Mood: not sure
Topic: "Furriners" (4)
At one time in earlier days, Frodo had dreams of the Foreign Service. James Bond kind of foreign service that is, you know, shaken but not stirred. Once he got serious about his future, and realized his true obligations, he never lost interest in "foreign policy," and has prided himself in often being a source of information for people who don't seem to let ignorance be an obstacle to the formation of opinion.
Frodo once listened intently as a pilot for a large international airline went on and on about the future of Puerto Rico. Since he flew into San Juan regularly he felt that qualified him to tell everyone else how to solve the problems at hand. He felt, strongly, that the United States should simply give Puerto Rico their independence, since that was what the people wanted. Frodo, after a sip of his wine glass, asked the gentleman if he spoke Spanish. Frodo already knew the answer. Frodo asked the gentleman if he was familiar with a particular political party in Puerto Rico. Frodo already knew the answer. Frodo then proceeded to explain, succinctly, to the gentleman that the fallacy in his suggestion was that he was assuming that the Puerto Rican people desired either Statehood or Independence. Frodo informed him that approximately one-third of those people wanted to keep their present situation as a Commonwealth. The result being that the Puerto Rican people were divided three ways, not two, in terms of what they felt was best for their own futures.
Frodo has made it a point to never again fly that particular airline.
Germany has more invested in the southeastern states of the United States of America, than the entire investment of the European Union in China. Frodo knows that the motorcar manufacturers, and the real estate investors, and the chemical processors have made substantial investments all around the Shire. The Germans, and the French, and the Dutch, and the Italians, and all the rest, have not found it advisable to build cars, establish plants, or buy real estate in China. Nor are they buying tennis shoes, cheap textiles, or electronic games and toys. Yet, the Chinese maintain a huge trade surplus, while the US of A continues accumulating a trade deficit. It follows, logically, that the US of A does have an appetite for tennis shoes, computer games, and t-shirts.
Frodo is making a point here, dear reader, so your indulgence please. His point being that the $4.00 average cost-per-gallon of gasoline, which will of course be outdated by the time this treatise is completed, is a reflection of the increased demand for petroleum products by countries who are cash rich(er) than the US of A, like China, specifically.
Frodo has a suggestion, taking political and economic reality for granted, and would like to submit it for your consideration, dear reader. Why not simply ask the Chinese how plans are coming along for the Beijing Olympics? Tell them, in so many words, that the US of A is really looking forward to kicking their butts competitively, and that thousands of Americans are planning to visit, while millions watch on TV. That is, of course, if we are able to overcome our current economic malaise.
The word, dear reader, is leverage; oft used by Thomas Friedman, and almost everybody else who has no faith whatsoever in the Bush Administration. Would it not seem logical, suggests Frodo, to simply point out to the Chinese that the current valuation of their currency to that of the dollar is out-of-whack, and that the situation has become so severe that the US of A may have to stay home?
Once the tar-stained fingers lit another cigarette, and beads of sweat formed on foreheads all across China, a suggestion could be offered to turn the tide even quicker than an oil tanker could reverse course in the Strait of Hormuz. "Why not," suggests Ambassador Frodo, "ask your Treasury people to get together with our Treasury people, and set a new valuation to the dollar?" Frodo would offer that decreasing the Chinese currency by, say, 50%, would mean that the Chinese would have to pay much, much more for petroleum products, and that would most likely mean that they would have to reduce their demand. Ergo, the price of something with lessened demand falls. At the same time, the US of A would be paying a whole lot less for the t-shirts and frozen catfish imported from China.
Should the suggestion not be warmly received, it might be a good idea to start planning for a good-sized track meet in someplace closer to home.
Foreign policy and business go hand-in-hand. You certainly should have expected a Harvard MBA to know that, as opposed to having to go and unsuccessfully kiss the ass of some sheik of the burning sand, again.