China laughs openly at Geithner -1 reply

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jumjum

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11th April 2005

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#1 9 years ago

The humiliations mount. Now even the Chinese, the Chinese, are laughing openly at the US. That's the Chinese, who have historically been careful to treat state visitors with the very greatest regard for protocol, who now laugh openly at the US Secretary of the Treasury. What tickled the funny bones of a bunch of students at Peking University was Geithner's assurance in a meeting which they attended that "Chinese financial assets (in the US) are very safe". Geithner backs strong dlr, says China's assets safe | Markets | Markets News | Reuters Wars have begun over lesser insults.

We should remember that nothing spontaneous ever happens at any Chinese event such as this, even if they purport to be "public". The events are all carefully choreographed so that the Chinese may perfectly control the message they wish to convey. (Olympics, anyone?) Also, China is still very much a "face culture", where the least attack on one's dignity or stature (one's "face") is considered the greatest insult imaginable.

So when the Chinese students were cued to laugh (and rest assured they were), China's despots were not just telling us they didn't like holding a bunch of our bad paper; they were talking down to us. The way only a very large creditor can talk to one very deeply in his debt.

I think it's a sign of Geithner's understanding of the relative positions of the parties that he meekly took the mockery. Had it been otherwise, as Secretary of the Treasury it was his historic duty in the face of such studied and open contempt to instantly rise in stony silence, briskly exit the building and fly home within the hour. But only powerful and free nations can conduct themselves with such dignified sovereignty, and we told the world were giving that up about four months ago.

So China owns us. They know it; we know it; and very soon they will begin to collect.

I think I liked it better when we sent gunboats up the Yangtze at will under the theory that until a country proved it had a competent and serious leadership, we would treat it's territory as flagless and open.

But then maybe China is getting close to doing just that to us.....




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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13th April 2005

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#2 9 years ago

I too laugh openly at Geithner




Von Mudra

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25th September 2004

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#3 9 years ago
stylie;4905314I too laugh openly at Geithner

Tis a man with very funny thoughts. Good thing he can't make them reality.

Oh shit....




Stefan F

Belgian ROFLs

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13th May 2004

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#4 9 years ago

you can always borrow some cash from us europeans :) contact me through pm for loan information




jumjum

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#5 9 years ago

Oh, the bitter fate we face!




Mr. Pedantic

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#6 9 years ago
Also, China is still very much a "face culture", where the least attack on one's dignity or stature (one's "face") is considered the greatest insult imaginable.

That is blatantly untrue. To most Chinese, money is far, far more important than personal dignity. Though to be fair, national dignity is up there.

So when the Chinese students were cued to laugh (and rest assured they were), China's despots were not just telling us they didn't like holding a bunch of our bad paper; they were talking down to us. The way only a very large creditor can talk to one very deeply in his debt.

So? That is the situation the US is in. They should stop pretending they automatically deserve respect because they are American. Time to earn it, people.

I think I liked it better when we sent gunboats up the Yangtze at will under the theory that until a country proved it had a competent and serious leadership, we would treat it's territory as flagless and open.

But then maybe China is getting close to doing just that to us.....

I don't think so. Modern Chinese culture owes a great debt to American culture. But then, so does the rest of the world. The rampant consumerism driving China's modern economy is a tribute to the principles of America, and I don't think many Chinese are willing to give up on the United States. Not yet, at least.

But I do have to admit it is very laughable that Geithner should assure the Chinese that their US debt bonds are safe.




jumjum

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#7 9 years ago

Mr. Pedantic;4905394That is blatantly untrue. To most Chinese, money is far, far more important than personal dignity. Though to be fair, national dignity is up there...[/QUOTE] I agree about the importance of money (and gambling!), but in a public situation I think personal as well as national face is still vitally important.

Mr. Pedantic;4905394...So? That is the situation the US is in. They should stop pretending they automatically deserve respect because they are American. Time to earn it, people...

But there are certain norms of diplomatic behavior. The deal is you treat everyone with respect. That wasn't always the case with Russia as the Soviet Union, North Vietnam, North Korea or even China under Mao and his successors. These regimes used diplomatic events as propaganda opportunities sometimes.

[QUOTE=Mr. Pedantic;4905394]...But I do have to admit it is very laughable that Geithner should assure the Chinese that their US debt bonds are safe.

It's true.




Mr. Pedantic

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#8 9 years ago
But there are certain norms of diplomatic behavior. The deal is you treat everyone with respect.

And the Western world ignored that convention for decades. China is treating the US how it has shown it wants to be treated. With contempt.




Meadow

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#9 9 years ago

Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, The Ottomans, Spain, Austria and Britain have all had their turn as global superpower number 1. None were good at passing the torch. The USA is going to have to accept it over the next few years, just as China will have to in 100. My bet's on India.




jumjum

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#10 9 years ago

Mr. Pedantic;4905409And the Western world ignored that convention for decades. China is treating the US how it has shown it wants to be treated. With contempt.[/QUOTE] Okay, you're trying to justify payback in kind because of American arrogance, yadda yadda. That's fine, and entirely understandable, but you've mixed apples and oranges: virtually nothing excuses the breaches of protocol I'm talking about.

You're confusing the situation I've described, with how countries with less power and prestige get treated at the negotiating table, a la Versailles or Compi├Ęgne. What I'm talking about is the very limited area of diplomatic protocol - like who stands where, appropriate toasts at a state dinner, or subjects to avoid in social settings with members of the government, etc.

It's just not true that "the Western world ignored that convention (protocol) for decades". Nobody brought Deng Xiaoping to the White House to laugh at China's infant mortality rate or the nonexistent sex drive of pandas: that would have been incredibly small and outrageously rude. Sort of like laughing at the Treasury Secretary's statement about the safety of investments in US bonds.

What you're talking about is some kind of retribution for, say, the sense of outrage China felt (or feels? I don't know) for having been powerless to stop the European powers from dividing her up like she was a bag of marbles. Entirely different subjects. Just because you might think some country has been an asshole, and even though you might enjoy that country's envoy being belittled before students, does not change the fact such breaches of protocol simply are not done.

And that's what makes China's open diss of Geithner all the more startling and significant. The fact it was done is thus 1) newsworthy for its rarity, 2) a measure of the extreme contempt China holds for the US (but that's more in the nature of confirmation of a continued attitude, not news in itself) and, 3) a sign that China is very, very sure America can't do anything about such an insult.

[QUOTE=Meadow;4905474]...The USA is going to have to accept it over the next few years, just as China will have to in 100. My bet's on India.

Could be. But I'm not calling it a done deal. When it comes to competition, the US historically has prevailed. It can defeat itself, as it is apparently intent on doing at the moment, through ceding its natural advantages or abandoning those "national character traits" which enabled it to achieve and prevail. It can most certainly emulate so many past civilizations and lose the sense of purpose and sacrifice. I'm not ready to say that will happen...but the disastrous arc it has just embarked on must not be allowed to ingrain itself in the national persona, or all is indeed lost.

As for China, as patient as it has been, I do not think it can wait for the US to fade to impotence and insignificance before its hunger for empire-building makes it take steps which will necessarily result in a war with the US. And any war with the US in the foreseeable future will be a disaster for China. China will lose.

India, I think has the less clouded future. It may take Pakistan (and that will surely be a nuclear war), but it will win, and I don't think it will be interested in territorial expansion past "recovering" Pakistan. After that I think we'll see India become more and more capitalist, and it will thrive accordingly.