onservatives are fuming over the fact that the Obamas have finally done the right thing and held a state dinner in honor of the Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The singularity solipsistic couple hasn't always behaved diplomatically. From the grandeur of her White House Crib, the FLOTUS is famous for giving Prime Minister Brown a box of 25 DVDs including "ET," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Star Wars." The Queen of England got an iPod filled with images and audio of his Highness's inaugural and DNC addresses. Before the gangsta gifts there was the ungracious return of a Churchill bronze, loaned by the British government to George W. Bush.
Then came the Louisiana oil spill, which Obama used "to attack an imaginary company called 'British Petroleum' (it has been BP for the past decade, ever since the merger with Amoco gave it as many American as British shareholders)," in the words of EU parliamentarian Daniel Hannan.
Naturally, conservatives did not much appreciate the affronts to our British friends. They would have liked, instead, to see President Obama direct American aggression at our largest creditor: China.
I thought Obama has done quite well on that front. Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, late last year, he blamed China for global trade imbalances. The president of a country that was debauching its coin and all private savings in order to conceal public profligacy under his stewardship was calling out another major power for monetary policies that are geared toward production; toward growing the Chinese economy out of any foreseeable economic straits! I believe Barack Obama had no business berating China on that occasion. But if that's what conservatives crave, they ought to have shown the president some love at the time.
It so happens that China's current financial difficulties are a consequence of a self-defeating devotion to the US dollar. America's monetary policy, aimed at devaluing the dollar, is hurting China, whose currency is pegged to ours. "In order to maintain the peg," explains financier Peter Schiff,
"China must continually buy dollars on the open market. But the weaker the dollar gets, the more dollars China must buy." So as to keep purchasing greenbacks, China is inflating its own money supply. However, inflation in China and the attendant price hikes — brought about because of the debased dollar — could threaten the stability of a country that has "moved more people out of poverty in the shortest amount of time in the history of the planet."
Diplomat that he is, China's head of state refrained from raising this indelicate matter. For that alone, President Hu Jintao deserves dinner.
Maybe conservatives should tone down the perennial rah-rah with respect to China. For their part, liberals ought to focus less on Sarah Palin, and more on the bid for president of the megalomaniacal Donald Trump. Trump is indeed contemplating a run for the highest office in la-la land. The business mogul is motivated by the sense that the nimbus of great power that surrounds the US is dissipating. It hasn't occurred to him to search closer to home for the causes of America's economic anemia—at Fanny, Freddie, and the Fed, for a start. Since Trump has no idea what's potting, and is not eager to look in his own plate — he blames OPEC and China for the burdens of doing business in the US.
The Trump plan to reclaim global greatness and glory includes a strategy America has yet to try: the use of force, of course. Strutting around on the world stage, showing those Saudis and Chinese who is boss: this may serve as a perfect panacea for the deficiencies in Trump's persona, but is hardly a solution to US woes, at home or abroad.
Sadly, Sinophobia is sanctioned among American opinion makers. The dislike for China falls within the realm of perfectly respectable economic theory. Accordingly, the Chinese have levered themselves out of poverty not through industry, frugality, and ambition, but by manipulating their money and stealing American intellectual property.
Sounds like the green-eyed monster to me.