Keeping your money in enemy territory
Posted by aogThursday, 20 April 2006 at 19:21 TrackBack Ping URL

I continue to be surprised how otherwise seemingly intelligent people can view the holding of American debt by China to be a Chinese advantage in any future conflict.

Perhaps such people are suffering from a mild case of Logo-Realism, causing them to confuse financial paper with real wealth. By taking on a lot of American debt and paper money, China in effect locates that portion of their treasury, the wealth denoted by that paper, in the USA. That would seem to be an advantage for the USA, not China.

It’s also amusing to see discussions in this regard about how much damage China could do the American economy by withholding its cheap manufacturing. Well, yes. But normally in war, one considers what both sides could do to each other. The USA could, with some moderate pain, switch its outsourced manufacturing base to a number of other nations (Philiphines, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, etc.). Where would China go for technology imports and a big export market? The ChiComs wouldn’t last in power more than 6 months if the USA simply canceled their treasury notes and blockaded the coast. It might cost us a trillion or two, but we would recover. The ChiComs would be gone, as likely would China as well, devolved into a set of fueding states racing to suck up to the USA to get preferential trade access.

But this is, of course, a piece with the standard complaints about American assertiveness, that only costs to the USA are counted, enemies presumed for some unexplained reason to be immune to the laws of economics. Just like a bad Star Trek episode and only slightly more realistic.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
cjm Thursday, 20 April 2006 at 23:50

bad Star Trek episode ?!

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 20 April 2006 at 23:54

Next Generation. Too many Star Trek villians were magical, not technological (like the Borg, who could near instaneously invent counter-technology to observed technology, even if there was no relationship whatsoever).

I need to write some book reviews about some books I have read in the last year or so that have this problem, which has really started to bug me.

cjm Friday, 21 April 2006 at 09:21

that’s too funny, i originally included something along the lines of “you must mean ST:NG” but backspaced over it. besides all the magical villains, it seems like half the episodes involved the crew suffering from hallucinations of one sort or another. for me, the fatal aspect of ST:NG (in the sense i stopped watching it) was having that horrible wesley cruncher on the command deck. that and picard clearly being gay. how do you rate B5 ?

Michael Herdegen Friday, 21 April 2006 at 11:13

About Wesley I agree, but they got rid of him.

If Picard was too fey for you, then you might want to consider turning down the sensitivity on your gaydar.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 21 April 2006 at 11:27

Wesley Crusher was such an absurd character that I felt sorry for Will Wheaton having to play the part. However, I rated Ryker and Trio as close seconds in annoyance. I mean, really, Ryker had a bigger libido and more insufferably arrogant attitude than Kirk! I just couldn’t take it after the first season and that’s essentially when I stopped watching Star Trek, although occasionally I would watch Deep Space 9.

I liked Picard, though. He at least had a command voice and Stewart’s acting made everyone else look like a local theatre troop (modulo Spiner, who was great until the writers ruined Commander Data).

cjm Friday, 21 April 2006 at 11:28

why do you think they had to ship westley off ?

some irc friends and i were having a discussion about the new ST prequel, set when spock and kirk were at the academy together. the consensus was that spock would spend his free time playing his harp thingy at local coffee shops, while kirk was sniffing around in the alien quarter.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 21 April 2006 at 11:30


I always thought a Worf / Wesley pairing was more likely.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 08:15

Blockading the coast of the PRC is obviously an act of war. Given that the Chinese Navy has no chance whatsoever of defeating the U.S. Navy, they’d have to go nuclear. Given that Chinese nukes can only reach Alaska, Cali and Hawai’i, (as far as we know), perhaps they’d call Europe and tell them that unless they get America to back down, the ChiComs are going to take Europe with them. Or, what if the ChiComs nuked all of the ME oil fields? That’d certainly throw a backbreaking kink in any post-war plans that America had.

Bottom line, it’s almost unthinkable that the U.S. would blockade China over a few lousy trillions of dollars.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 13:36

Blockading the coast of the PRC is obviously an act of war.

Yes, but the presumption was that a state of war already existed. That’s what is meant by “future conflict”.

But, I presume you agree with me on Worf/Wesley, right?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 06 March 2010 at 16:13

LOL. Can’t say as I have any opinion, except that I prefer not to imagine Wesley in any sexual context whatsoever, homo or hetero.

I misunderstood what you meant by “conflict”, assuming that it included any substantial disagreement between the two nations. But even in the context of open warfare, I think that a blockade would fail for the stated reasons. Really, direct, naked and total conventional war with the PRC is so loony that I can’t imagine any American leader attempting it.

The only scenarios that I can entertain are a limited-objective defense of Taiwan, which would be relatively easy, and of course nuking them.

Post a comment