They really, really respect us, now

Chinese-born pianist Lang Lang plays an old, Korean-war vintage anti-American song, “Battle on Shangganling Mountain”, at Obama’s state dinner for Chinese President Hu-Jintao. The Chinese, of course, just loved it.

I can just feel the respect our competitors in the world have for us, now that international relations have been “reset”.

This will not end well.

A perfect parallelism

From Sadie:

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient gave a state dinner in honor of the leader of China.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, is imprisoned in China.

All conclusions are obvious.

China not quite the sophisticated, humane country Tom Friedman thinks it is

Lately, you can’t read a Tom Friedman article without gagging.  Oh, sorry.  I didn’t mean to say that.  Let me try again.

I mean that you can’t read a Tom Friedman article without having him praise China to the skies as the example America should follow.  (I gather that the Saudis have fallen somewhat in his estimation.  I don’t know if it was the misogyny, the homophobia or the antisemitism that did it, or maybe he took umbrage when the Saudis turned on Al Qaeda.)  In any event, I thought Friedman would find this story interesting:

Wang Cuyun was attempting to prevent a demolition team from knocking down her house when she was allegedly beaten by a worker with a wooden stick and then pushed into a ditch that had been dug around the property.

A bulldozer then covered Mrs Wang with earth, burying her alive. By the time her relatives dug her up, she was dead. The incident occurred last Wednesday in Maodian village in Huangpi district.

Mrs Wang’s case is the latest in a series of cases in China that have drawn widespread public condemnation of the behaviour of rapacious property developers and the government’s failure to intervene. Last year, Tang Fuzhen, a woman in Sichuan province, climbed on to the roof of her three-storey house and set herself on fire to protest against being evicted.

With house prices rocketing across the country, developers often team up with local governments to force homeowners out of their property, according to a recent report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), an NGO based in Hong Kong.

It is not possible to refuse an eviction in China, since the government technically owns all the land.

Chinese law also does not require developers to agree a compensation fee before they demolish a property.

“The current framework offers little protection to homeowners,” said a spokesman for CHRD.

Read the rest here.

Admittedly, the story’s not about direct government action (rather, it is about government inaction), but it does indicate a certain cavalier attitude towards life that we might not wish to emulate here.  I’m sure Friedman will find some convoluted, cliche-ridden, soporific and illogical way to explain why this act of cruelty, one that seems to be part of a pattern, reflects well, rather than badly, on our primary debt holder.

Sacred cows are falling at SNL, as it skewers Barack Obama and his policies

Why didn’t they figure out before November 2008 that there was no there there?  The parody is good, but is it too late?

http://www.liveleak.com/e/d9c_1258865433

Even the Times has to concede that Obama’s charm offensive is unavailing

Liberals assured us back in 2008 that, after the horrible Cowboy Bush years, we needed someone charming to bring rogue governments back into the American fold.  So far, these same rogue governments have been resistant to Obama’s charm, whether in Russia or the Palestinian territories* or Iran, just to to name a few instances of rebuffs.  Chavez has been doing hugs and kisses, but he hasn’t changed his policy, so I’d say he too is playing the boy.

Now, China joins the line-up of potentially threatening (to America) regimes that are willing to be polite (Oba-mao), but don’t have the faintest desire to make concessions to one who is so manifestly weak and hostile to his own national interest.  After all, if Obama doesn’t care for America, why should they?  Instead, with a machiavellian stealth that is to be much admired, China used the groveling Obama for their benefit, while squishing him politely under their Communist heels:

President Obama made a big effort Tuesday at presenting his first visit to China as a step forward in America’s evolving relationship with its fastest rising competitor. But what emerged after six hours of meetings, two dinners, and a stilted 30-minute presentation to the press in which Chinese President Hu Jintao would not allow questions, was a picture of a China more willing to say no to the United States.

On everything from Iran, where Mr. Hu did not publicly discuss the possibility of sanctions, to currency, where he made no nod toward changing the value of the renminbi, to human rights, where a joint statement bluntly acknowledged that the two countries “have differences,” China held firm against most American demands. Combined with China’s micro-management of Mr. Obama’s appearances inside the country, the trip showcased China’s ability to push back against American pressure, analysts said.

“China effectively stage-managed President Obama’s public appearances, got him to make statements endorsing Chinese positions of political importance to them, and effectively squelched discussions of contentious issues such as human rights and China’s currency policy,” said Eswar Prasad, a China specialist at Cornell University. “In a master-stroke, they shifted the public discussion from the global risks posed by Chinese currency policy to the dangers of loose monetary policy and protectionist tendencies in the U.S.”

Read the rest here.

My husband assured my son this morning that Obama is doing a great job as president, and castigated me soundly for filling my son’s head with negative remarks about our president.  I refrained from pointing out that, while I give my children hard facts, and let them draw their conclusions, my husband has only airy-fairy conclusions, unconnected to any facts.  Some days, it looks as if even the New York Times is being forced to move beyond those rose-colored glasses.

_________________________

*The first time around, in a beautiful Freudian moment, I wrote that as “Palestinian terrortories.”

Tune in next week when the Empire State goes Red & Black to honor the Nazis *UPDATED*

Okay, maybe I’m overreacting, but WHAT THE HELL IS THE EMPIRE STATE DOING HONORING A BRUTAL REGIME THAT KILLED TENS OF MILLIONS OF ITS OWN CITIZENS, THAT STILL PUNISHES SPEECH WITH TORTURE AND DEATH, THAT USES SLAVE LABOR, AND THAT SEES ITS POLITICAL PRISONERS AS ORGAN DONOR MACHINES?

Just asking.

And yes, I’m definitely a hypocrite, because my house is filled with things made in China.  The sad fact is that there is a lot of stuff nowadays that you can’t buy at all unless you’re willing to accept Chinese manufacture.  Most Chinese goods are poorly made (and that’s not even touching upon the food poisoning and lead poisoning issues) so, as a savvy consumer, I try to avoid them, something separate from also trying to be a relatively principled shopper.  The fact remains, though, that Chinese goods are ubiquitous and my money supports that regime.  I still think, however, that being a prisoner of the marketplace is different from giving the Communist government itself the kind of accolade and honor that goes with colors on the Empire State.

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one asking this question.

The practical implications of Obama’s decision to pick a trade war with China

Obama’s foolish decision to pick a trade war with China has larger implications about his governing style, as Jennifer Rubin explains:

[D]omestic political considerations and the good opinion of his base are more important to Obama than just about any other concern. That seems to be the motivating factor in a lot of what he does. The international apology tour is catnip for his Left-leaning academic friends, who are delighted that we finally have a president who “understands” there isn’t anything special about America. He unleashes another investigation on CIA operatives, cheering the “get the Bushies” netroot crowd. He selects an entirely mediocre Supreme Court judge because the Hispanic vote could use a boost. And despite what must be the advice of free-traders within his administration, he has no qualms about risking economic retaliation from China to mollify his Big Labor patrons.

During the campaign, Obama’s supporters assured us that Obama was intensely “practical” and therefore would make fact-based decisions devoid of ideology. The reality is that he persistently tends to the whims and demands of his Left-leaning base (whose views he, in any case, sympathizes with), the result being a series of policy choices that send a thrill up the legs of union bosses and Harvard professors. If we trigger a trade war or throw the intelligence community into a tailspin, well, that’s a small price for keeping the base quiet.

To which I say, yup, you’re right.