Sunday, May 02, 2004

But deliver us from Friedman

I'm back from my trip. But still working. No sleep for me. Sorry to force my late night ramblings onto you but I was reading this Friedman article in the NYT and came across this gem:

"Dear Heavenly Father, please keep the leader of China, President Hu Jintao, healthy and on an even keel. Please see to it that he moves steadily and carefully toward restructuring the Chinese banking system and ridding it of its huge overhang of bad loans and corruption, before there is a real meltdown that would be felt around the world. Give him the wisdom to cool the overheated Chinese economy without creating a recession that would prompt China to stop importing like crazy and start just exporting like crazy. And Father, forgive us for all the bad words we used in recent years to describe China's leaders — terms like `Butchers of Beijing.' We did not mean it. We meant to say `Bankers of Beijing,' because their economy is now fueling growth all over Asia, bolstering Japan and sucking up imports from everywhere. May China's leaders live to 120, and may they enjoy 9 percent G.D.P. growth every year of their lives. Thank you, Father. Amen."

Which brings up the obvious question: What is Tom Friedman smoking, and where can I get some? Cuz it must be pretty powerful stuff for him to come up with this crap. Here's a little secret: It is not in our best interest for China to become an economic powerhouse. This should be monstrously manifest. China is NOT our friend; if they become economically powerful they will gain the means to become militarily powerful and THIS WOULD BE A BAD THING. In caveman-speak: China strong bad; China weak good. On the other hand if China were to become powerful we would be back in Cold War mode, with a well-defined, autocratic, nuclear-armed, commie enemy.

Even if a Chinese economic melt-down negatively affected the U.S. economy if it affected the Chinese worser it would still be preferable to the alternative (i.e. super-fast Chinese growth). This sounds harsh. And it is. Welcome to the real world. Some things in life really are zero-sum.

Nota Bene: All misspellings and poor grammar are intentional, even if I am much sleepy.

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