S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

On Competition

(photo: "Free-Pictures-Photos")
Their lucky day ? 7/7/07 - We have heard much in recent weeks that gives us reason to question whether we can trust Chinese goods. From tires to pet food, we worry about Chinese imports. The Food and Drug Administration recently detained imported Chinese farm raised seafood items. It seems, however that the Chinese may be taking baby steps towards better regulation, at least with drug manufacturers. According to today's China Daily headline, "China tightens quality control of pharmaceutical companies," the number may be very small as a part of the larger production system. To quote,

China's food and drug watchdog has revoked the production licenses of five drug manufacturers since last July.

. . . According to Bian Zhenjia, an official with the administration, the main task of the watchdog in the last six months of this year is to increase the number of GMP inspectors in pharmaceutical factories and monitor the production quality of narcotic drug makers across the country.
Embarrased update (around noon Saturday):
I am leaving the above paragraph just as I wrote it as a lesson to myself. I composed this post before checking other sources, such as the New York Times. The China Daily left out the key details of the story, that China is sentencing officials to death as part of the crackdown. That is not what I meant by "baby steps." Is this the way China has decided to compete with us?! To quote from the NYT story,
For the second time in three months, a former high-ranking official at China’s top food and drug watchdog agency has been sentenced to death for corruption and approving counterfeit drugs, the state-run news media said on Friday.

. . . But the death sentences appear to be a strong signal that China is determined to crack down on rampant fraud, corruption and counterfeiting in the nation’s food and drug industries. . . The harsh penalties come at a time when China is under mounting international criticism over the quality and safety of its food and drugs.

They're together on this - This website carries a great photo of Bill and Hillary Clinton marching hand in hand in the Clear Lake Iowa 4th of July parade. The headline reads, "Clinton: Don't fear or ignore a stronger China." The story gives a good roundup of Senator Clinton's foreign policy view regarding future relations with China. The piece also notes that Senators Clinton AND Obama are co-sponsoring a bill to pressure China to stop undervaluing its currency. I again quote from the China Daily (of 7/6/07):

Senator Hillary Clinton, a leading Democratic contender for the US presidency, has called for frank dialogue with China on issues ranging from trade to currency to human rights and the environment.

. . . Clinton of New York, together with another Democratic front-runner in the November 2008 presidential race, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, have joined a congressional push to punish countries that undervalue their currencies as legislators seek to turn up the heat over China's currency.

"They're our competitors" - says Senator Obama. On The Issues To Barack Obama on foreign policy (April, 2007):

Q: What are America's three most important allies around the world?

A: The European Union as a whole has been a long-standing ally of ours, and through NATO we've been able to make some significant progress. We also have to look east, because increasingly, the center of gravity in this world is shifting to Asia. Japan has been an outstanding ally of ours for many years. But, obviously, China is rising and it's not going away. They're neither our enemy nor our friend. They're competitors.

They're about the past and the future - Senator Obama could have been speaking about his competitive relationship with Senator Clinton in the above answer - "neither our enemy nor our friend." I have admired these two candidates tremendously for their capacities to master the art of relatively fair competition. So far they have successfully walked this very fine line in their campaigns. It is good for the Democrats, and for the country for them to do so. The country sees an example of a civil rivalry; the Democrats avoid getting black eyes in a bruising primary race. Ann Kornblut in the (7/5/07) Washington Post writes a great analysis of their differing stances in, "From Obama, Clinton, Dueling Ideas of Change."

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) took aim at his main Democratic presidential rival during his July 4 campaign swing through Iowa, saying that "change can't just be a slogan" -- days after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) introduced her new slogan, "Ready for Change, Ready to Lead."

Obama has long cast himself as part of the future of politics, in contrast with a Clinton era that he portrays as part of a divisive past.

. . . Clinton, a two-term senator who also spent eight years in the White House as first lady, is trying a "change -- but not too much change" approach. Her advisers believe that her candidacy, to become the first female president, inherently signals change. But they also think voters want something familiar, rather than an unknown quantity of the kind that Obama, a first-term senator and an African American, might represent.

They're a good crop of potential Democratic presidents who will be quite able to handle the competition - with each other, and later with China. The United States and China are in the biggest competition of our generation. I submit that it is even bigger than our fight with terrorists. And the United States is in the midst of a competition of candidates that will happily (for some) end some 562 days from now, according to "TxSharon" at Bluedaze, who carries a Backwards Bush countdown clock on her blog. I stop by there often for her quirky Bush stuff, and just to see "BushTime" diminishing.

Their differing "takes" on things - References:

  • On The Issues - Every Political Leader on Every Issue. Bookmark this website, even if it seems a bit cumbersome. It is very useful if you favor issue-oriented material about both Democrats and Republicans.

  • China Web2.0 Review is a blog dedicated to track web2.0 development, review and profile web2.0 applications, business and services in China.

  • Marc van der Chijs' Shanghaied Weblog - Weblog from Marc van der Chijs, a Dutch entrepreneur in Shanghai, with observations about life in China and China related news

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