Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Reagan-Thatcher revolution comes to an end. Long live the revolution!

One of the Seinfeld episodes was about the Bizarro World in which Elaine finds herself.  Up is down, and left is right.  It is chaos, until "normalcy" returns.

While Seinfeld was inventing scenarios, we are living in a Bizarro World.  Consider the following from a recent speech:
“We must remain committed to developing free trade and investment.”
No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,”
And, to put it more poetically:
“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room,” he said. “Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air.”
That person, the champion of free trade and openness?  China's president, Xi Jinping.

Yes, China's president "positioned himself as a defender of globalization and free trade."  Xi also said:
Countries, he said, “should view their own interests in their broader context and refrain from pursuing their own interests at the expense of others.”
Up is down, left is right.

But, that alone does not make this a Bizarro World, unless the previously staunch defenders of free trade have also flipped, right?  They have.

The GOP's standard-bearer, the president-elect, campaigned on the very ideas of protectionism and putting America first.  Remember?  The Republican Party has been merrily going along with this bizarro approach.  Imagine that!  The Republicans have lost faith in the market!  The same Republicans who complain that Democrats are socialists.  The same Republicans who cheered on the criticisms that Obama is a communist.  Welcome to the bizarro world, in which now the president of a "communist" country is the defender of free trade and openness, while the leader of the "free world" wants to tax imports and close the borders!
Chinese trade experts with government ties have already hinted that if the Trump administration imposes barriers to Chinese goods, they are ready to retaliate through steps like switching aircraft contracts from Boeing to Airbus, diverting food import contracts to rival countries like Brazil and possibly making it more difficult for Apple to sell iPhones in China.
Head-spinning?  Get used to it; after all, the demagogue has not even been sworn in yet!
As Global Times, a nationalistic Chinese newspaper controlled by the Communist Party, put it in an editorial this month: “There are flowers in front of the China Commerce Ministry gate, but sticks as well, hidden behind the door. Both are waiting for the Americans.”
The demagogue does not care for flowers, as his tweets and his entire campaign showed us.  Unlike the wimpy Obama and the Democrats, the Chinese will bring their guns to the fight.


Ramesh said...

Indeed it is a bizarro world, as you describe.

One of the most dangerous things you can do is to bait the Chinese on trade. They will retaliate fiercely. And they can retaliate as one, because (a) nationalism is their underlying religion and (b) central control ensures that everybody retaliates in the same way. If ever your President does something silly with the Chinese, he will get his ass kicked.

Sriram Khé said...

Unfortunately though, the demagogue's strongman personality will only gain popularity among the minions here if China strikes back hard ... like how Putin gets stronger every time!

I still cannot understand how tens of millions of Christ-hugging Republicans voted for this horrible human being! and continue to celebrate him and his victory!!!

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