Among President Obama’s many broken promises, none is as obvious as his failure to slow the growth of the nation’s debt. Instead of cutting annual deficits in half, as promised, he racked up record annual deficits and rapidly accelerated our accumulation of debt, which recently surpassed an unthinkable $15 trillion.
In political discussion, the debt issue is often couched in terms of domestic policy, but its effects extend well beyond our borders. In their new book, Bowing to Beijing, Washington Times editorial page editor Brett M. Decker and former Senate staffer William C. Triplett II, offer a sobering account of how massive debt complicates our foreign policy with China and in turn, with the rest of the world.
Our government’s excessive spending is financed largely by foreign loans—the largest share of which are Chinese. In fact, China holds over $1 trillion in U.S. debt. As Decker and Triplett argue, that amounts to a self-imposed threat to our security and prosperity.
“America is not getting beaten by any other power,” they write. “We are beating ourselves through deficit spending to fund wasteful big government.” Relying on China to keep America running diminishes our influence with the world’s most populous nation at a time when its global influence grows daily.
In their analysis, the geopolitical reality is as straightforward as it is startling: “As America has become the largest debtor nation in world history…China’s economy has grown more than 10 percent per year.”
That disparity is unsustainable. As the United States chains itself down with greater debt, China is building relationships across the globe to bolster its trade, its access to natural resources, and its energy consumption. In far too many cases, this means lost opportunities for America and our businesses. Our ability to challenge Chinese growth is limited by our dependence on their loans.
Last year, President Obama noted, “In no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy.” He’s right. But while the president admits that America's place in the world will be degraded if government doesn't change course, he continues on his ruinous spending binge that could fuel our decline.
Decker and Triplett methodically outline the many challenges that our Chinese-controlled debt has left us powerless to address. China’s currency is undervalued, leaving us at a trade disadvantage. Their alliances with rogue nations threaten our security. Their thirst for natural resources drives up commodity prices.