Saturday, October 25, 2008

People celebrate us at the grave rather early, don't they

In 1861 the major British newspapers famously enjoined that some who lived to see the birth of the USA would also live to see it's death.

Yadda yadda redux, thru 1914, 1939, 1941, 1948, 1964, Red Dawn, and lately the true morons of the arab world who see in failures of SOME mortgage backed securities, God striking the golden calf.

Add China.

"The Chinese system is superlative beyond comparison."
INSIDE CHINA By Willy Lam*, October 24, 2008
Western readers untutored in the Byzantine, antiquarian ways of the Chinese Communist Party leadership may be surprised that the CCP's propaganda machinery recently began an ideological campaign based on an article by senior cadre Liu Yunshan, "The Chinese system is superlative beyond comparison."

Liu, Politburo member and head of the party's Propaganda Department, wrote that "Chinese-style socialism has a superiority that is beyond measure; the China Model has demonstrated strong vigor and liveliness."

The financial tsunami that has hit the U.S. and Europe has given the CCP leadership a God-sent opportunity to lambast the "wanton ways of capitalism" and to sing the praises of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" or variants such as the "China model" and "Beijing Consensus."

Liu Yunshan

Irrespective of the fact that at least half of senior Chinese officials have sent their children and grandchildren to U.S. or European universities -- not to mention moving their assets overseas -- the cadres can't resist going on a binge of U.S. bashing. Take the chief executive of the China Construction Bank, Guo Shuqing.

While Guo, a protégé of Premier Zhu Rongji, had used U.S.-trained consultants to restructure the staid state bank before listing it on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets last year, he was effusive about the "superiority" of the Chinese economic model.

"We must shatter our superstitious beliefs in the foreign banking and financial systems," Guo said last week. "Foreign banks should learn from Chinese banks."

Liberal scholars in Beijing see at least two dangers from this triumphalism and other forms of self-congratulatory excesses.

Firstly, if the China model is such a world-beater, there is no more need for economic, let alone political reform. Opening up the Chinese financial and capital markets, for example, would only make it easier for junk bonds and derivatives as well as other sugar-coated Western financial products to make their way into China. It is therefore not surprising that the recently held plenary session of the CCP Central Committee had very little to say about further economic liberalization.

It is significant that in his talk about U.S.-China relations on Oct. 21, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson expressed concern that "some in China look at the recent failures in our financial markets and conclude that they should slow down their reforms." Instead, Paulson urged his Chinese friends "to learn from our significant mistakes and move forward with reforms that have the potential to produce important gains for China and its people."

Equally significant are mainstream Beijing views about the worthlessness of so-called universal values such as democracy and human rights.

CCP conservatives have long argued that "universal values" are invented by Washington as a "trap" to lure China into becoming a capitalist country through a process called "peaceful evolution."

Now that U.S.-style capitalism has proven to be worth little more than collateralized debt obligations, these conservative cadres argue, Beijing should not waste any more time on Western-style "universal values."

This argument runs counter to the thinking of relatively progressive leaders, such as Premier Wen Jiabao, considered the most liberal member of the Politburo. In an international press conference early 2007, Wen surprised observers by noting that institutions such as democracy and liberty were "universal values that should not be the monopoly of capitalist countries."

The implication was that, at least according to Wen, China should also embrace these values. With the ongoing tilt toward conservatism, however, the thinking of Wen and other forward-looking cadres will be mothballed for the foreseeable future.

Willy Lam is a Hong Kong-based China scholar and journalist specializing in Communist Party politics and foreign policy.
It's still amazing that after 232 years they just don't get it. Some important people just can't comprehend what america is.
There is a reason why, with all the turmoil, the value of the dollar has skyrocketed. Somebody has figured it out.
Meanwhile politicians kid themselves with delusional fantasies.

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