How now, kow tow?

Recently re-elected American President George W. Bush (secret identity and day job of super-hero “Mandate Man”) met with his buddy (from The Super-Power Friends), Chinese Premier Hu Jin-tao (secret identity and day job of “Debt Buy Guy”) at Santiago, Chile as part of the twelfth Asia Pacific economic summit, and their meeting is nicely capsulized in this piece (also known as this week’s visit to our friends from Beijing’s People’s Daily).
It’s an interesting study, actually. For one thing, it notes that in a virtually complete and total turnabout, George W. Bush is, hook, line and sinker, adopting the Mainland Chinese position towards “renegade province” Taiwan, i.e., for at least rhetorical purposes, there is “one China” (and two… or more… systems… for now…) Further, Taiwanese independence bad, “peaceful” reunification good. So much for all that ill will from our spy-plane being shot down back in The Year 1 B-911, or Bush’s calling China ” a strategic competitor”. Say this for the Chinese: they don’t hold a grudge. No sirree.
WARNING: The following paragraph should be avoided by people who are in danger of going insane if they know too much about the Bush family.
Recall that shortly after American-PRC relations were initiated via Nixon, ping-pong diplomacy and all that, our first envoy to the People’s Republic was none other than George H.W. “Poppy” Bush. Further, note that Neil Bush (yes, that Neil Bush) receives a great deal of “consulting work” from entities closely associated with the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army. We won’t even talk about the relationship between Rosalind Chao (Junior Bush’s Labor Secretary) and her husband Kentucky Senator Mitch “Prince of Darkness Pro Tempore When Bob Novak Is out of Town” McConnell and their cozy relationship to the Mainland regime. Knowing all of this, is it possible that American economic policy might be intentionally running up massive budget and trade deficits, for the benefit of China? I mean, China at this point is running a massive trade surplus with us (btw, pretty much alone; China buys more than it sells to most of the rest of the world), and of course, China is buying up all those T-bills we keep floating in lieu of actualy taxing our own people to fund our own government’s obligations.
(We now resume our regularly scheduled post; you may turn your monitors back on.)
To the extent there is good news out of the piece, it appears that our President is going to defer to China a lot more heavily than many would have anticipated in dealing with the Wildcard regime of the DPRK (North Korea). Good news, you say? We’re going to defer dealing with nutjobs who threaten the ability to destroy two of our most important allies (South Korea and Japan), not to mention, our own West Coast, to a communist regime? You bet. That’s good news. It means that George W. Bush has recognized the limits to projecting American power– albeit, limits that he created by chosing to squander that power in Mesopotamia for personal and domestic political reasons. It means we have no choice but to seek “regional cooperation”, which means we have to at least behave like grown ups, at least in that part of the world.
Ah, but it also means that the Chinese recognize that they have an investment too: in plain English, they own our ass. Hence, it will not be in the Chinese national interest to allow the North Koreans to engage in nuclear blackmail over us, or more importantly, to merrily dispense nuclear weapons to terrorists for use in North America. Why? Exactly: they own our ass. We is Beijing’s bitch, baby. Although the Saudis are sufficiently evil not to care all that much if their investment here is threatened by Saudi lunatics blowing shit up stateside, the Chinese are not. They need a place to keep selling their cheap tchotchkes: and that place is the United States of America; by contrast, the Saudis can sell their oil to anyone.
You see, this is the same reason why I am somewhat more optimistic than most people regarding Iran: the mullahs, Allah be praised, are greedy mother fuckers with billions being siphoned off to Switzerland. Unlike crazy psychotic (but pure and not-corrupt) players like bin laden, Ayatollah Khamani and the rest of the theocracy there don’t want to die. That would truly be a bummer to their investments. Why they want nukes is pretty understandable: their neighbors in Russia and nearby Pakistan and India have them, and as they learned from watching what went down in the rest of the Axis of Evil TM, having nukes means the United States can’t really make good on promises of regime change. Iran is a tad more dangerous than most places, given its extensive support of nasty terrorists like Hizbollah. Of course, Israel has a couple of hundred nuclear devices, and could, if necessary (and I suspect it would if it came to it) destroy most of the Arab and Persian world (that includes– first and foremost- Iran) should some kind of nuclear strike be aimed at Israel. See above re: mullahs and not wanting to die. Still, it just adds needless complication and risk that we should avoid (and would probably succeed in avoiding, but for having so starkly shown the limitations of American power… in Iraq.)
Solution? Exactly. The Chinese. A fair part of Iran’s nuke problem is helped out by “our ally” Pakistan and Dr. Strangelove Khan. If we can use China to pressure Pakistan to pressure Iran, we might actually be able to get something done via back-channels. Why would China help us out this way? See above re: “they own our ass.”
China treats dissenters pretty viciously (everyone from Moslems in Western Xinxiang province to Tibetans to Christians to Falun Gang to plain old political dissenters). But there’s not too much we can say about it. See above re: they own our ass.