Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Only Thing Increasing Tentions With China...

...Let alone outright conflict, will accomplish is giving increased leverage to the aspirations of a friend of Our Lord of the Tantrum Text... You know, the guy who dictates to Russian now. For pretty much everybody else in the world, most especially us and the Chinese, things will get a lot worse.

And all it would take is traded sanction here, and a trade sanction there (forget about an actual trade war); maybe some shenanigans with the debt of our their holding, and/or our currency. Pretty soon Walmart and Amazon, and anybody else doing the low cost merchandising model now, would be smacked with either serious negative margins, or equally serious price increases across the board. Then the perceptions of further instability would take the air out of whatever confidence either marketers or consumers would have for future decisions. Which then puts a lot of feet on the breaks of a lot of different investment or purchase choices. And you've seen how that car finally gets stopped before.

And just so we're clear here, this certainly doesn't go bad for just us. Just as much as we depend on their cheap products, or their willingness to buy our debt paper, they depend on us to be there to buy the products, or keep the bonds a safe place to put their surpluses in. It doesn't take a magic crystal to see that, with both the general economic slowdown worldwide, as well as new competition from other lower wage nations, China is already having a hard time trying to sell anywhere near what they could produce. You throw in a building bubble they still haven't dealt with yet, corruption they still haven't stamped out yet (at the truly egregious level anyway), and the social costs of unanswered environmental, and social disparity issues, and they have serious fragility issues of their own to deal with.

Our relationship with China needs the kind of patient, quietly firm, but still engaging, form of professionalism that only practical, and knowledgeable, diplomats know how to apply. China is a player now. They've earned, and deserve, our respect just as much as our resolve for a parity of equitable interests (for both them, us, and everybody else in the region). That means working behind the scenes, understanding the psychologies involved, to work a consensus (with all the stakeholders in the region) that mitigates the differences as much as possible, while looking for ways to positively engage in the very kinds of solutions that solve mutual problems. And how could working together to solve critical energy needs, and which also aids the environment, not be a good thing for both sides?

And that's the real bottom line here. There are just so many other serious problems, beyond just localized economic issues, that need to be addressed. The environment, Resource alternative solutions. Growing susceptibility to antibiotic diseases. The refugee catastrophe that radical climate change has already started to make itself felt. We can't solve these problems by ourselves. We are going to need help. All of the help we can get; from the Europeans, South East Asia, Africa, the Pacific Rim nations, and South America (I'd say Russia as well, but there's really going to need to be a leadership change there before we can engage them positively again). And the universe knows it's hard enough when things aren't direct turmoil. Start more war rattling and you only make things infinitely worse.

Is any of this really so difficult to see? It just seems so simple and basic. And yet even to recognize the mere consideration of such a basic approach appears to be out of the reach of the inmates now in control of our newly appreciated asylum.

Keeping a sense of hope now is becoming ever more difficult.

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