Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Flores Para Los Muertos
For weeks now we’ve been hearing different people in the Obama administration obsessing about China, alternately calling them out as either ‘failure’ or ‘success‘; threat or ally (in the fight against terrorism and/or maintaining stable currency markets). We are left with a picture of China as seriously schizophrenic, split between its political wing and its military.
What we have failed to do is look in the mirror. Is it not possible that we ourselves are divided about China? It is clear that they have made significant progress in the past number of years. And they have done so on their own terms without bowing to Western frills such as giving undue attention to human rights, individual freedom, transparency and such.
Of perhaps most obvious significance, they have managed to veer their economy away from its traditional ‘dependent almost entirely on exports’ model to turn on the effectiveness of its very own consumer base (if indeed their numbers can be believed). One must remember that China is a communist, authoritarian nation that tightly controls information and its dissemination. And, even more significant for us to understand is, that in such a nation, metrics and standards by which to gage economic (or any) activity are meaningless to begin with.
There can now be little doubt that the narrative that has been created shows China as rising and America in sharp decline. In this light, Hu Jintao’s upcoming visit to Washington may be regarded more as a hospital visit to a sick friend. It is unlikely that the Chinese leader will give any ground - only sympathy. It is equally unlikely that Obama does not know he is in no position to demand more. Already, China holds the fate of America’s economy in its hands. It can collapse it with a single word.
China won’t do this now. It is presently deeply engaged in buying everything it can with U.S. virtual dollars. For the time being, it is to its advantage to keep the dollar alive. It will make its move once it feels it is fully prepared to handle any (and all) fallout in the wake of America’s final collapse (which it feels is inevitable).
For whatever reason, we’ve managed to destroy our systems. Can we really blame China for putting up theirs against ours? Can we really expect them not feed off what’s left of the dregs of ourselves we’ve left scattered and unprotected, adding more and more each day to the scrapheap of failed illusions?
No, we’ve gone off track. High-speed trains, mercury light bulbs and windmills won’t save us. And, as with the dying, cut flowers are the only consolation.