March 05, 2006

A Spirited Discussion Today

With Zeke regarding the old Cuba vs. China issue. It's interesting that Zeke and I approach the issue completely differently: he suspects that the reason we're engaging China is because it's such a ridiculously big market, and because it provides us cheap goods that sell like hotcakes.

I say that we might be attempting constructive engagement with Cuba if the noose were just a bit looser around its people's necks, and if the Cuban population in Florida didn't feel quite so strongly about punishing Castro's regime.

I also point out that the State Department's policies toward China have to reflect a friendliness no one quite feels, since we need China's help to keep North Korea in line. Not to mention making nice-nice with the Chinese directly, lest our vaguely competitive relationship turn into something chillier.

As we talk it emerges that Zeke feels commercial interests control the State Department, and it strikes me as an odd idea: State is run by career bureaucrats, for the most part. Some policy is made in the executive branch, but even that doesn't change with the winds to the degree people seem to imagine. Things like blockades are determined by politicians, rather than companies.

"Prove that I lie."

Posted by Attila Girl at March 5, 2006 01:04 AM | TrackBack
Comments

since we need China's help to keep North Korea in line

Which is precisely why China allows N Korea a long leash, to distract us from Taiwan

Posted by: beautifulatrocities at March 5, 2006 07:00 AM


There are several reasons why we treat China differently than Cuba.

1) China has an army of over two million. Not to mention lots of nukes. A war with China would be devastating. If Cuba ever invaded the United States the Miami Police department could crush their invasion.
2) The only reason we pay much attention to Cuba is the vocal Cuban population down in Florida. At one time Castro could be considered a legitimate threat to us because he was backed by the big bad Soviet Union. But now he is as much a threat to us as a squirrel is to an elephant. The economic blockade we have set up against Cuba is counterproductive. A sign of intelligence is to change tactics when the tactics that you have tried for years fail to produce the desired change. When you bang your head against the wall a thousand times without making a dent in the wall then if you are smart you will stop hitting your head against the wall and try to find some other way around it.
3) Your friend Zeke is correct when stating that one reason we are gently engaging China is because it is such a huge business market. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the State Department is controlled by business interests. One does not need to be in the hip pocket of the business lobby to realize that, all other things being equal, two nations with mutually beneficial trade relations are less likely to go to war than two nations without interdependent markets.
4) China holds hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. Treasuries. There is no way they would dump them all at once under normal circumstances. But suppose Taiwan gets too uppity for them and China decides to crush them militarily. Now, suppose the U.S. sends its aircraft carriers steaming toward China in an effort to help Taiwan. What happens to the U.S. economy if China dumps their dollars all at once? Bond prices will plummet. Interest rates will skyrocket. The housing market bubble will burst. A recession seems guaranteed.

And speaking of Taiwan, is their President nuts? President Chen scrapped Taiwan’s National Unification Council—a move that is guaranteed to piss off Beijing.

http://tinyurl.com/otls2

Now, I can understand their desire to separate from the mainland, but doesn’t Chen read a newspaper? Maybe he hasn’t heard that the U.S. is engaged in a war on terror and that we are stretched pretty thin with our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope that President Bush is on the phone telling Chen that if he is counting on the U.S. to pull his fat out of the fire after this provocative act then he has a big surprise coming. We just don’t have the horses to come to his aid, even if we wanted to.

Posted by: Robin Messing at March 5, 2006 08:57 AM


First: Dump the Mac and get a real computer. That takes care of the problem from your last post.

Second: Make a list of the "career beaurocrats" at State who haven't gotten where they are without kissing the ass of "commercial interests". That will solve your quandry in this post.

Third: Rice for President!?!? Keep the Prozac, it sounds like you need it more than the Mac.

Posted by: Jeff I at March 5, 2006 10:31 AM


oops...."bureauocrats", not the way I spelled it before. But then again, most of them were somebody's "beau" to get where they are.

Posted by: Jeff I at March 5, 2006 10:36 AM


Robin: I think you're on the right track. And I agree that it's time to end the blockade and subvert Cuba in the usual way--by giving the Marxists enough rope . . .

Jeff: Very innovative. Not everyone thinks of folding in material from a joke post to respond to a serious post. You sound like a creative guy.

Needless to say, i don't share your views of State. And I'm wondering why, if civil servants are kissing up to commercial interests, most of them don't have, you know, some money to show for it. But thank you for playing.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 5, 2006 11:56 AM




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