Friday, July 07, 2006

Dim and Diane: An Afterword

The pace of geopolitical developments makes one giddy. The consensus of the political pundits, even those inclined to denigrate if not demonize Dubya, is that the only way out of the current crisis between Dim Dumb-Ill and the U.S. is for China to intervene. Unfortunately, China is disinclined, in part because North Korea is a trading partner, and in part, as was pointed out by right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson, because the fall of Dim and his slavish subjects could lead to a mad dash of refugees into a country already vastly overpopulated. And before we accept the answer that "the U.S. is a trading partner, too," Sino-American relations should be a bit more closely examined.

To begin with, just exactly what can the U.S. use to persuade China into intervening, into putting pressure on its neighbor to the Southeast? Those who reply, "Why, a warning of trade sanctions, of course!" take the position that China needs the U.S. to function, to stay fully operative, but it's a two-way street; to mix metaphors, a double edged sworn. Initiation of trade sanctions cannot stay unilateral for long. I don't know about you, but the last time I was in Wal-Mart, about 70% of the goods had "Made in China" stamped on the stickers. Fact is, Wal-Mart has earned a rep for putting a lot of American manufacturers out of business because its purchase of Chinese goods keeps U.S. companies from being competitive. And if the Chinese can make acceptable products for less, perhaps their U.S. competition should fade into bankruptcy. Those of us who regularly shop at Wal-Mart know that the Chinese brands are not only acceptable, they're a whole lot cheaper.

It almost goes without saying, too, that the U.S. cannot stand a trade war with China for an even more important reason. China is a major financier of our trillion-dollar deficit, which means, in effect, that they're helping, indirectly, to finance the Iraqi War. Helping to finance the Iraqi War makes the Veep's "blind" trust Halliburton stock go up and increases the sales of Humvees. We've already seen what the yuan can do on the international oil market. China imports few commodities that other nations indifferent if not hostile to the U.S. cannot supply, mainly, machinery and equipment, plastics, iron, steel, and various chemicals. Don't look now, but they've been very chummy with their neighbor to the northeast can supply most if not all of those goods, and the Chinese have already become a major player in the oil game. In fact, it's safe to say that our $3.00-a-gallon petroleum got that expensive, in part, because of competition from the Chinese. China has the fourth-largest economy in the world.

My hunch is that the U.S. would utterly lose any trade war with China. It's like a Mafia loan-shark or bookie "calling in the chits." Beijing says to Shrub: "Fock you!, give us our money. NOW!" China votes against us in Security Council resolutions almost routinely. Take their reluctance to assist us with attempts to isolate Iran. Why would the Chinese want to alienate a twerp like Ahmadinezhad and his mullah puppetmasters when they're importing Irani oil and gas? (For that matter, Iran and North Korea are cosy trading partners, too. If only to diehard conspiracy buffs, it's beginning to look like these countries are set to lock the U.S. in a vise!)

Years ago, circa 1980, I saw Texas pickups driving around with an ironic -- and prophetic -- bumper sticker. At the time, the redneck nation was making a big whoop-de-do about how Yankee snobs were sucking up cowboy oil. The high cost of energy was planted firmly on the shoulders of Northeasterners, whose long, cold winters sent heating oil prices skyrocketing. The cowboy bumper sticker read, "Let's Turn Off Their Oil and Freeze 'Em All to Death!" Not only the silliest, most geocentric sentiment imaginable, but one certain to come back to roost and haunt the clods who made the boast since it failed to take into account that our energy problems are universal. They're every American's problem. I must be a diehard conspiracy buff myself because I believe that we invaded Iraq not only to guarantee its sale of cheap oil, but because we wanted to establish a foothold in the Mideast, nation-hopping, as it were, with Afghanistan giving us an initial staging area, leading to a jump into Iraq, then a move on Iran.

I don't think we should be as worried about the lack of full U.N. Security Council support for our position on North Korea as we should wake up to the fact that the leadership of most other nations is hardly so naive as to miss the implications of such bullying. The greatest failure of the administration of King George II is its inability to lie its way out of a wet paper bag. None -- let me repeat, NONE -- of the reasons Dubya has given us to justify the Iraqi invasion bears out factually or withstands the cold light of truth. It should not be necessary to, and I don't want to bore the reader with, the litany of justifications for the unprovoked attack. The neocons continue to perpetuate all of the myths -- from Saddam's harboring al-Qaida terrorists, to plans for going nuclear (as if the WMD controversy wasn't resolved two or three years ago!), but none of it will wash. It's all b.s. Right wing neocons really do look like Nazis when they practice ol' Joe Goebbels's favorite trick: telling a lie often enough people no longer remember the truth.

The fact of the matter is, once the world powers tire of U.S. bullying and big stick political machinations, they're bound to unite to smite us. In a certain sense, we have become the new Nazis. And if we aren't careful, the nations with oil will cut ours off and freeze US all to death.

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