Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fine China

The Cold War Sucked. Tension led to competition, competition led military posturing, which led to the threat of total nuclear annihilation.

I'm no fan of global thermal nuclear war. I watched War Games enough times as a kid to know that full on nuclear conflict is no good. Standing up to a communist empire had its down sides. But one thing I can respect is how we stood up to a global super power and finally won. We believed that the spread of global communism was going to feed the ultimate demise of the society. We would not let that stand, and the Cold War dominated the second half of the twentieth century.

Things have changed. China is an emerging super power. It's population and sheer land size make it a growing nation of emormous potential. Rather than locking that potential to it's own borders as the Russians did. China has opened its borders to trade, the Clinton administration decided to open the doors to China and ever since we have been buying cheap chinese goods. Our relationship with China continues to grow. We are growing increasingly reliant on Chinese goods, and we are watching as China grows as an emerging market for more expensive US made products.

While China has allowed for some capitalism, they remain a communist country, where there is no freedom of religion, speech or press. The people are not free to act as they please. We watch as China steps of Tibet, but even as we find ways to justify that, we stand by and let them squash the rights of it's own people.

Did we decide a decade ago that our principals were worth less than our economy? When in fact did we start making foriegn policy decisions based solely on the bottom line and forget about what makes this country great? We are a nation that speaks to backing democracys around the world, but when it comes to standing up to an economic interest we shrink. Our American colors may not run on the battle field of war, but on the battle field of commerce we always submit.

Protesting the Chinese Olympic Games is irrelevant. The only way to make a statement is to change our trade policy with China now. We must demand as we did of the Soviet Empire for real change before trade was possible.

The tooth paste may be too far out of the tube for our national policy now. But maybe it's time for the American consumer to limit their exposure to Chinese goods. Otherwise, in the long run...we might lose that Cold War.

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