by Denis G. Campbell
We are so screwed. We simply don't get it in the USA and EU. After three weeks spent travelling around the globe, the Chinese eat our lunch while we busy ourselves in silly ideological Left vs. Right fights over control of Washington, Westminster and Brussels.
We're bloodied in the UFC Octagon and the Chinese have us slipping out of consciousness in a sleeper choke hold. We're sipping tea, having intellectually dishonest political self-preservation screaming match debates and we somehow think this is croquet on the green vs. our very survival.
The national bird of China is the construction crane. The $40 billion they spent on the masterful Olympics of 2008 is dwarfed by the hundreds of billions in real infrastructure spending across the region. Next to my Hong Kong hotel was the end station of what will be a $200 billion dollar high speed train line connecting the twin economic powers Shanghai and Hong Kong. This internal Chinese rail line will allow one to travel to the centre of both cities, 764 miles (1,229 kilometres) apart, in less than 5-hours. The USA cannot build a single 84-mile high speed line between Tampa and Orlando without lobbyists getting in the way.
Too, the twin architectural masterpieces of Hong Kong International and Singapore's Changhi Airport Terminal 3 offer efficient, spotless, green, easy movement, pristine spaces with lots of shopping and conveniences. They make our crumbling air facilities look like the decrepit bus transfer stations they are.
China and Singapore build one huge structure after another. Retail is alive and thriving in both nations. In the UK and US one sees giant, empty, white elephant complexes. There was not one office building visited in either city that was less than 90% leased. Driving past Reading on the M4, and St. David's in downtown Cardiff, one sees giant empty monuments to economic failure underneath a giant windmill and decrepit rail station.
Are Washington or Westminster, Brussels or Cardiff capable of doing more than talking about investment and infrastructure? No they instead use classic magician's misdirection:
• dealing with the perceived scourge of a website owner,
• engaging in pointless Right vs. Left dishonest debates and
• using the white hot topic of devolution and ballots
to avoid real debate and discussion about the crumbling economic infrastructure and their failure to get the job done.
Election battle lines are drawn and Washington retreats to 60's-style outrage over the latest 'Pentagon Papers' leak and Muslim mosque-site racial fear mongering. Three weeks travelling around the globe and these were barely headlines on later pages in Hong Kong and Singapore.
While Washington is all abuzz over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as if Wiki-leaks is the '60s Pentagon Papers scandal writ large, it's déjà vu all over again as they attempt to re-write journalist shield laws to stop him vs checking to see if there is any truth or validity to what is being said.
The MSM needs to learn how to do their job again. It's time to reinstall the Chinese Wall between editorial and publishing regardless of who writes the checks or purchases advertising.
Instead of worrying about:
• who gets Helen Thomas' front row seat in the White House Press Room (a room filled with self-important, pampered and overpaid news dinosaurs),
• 'access' to the powerful (by being nice to them and accepting their flak SPIN rules) or
• winning their next higher paid job as someone's PR flak...
they need to stop accepting rubbish talking points on face value in the name of the "fairness/equal time" doctrine/standard and go back to asking tough questions and doing real investigative journalism.
It's time for a return to 1970's style aggressive Woodward and Bernstein journalism, the kind used to break open the Watergate scandal. Then, tough reporting brought down a corrupt US President. In today's media environment, Richard Nixon would still be President and flicking the Post off like pesky flies. Assange may indeed be a scoundrel and... he is saying what needs to be heard otherwise there would not be this tremendous effort to arrest and silence him.
China does not worry about such mindless chatter. They are too busy building the 21st and 22nd Century infrastructure to dominate the world financially. The USA allows $35 billion dollars to be spent on lobbying Washington each year. Thus is Washington gridlocked and broken beyond all repair. These 'players' in the US and EU are merely arranging deck chairs on the Titanic in the name of right vs left ideology. Keep it up Sparky, your lunch is not the only thing being eaten! Blame Assange so no one notices the bigger mess you've created?
Pssst, too late, we noticed.
Now with the choke hold almost done, you'll slip into dreamy unconsciousness and when you wake up the fight will be over, Mandarin spoken everywhere and you will shake your head in amazement wondering what the hell just happened?
Remember, you read it here first.