published Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

China's gold rules

"Our national debt is our biggest national security threat."

The owner of that statement is no right-wing wacko or extreme conservative. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, America's highest-ranking military official, made that declaration at a 2010 event honoring our military.

Fast-forward to a recent diplomatic event in China.

Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese pro-life activist who escaped house arrest levied against him for exposing China's forced-abortion policy that permits the government to control the population, hid in the U.S. embassy for six days.

The activist had asked to leave China out of fear for his personal safety and that of his family as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the largest international holder of American debt.

A deal was reached to turn Guangcheng back over to the Chinese providing that he is protected and allowed to study law. The deal was reached despite threats to his family and his nephew being beaten and detained.

Diplomatic relations with China can be summed up brutally: He who holds the gold, makes the rules.


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That's ONE interpretation of what happened.

But why do I have this feeling that if Obama had ordered him flown out of the Embassy, you'd be complaining that Obama was being too provocative and belligerent?

May 9, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
gngriffin said...

I would tend to agree with the earlier comment. Why would the United States government go out of its way to provoke China, our largest trading partner, and a nation whose cooperation we desperately need in order to combat piracy and coerce North Korea into better behavior? Particularly when there was a face-saving option available. Secretary Clinton and the State Department, despite some missteps, did an admirable job of juggling our goal of advancing human rights with the equally iportant goal of maintaining relations with China. This op-ed seems biased and poorly reasoned.

Concerning our debt, the truth is significantly more nuanced than this author would have us believe. While China does hold substantial amounts of U.S. debt, any leverage they might gain from that is mitigated by the fact that inflating the U.S. currency would devalue their own cash reserves by an equal amount. They would, in effect, be shooting themselves in the foot. The author implies that this debt is the reason for the actions of the State Department. No evidence is offered for this proposition, and with good reason: it simply doesn't make any sense.

May 9, 2012 at 4:23 p.m.
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