China continues to allow many US and foreign companies to sell their wares there on the condition that production take place in China--often in joint ventures with Chinese companies. Even as the U.S. government was bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, the two firms' sales in China were soaring--in 2009, GM's sales there were up 67% from the year before, and it sold more cars in China than in the United States--but almost all the cars are made there. Procter & Gamble is so well established in China that many Chinese think its products (such as green-tea flavored Crest toothpaste) are local brands. They might as well be. P&G makes most of them there.
Source: Aftershock, by Robert Reich, p. 72 , Apr 5, 2011

Billions in developing country aid to was astounding success

Post-WWII, the nation found the time and the money in these years to rebuild Western Europe and Japan--spending billions of dollars to restore foreign factories, roads, railways, and schools. "The old imperialism--exploitation for foreign profit--has no place in our plans," Pres. Harry Truman magnanimously pronounced. "What we envisage is a program of development based on the concept of democratic fair-sharing." (He might have added: "and the containment of the Soviet menace.") The effort proved an astounding success. The years 1945 to 1970 witnessed the most dramatic and widely shared economic growth in the history of the world, which contributed to America's Great Prosperity.

In helping to restore the world's leading economies and thus keep communism at bay, the new global system of trade and assistance created vast new opportunities for American corporations--far richer, larger, and more technologically advanced than any other country's--to expand and prosper.

Source: Aftershock, by Robert Reich, p. 48 , Apr 5, 2011

It’s time to advocate strongly for Palestinian state

It’s time for the United States to pressure Ariel Sharon and Yasir Arafat to resume the peace process with an eye toward a separate Palestinian state on the West Bank. Indeed, the United States and the West may have to take a stronger role in creating that state. Without it, continued hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians will only further inflame the Muslim world.
Source: The American Prospect, vol.12, no.19, “How to Be Tough” , Nov 5, 2001

We’re too stingy with our foreign aid

Not only are we the richest nation, but it turns out we’re also the stingiest nation in the world. The aid we give to poor nations amounts to just $29 a year per each American.

Some people think we shouldn’t be giving out foreign aid to poor nations in the first place. That’s like doling out welfare checks-it doesn’t help them do better on their own. What poor nations really need, according to this view, is relief from the crippling debts they’ve accumulated over many decades. So last year the US and other industrialized nations agreed to provide poor nations with $27 billion to be used to pay off some of these debts. But here again, instead of leading the way, America has behaved like scrooge, pledging to pay only 4% of that total. And now Congress is reneging even on this little commitment.

If we think we’re really independent of the rest of the world, and won’t suffer the long-term consequences of global poverty, we’re not nearly as great, nor as smart, as we think we are.

Source: PBS radio, “Marketplace” broadcast, “America the Stingy” , Jul 6, 2000

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Page last updated: Mar 15, 2014