Five months ago Chinese leader Hu Jintao held a high profile state dinner with Obama. Since then Obama has premised his policy proposals on a competition with China. Yet if he learned anything from that visit, it isn't at all obvious.
The state dinner was a meeting of two ruling oligarchies, and the Chinese version is not so different from the American version. Both are left wing ideologues using their political power to run capitalist economies in order to amass personal power. Hu brought along members of his oligarchy to meet members of our own oligarchy, exchange business cards and discuss doing business together. The difference is that we still have open elections and when the government tells us to be civil, we can still choose to opt out. For now. The average Chinese citizen doesn't have that option. The PRC has built a prosperous life for millions on the back of hundreds of millions by making and selling cheap goods to the American market. The rising middle class which profits sees nothing wrong, the dispossessed homeowners and villagers who protest too much get a chance to become organ donors for BODIES... The Exhibition.
BODIES is perhaps China's most gruesome export to America, consisting of flayed human corpses from the Chinese Bureau of Police, arranged in lifelike poses for the edification of Americans. And that is the difference between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. The Russians killed people and buried them in the ground. The Chinese regime figured out a way to market the corpses of its own victims to American families. Lenin predicted that we would sell them the rope with which they would hang us. We sold them the rope, and they hung themselves. China instead sells us the rope with which we are hanging ourselves. Each Chinese shipment is another strand in the rope. And when the rope is tight enough, all that the PRC leadership needs to do is kick out the chair they've been holding in place under us.
The People's Republic of China has very little interest in who runs America, because our foreign policy toward them hardly changes no matter who's in office. We keep spending money and buying their products, ignoring their atrocities and pretending that we have a great friendship. Obama has worried the Chinese lately, because his bad economic policies and weak attempts at bullying the PRC, show him to be a dangerous amateur. The Communist leadership wants America to go down, but not before China is ready to take its place. A premature collapse would wreck China's own economy and create worldwide chaos. So while Hu may threaten the dollar, at this stage if the dollar goes, so does the economic miracle which his leadership class used to distract a new generation of Chinese from demands for political freedom.
But aside from wanting to see that America does not destroy itself and its dollar ahead of schedule, so it can go on selling itself brick by brick to the industrial cities of the People's Republic of China-- there wasn't much to justify even a 5 minute phone call between Obama and Hu. There is nothing that the People's Republic of China wants from us, that we are not already giving them with both hands. We turned our back on Taiwan, shrugged at democracy protests in Bejing and more recently in Hong Kong. Chinese exploitation of Africa is opening up a new era of colonialism with hardly a comment. The Tibetan people are probably less than a generation away from becoming a minority in their own homeland.
China will go on doing nothing about North Korea, because while its leadership thinks Kim Jong Il is a pathetic imitation of Mao, he is still their preferred alternative to a unified Korea. And if Kim Jong Il keeps Japan and America on its toes, so much the better. Pretending to hold his leash, gives them diplomatic leverage. So long as Kim Jong Il doesn't actually nuke anyone, the leadership will go on nodding in concern and do nothing. If he does, they will sorrowfully shake their heads and blame America.
There will be no political or economic reforms that are not being carried forward of their own initiative. Not that there have ever been any. China has used its currency as a trade weapon against America with great success. It now has a boot heel on our economy. Its driving purpose has been to turn American companies into Chinese companies. And it is doing so. To sell products to China, you must move your manufacturing facilities to China. And when you do that, you no longer have any trade secrets left. Then your products will either have to compete with cheaper Chinese copies or your manufacturing branch will be bought out by a Chinese company. Then all you have left is a brand name and some deals with retailers who will be happy to get poorly made versions of the same products for less.
Obama's man, GE CEO Immelt, has begun selling General Electric piecemeal to the People's Republic of China. Within another 10-20 years, they will have it all. And Immelt will have a golden parachute and sit on the board of one some foundation tasked with improving human rights or fighting malaria or promoting climate change. Naturally this made him a perfect choice to sit on Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and be his Chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a name that probably sounded better in the original Mandarin.
The Soviet Union tried to collectivize farming by seizing land, tools and livestock from farmers, the resulting weaponized starvation destroyed Soviet agriculture. Mao copied Soviet collectivization and Lysenkoist science, with similarly disastrous results. And when he blamed crop shortfalls on sparrows eating seed, his campaign of sparrow extermination allowed harmful insects to flourish. And the Great Chinese Famine came. The tens of millions dead in both famines are a lesson lost on the Obama Administration, which still believes that it can use central planning to control the economy and reorder the country in line with its ideological goals. So far no sparrows have been harmed, but tremendous numbers of Americans are experiencing a new depression.
The problem is the same. Empires need resources. Wise empires expand their trade routes and tax their own people lightly. Ideological empires crack open the piggy bank and try to pay it back by nationalizing everything, including the debt and trying to work the people twice as hard to pay it all back. Obama cracked open the piggy bank, hammered it so hard that there are still shards from here to Shanghai. And it all still has to be paid for, one way or another. You can blame the kulaks or the rich or the sparrows, but it still has to be paid back. The great shovel ready infrastructure projects have gone nowhere. The bailouts meant payday for the oligarchy and franks and beans for everyone else.
But it's doubtful that Obama has figured out that he and a handful of his close advisers can't actually run the economy. A rising Republican congress has meant scaling back, not giving up. This is Obama's Long March, the re-entrenchment in preparation for 2012. Those progressives who survive the Long March plan to feast on suckling pork when the returns are in. The CEO's will outsource their companies to China and leave before anyone is the wiser. The problems they create will outlive them, but not affect them. This isn't a lack of vision, but a deficit of responsibility. Few walk away proud that they have built a better future. Instead they loot what they can, and if they leave before anyone notices, they pat themselves on the back for their success.
That is America in a Chinese mirror, where idleness brings slavery, socialism yields feudalism and the great power crumbles before the great plan.