Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome President Obama (and don't let the door hit you on the way in)

In his inaugural address to launch his Administration, President Barack Obama had this to say to the tyrants of the world (BBC):
To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of
dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history.

Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party didn't get the memo. Their actions over the last few days made it abundantly clear that they intend to keep the President's version of "history" at arms length.

In fact, they made sure their fellow countrymen wouldn't even see Obama's statement - a reference to the defeat of Soviet Communism was also left on the cutting-room floor (BBC). Before that, the cadres had the gall to declare March 28 "Serfs Emancipation Day" - a reference to the beginning of their bloody occupation of Tibet. The regime continues to clamp down on any and all dissent, be it based on faith (Epoch Times) or human rights (Epoch Times).

Just in case the new President thought any of this might be a conversation piece, let alone a move to change course and adopt a more anti-Communist foreign policy, the Korean colony announced just before the inauguration that it had weaponized plutonium (CNN) - a move sure to make it the focus of Obama's East Asian team while the Beijing crew returns to their usual duplicitous role as public facilitator and private instigator. Having squeezed almost everything they could out of the last Administration (One Free Korea), Beijing and Pyongyang are well-positioned to start holding the new one up for ransom.

That said (and I do hope the new president is paying attention), all of this aggressive behavior is being done for a reason - to hide the serious damage from the economic slowdown.

Economists are guessing that economic growth in Communist China fell to 6.8% last quarter (Bloomberg), which would be an annual rate below population growth. Unemployment could reach levels not seen 1980. One of the cadres' own professors is talking about job losses of 50 million this year (The Australian).

As one would expect, there is talk once more about reversing the slow upward valuation of the Communist currency and returning to the 1990s devalued peg (Epoch Times) - a move sure to enrage a heavily Democratic Congress already willing to consider putting up barriers to foreign trade. Given the unique nature of the CCP (and yes, that's a euphemism), a currency-corrective tariff has a far better chance of reaching the President's desk over the next two years than over the last fifteen.

What the President will do with it - should it reach him - is another story. With the wife of the friendliest American president Communist China ever had as his Secretary of State, Obama is sure to hear the "engagement" tripe. One can only hope House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will remember her anti-Communism of old and apply pressure in the other direction.

If not, the Obama Administration could go down as merely the extension of the Bush/Clinton reign of error in East Asia, but with far more damaging consequences. Still Barack Obama has been president for all of one day. No one can say for certain what he will do, and in what direction he will go.

That is most likely why the cadres played the Tibet-propaganda and Korea cards so soon: they're looking to influence Obama right out of the gate - no waiting on Hope and Change for them.

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