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15.7.11

New World Order 2.0

Reader Note: Letting a blind man set up a W7 home network is a recipe for disaster.  Fresh content, including the latest Acupuncture column coming soon.

 Back in the 50s and 60s, Japan made a fortune selling paper parasols for your happy hour fruit drinks.  They then parlayed that into status as an economic powerhouse, becoming the electronics wizards to the world, and miniaturizing portable phones from suitcase-sized affairs, down to a palm-sized mini-computer.

Through all that, they remained hitched to America's wagon, even after America turned on them in the 70s.  America blamed Japan for its economic woes, forgetting quite conveniently that Nixon had unhitched the nation's money from any kind of reality.

Still the Japanese remained faithful and took its place among the galaxy of economic powers that worshipped at the feet of Wall Street.  However, its success led to higher prices for imports in the US, and so Nixon went in search of new coolies to provide low-cost widgets.

Nixon struck pay-dirt in his long time nemesis: China.  It was a match made in Hell.  A rabid anti-Communist, in the throes of political turmoil at home, went hat-in-hand to a mysterious Communist demon called China.  No one really knew much about China at that point.  It had withdrawn behind its famed Great Wall after the Cultural Revolution.  However, capitalist ideologues needed cheap labor to keep the game going, and Nixon wanted a foreign policy coup to deflect the spotlight off his growing crisis at home.

The American people, being xenophobes and ignorant of much outside their own navels, watched in fascination as TeeVee beamed pictures of Nixon dining with Mao's successor.  When all was said and done, America had a vast new cheap labor supply to feed its insatiable hunger for profit.  In fact, America needed China far more than China needed America.

The US, in its hubris as global superpower and post-war economic dynamo, figured that it could scour the world to find places to supply its appetite for cheap, unorganized labor, and as dumping grounds for its toxic waste called bonds.  Without the stabilizing force of gold-backing, there was an increasing pile of rotten paper to support the fabulous exterior.  Like a financial Dorian Gray, the US looked young and powerful, but in the attic was a portrait of decay and putridity that hid the ravages of unbound capitalism.

China had become America's trashbin and servants' quarters.  Like all wealthy plantation owners, Americans began looking past the garbage dump and maid house, assuming they were not there so as not to spoil the nice view of the back 40.

Meanwhile, China had actually read Marx/Engels, unlike the hot-headed Bolsheviks next door.  They saw that capitalism was a necessary step in the evolution towards communism, and that by enriching a strong middle-class, the masses could be placated with gee-gaws and naked consumerism.

They began the process of opening to the West.  Salivating at the prospects of masses of cheap, unskilled and unregulated labor, the mega-corporations came.  They built factories, transferred technologies and, most importantly, began dumping their toxic paper.

China, being the longest continuous society on Earth, and lovers of strategy games like chess, opened its flank to draw in what it needed, while carefully managing the board.  In quiet deference, they played the game.  Where the Soviets had sealed themselves off, China threw open the doors, but only those doors which they closely guarded.  There was a method in their madness, which the West perceived as a surrender to the fast and furious lifestyle that was the trademark of its culture.

Using its legendary deference and quiet manner, China lured the West into shifting its balance back.  The entire Western dynamo became fully and inexorably dependent on China's uncomplaining shoulders.  Meanwhile, China pinched and saved.  It enticed the West to transfer its industrial base eastward and quietly waited until it had enough of what it needed.

One day, the West woke up to find China launching men into orbit and making deals for stategic resources in places the West had taken for granted.  China had bought the Panama Canal and focused its attentions on South America and Africa, lands that the West has simply assumed were too stupid to have ambitions of their own.

China was willing to make deals that enriched both sides of the table.  They didn't impose ideological clap-trap as conditions of trade.  They didn't threaten military 'intervention' if the local dictator was not in line.  China simply said they would pay for raw materials, which was the Achilles' Heel in their grand aspirations.  Where the US sent flotillas of war ships as both economic ambassadors and not-so-subtle warnings, the Chinese sent money...money they had stored up dealing with the West.  More importantly, they didn't send the IMF or the World Bank as hitmen to take by stealth what did not belong to them.

The Chinese, while having over one million men under arms, had little or no capacity to project force outside its borders.  Instead, they had something more enticing, the carrot of wealth.  They were willing to go into a deprived nation and help build infrastructure as a good-will gesture in commerce, not as a means of taking over and dictating local policy.  In exchange, the Chinese received strategic minerals and energy to feed their growing sphere of influence.

The Chinese had learned from watching the Soviets and the US that projected force was a no-win and very expensive gambit.  Instead, they used the vast sums of money they were earning to buy what they needed, and create relationships of mutual benefit that ensured loyalty on all sides of the table.

In its centuries-long march to dominate the world, the West had become impatient, and in their rush they had made a crucial mistake.  They had assumed that every major power would want to join the club.  Since the powers that were had conquered their own back yards and built empires of iron fists, they could not imagine anyone wanting to find another band-wagon.

In other words, they had built their legendary pyramid upside down.  Now their masterwork teetered precariously vaporous tip.  What's worse, the West could not fathom the Eastern mind.  They took all the head bobbing to mean consent, when it fact it signified only understanding.

As the West climbed further out on the limb, the Chinese smiled and nodded as they quietly sawed away.  Until now.  Finally, the West has awakened to the fact that the only sinews connecting it to the tree are the piles of toxic paper on which the Chinese are sitting.  Like a marionette, the West is suddenly eyeing the strings which are its only means of animation.

The Chinese sat and listened as the powers that were dictated the way things worked.  China was to play ball with the New World Order, and in return, they would receive lucrative contracts and be considered part of the team, the in-crowd.

But, what happens when the player no longer needs the team?  What happens when the star has finally earned enough to spin off on its own track?  And what happens to the team when the one player they had built a franchise around suddenly goes free agent?

If you look closely, you will see the lines forming for New World Order 2.0.  There is a schism opening along hemispherical lines, with diametrically opposed means and goals.  The question of the day is: whose foundation is stronger?

Continues...

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