Subtitle: Or How China Just Pwned America thanks to twenty years of Republican policies.
For years now the GOP economic plan to outsource US jobs to other countries (also ably assisted by certain neo-liberal DLC Dems), such as China, while also relying upon China to finance our national debt was viewed by people like -- oh, Republican presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney -- as the greatest thing since sliced bread or the wheel, perhaps. The lost jobs in the US of A, the growing income inequality between the super-rich and everyone else, the lowering standards of living for most Americans (heavily subsidized by an ever larger debt burden) -- well who in the Republican Party cared about all that? Profits were up and Wall Street was making money in good times and bad (thanks to corporate welfare, bailouts, lower taxes and subsidies for companies that don't need them). Not the former head of Bain Capital or the current head of Goldman Sachs, that much is certain.
They, like many of their comrades, just assumed that American military might would trump all other considerations when it came to American foreign policy goals (which for the most part are focused on helping -- surprise -- major American industries such and Big Oil and the Military Industrial Complex).
Today, however, our American Empire builders had to back down from a cherished policy, i.e., putting the screws to Iran by using sanctions to keep Iranian oil off the world market as much as possible. You see, for the sanctions to be effective (and I don't especially mean effective in terms of obtaining leverage in our supposed negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program), other countries have to abide by them. America doesn't really doesn't obtain any of our oil from Iran. We can't, by ourselves, affect Iranian oil revenues unless we are willing to impose a blockade, which, under international law, is an act of war.
Keeping Iranian oil off the market and and incidentally helping oil traders requires the cooperation of other nations if you don't intend to start another pointless war in the Mideast. In order to obtain that "cooperation" America said it would impose sanctions on financial institutions in countries that continued to buy Iranian oil. China, coincidentally, buys around one fifth (20%) of all of Iran's oil and gas exports. So guess what happened today.
China wasn't very happy about reducing its oil purchases beyond the level set by the American sanctions regime. The Chinese government also happened to notice that the US government had already granted exemptions to its European allies, India and Japan, allowing them a "reprieve" from US financial sanctions even if they bought more Iranian oil than we would like them to do. I'm just guessing here, but I think it is safe to assume that representatives of China's government had "discussions" with our State Department regarding this unequal treatment by the US government when it came to granting a similar reprieve from these US financial penalties. And so voila! Today, America's foreign policy with respect to Iran took a back seat to Chinese demands:
(Reuters) - The United States gave China a six-month reprieve from Iran financial sanctions on Thursday, avoiding a diplomatic spat with a country whose support it needs to try to quell violence in Syria and rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
With Thursday's decision to grant exceptions to China, which buys up to a fifth of Iran's oil exports, and Singapore, which buys Iranian fuel oil, the Obama administration has now spared all 20 of Iran's major oil buyers from its unilateral sanctions.
When you destroy your country's manufacturing base and weaken its economy to the benefit of another, and when that one country owns more of your country's national debt than any other investor outside the Social Security Trust Fund and the Federal Reserve, all the military power in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans. I don't know what China threatened to make us back down and allow it to continue to buy Iranian oil, but I can imagine it had something to do with their growing economic power vis-a-vis our relative economic weakness.
Now I don't know what you think about America's Iranian sanctions regime, but it doesn't really matter. China demonstrated today that anytime it believes our government's policies, foreign or domestic, impinge upon its interests, it can demand we back down or weaken those policies, and our government has shown that we will accede to their demands. For the more our economy continues its death spiral, one fueled by tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, increased taxes and financial burdens on the poor and middle classes, and other proposed "austerity" measures (that are doing such a bang up job in Europe at the moment to restore economic stability and growth over there) the greater China's influence worldwide and here in America - political, technological, and economic - will grow at the expense of our country, and in ways we cannot expect. In short, the more we rely on China to prop up our economy, the more we adopt economic policies that benefit foreign powers such as China, the more the Chinese government and it corporate interests will influence our politics and foreign policy at the expense of the vast majority of the welfare of our people.
Sure, the Romneys and Hedge Fund managers and Wall Street kings will make out okay. A "slash and burn" economic model can still be sustained for another 15 to 20 years and they'll make out like bandits, destroying America's manufacturing base and shipping it overseas, just like they have in the past twenty years. It's funny, but for all the conspiracy theorists on the right who claim Obama is some secret "Manchurian" candidate, those politicians who who are deepest in the pockets of foreign powers always seem to be Republicans, don't they? And Romney certainly fits the bill.
Don't take my word for it, just ask the good folks in Freeport IL (h/t to icebergslim) who Mittens cares about the most: the people of Freeport and their jobs or his buddies at Bain Capital's profits from tearing down and outsourcing Freeport's major employer, lock, stock and barrel to -- China? They know who is the real Manchurian Candidate in this election and it ain't President Obama.