The message Obama is really sending to America and the world is: “This dodgy guy here has lots of money and he wants to give me some to share with you. You probably won’t feel great about where the money comes from, but the very act of taking the money and having to deal with him personally gives me a chance to have a say in how he governs and conducts himself. If we turn down the money, he probably won’t talk to us and we won’t get to lecture him.” Basically, Obama is trying to parent Athina Onassis (the richest little girl in the world at one time) – if she also had a machine gun.
Sources have told me, via indiscretions, that Obama and his envoys have told David Cameron and Britain’s Conservative government that he expects them to take a lead in Europe because Obama plans to distance himself from the EU to focus on China. It’s worth noting that he’s running from the most unionized block in the world towards the least. Via another indiscretion, I’ve been told that China runs outsourced book printing presses 24/7 inside tankers criss-crossing the oceans. Meanwhile, those in Europe are holding their bosses ransom every time they don’t get a requested pay raise.
China doesn’t play by the rules of the West, and maybe a few things can be learned that will level the playing field. Importing lessons and tactics seems like a better long term strategy than kissing up. In a global competitive marketplace, not trying to outcompete them means handing them victory.
For some conservatives, this is okay. George W. Bush said in his recent interview with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg that keeping an open dialogue with China will help change them over time. He used post-war Japan as a successful example of US dialogue turning a country around. But with Japan it was more than that. They were devastated after WWII, and General MacArthur spent 7 years there after the war building the place back up from scratch. Post-war Japan obviously isn’t today’s China. Nor does the USA have the same kind of carte blanche to remake China in its own image.
The sane solution? Point out to Americans what China is doing better and more effectively. Then start changing the system at home to be more competitive. That’s what Obama’s speech should have been about: What they’re doing right. Why they’re winning. And how we can compete within the framework of our own values.