There are occasions -maybe too many of them- when Congressmen introduce legislation just to be able to say to their constituents that they are taking action and doing things. The legislation goes no where in particular, and after a few press releases aimed at their district, the legislation disappears into the vast Congressional hopper.
But in the case of the Wolf-Forbes Resolution 616 introduced on April 16th, the proposal may have legs. There has been a great reluctance in Congress to address the issues posed by China, affecting American security, America’s economy, and U.S. technological leadership.
There are reasons to hope that China, if it can democratize itself and put in a truly fair and equitable “rule of law” system, can be an exciting and positive factor in future. Likewise, there is reason to believe China may go the other way, become aggressive and dangerous.
Congressmen Wolf and Forbes (both from Virginia) are really putting these questions on the table. Probably after the Presidential elections, the time will arrive for Congress to finally do its job and lead an inquiry framed around the questions and suggestions made in Resolution 616.
Below please find links to the Wolf and Forbes proposals.
Congressmen Frank R. Wolf (VA-10) and Randy Forbes (VA-04) announced today they have introduced House Resolution 616 <http://forbes.house.gov/Components/Redirect/r.aspx?ID=241504-36683564> , to provide a comprehensive strategic framework of key objectives to guide the U.S. House of Representatives in developing policy with regard to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Their statement:
“In the past decade we have watched as China has grown to become the world’s second largest economy, the world’s largest manufacturer and has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in modernizing its military capability. For the first time in our nation’s history one of our largest trading partners, and the single largest holder of our foreign debt, is an aspiring peer competitor. Faced with this challenge, the U.S. government has failed to develop a strategic vision to guide an integrated, government-wide approach to U.S.-China relations. Lacking a forward-thinking framework, our government has been relegated to a position of reactionary policymaking. This is why we have identified key outstanding issues in U.S.-China relations and resolved to implement nine strategic objectives to address them.
Listed below are summaries of several strategic objectives included in H. Res. 616, introduced by Congressman Forbes and Congressman Wolf, for legislators to consider when creating new foreign, economic and defense policies.
* That the U.S. sustains and deploys unambiguous defense and intelligence capabilities to foster deterrence and resists coercion in the Asia-Pacific region.
* To encourage the PRC to support political reform, the rule of law, transparency, democratization, human rights, and religious freedom.
* To convey to Beijing that responsible behavior will create the possibility for a genuine partnership between the U.S. and the PRC, while unacceptable behavior will incur costs that far outweigh any gains. “
For background of recent significant developments in the U.S.-China relationship, click here. <http://forbes.house.gov/Components/Redirect/r.aspx?ID=241505-36683564>
To read the bill, click here. <http://forbes.house.gov/Components/Redirect/r.aspx?ID=241506-36683564>
To see the work as Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress, who share a common interest in the emergence of China as a political, economic, and military actor on both the regional and global stage, click here. <http://forbes.house.gov/Components/Redirect/r.aspx?ID=241507-36683564>