Belmont Club

Not A Chinaman's Chance

Fareed Zakaria writes, “only China can save Europe”.  He says, “the true scale of the crisis is so large that neither Germany nor all of Europe” can solve it. And the Globe and Mail carries China’s reply to European requests to bail them out.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao delivered a harsh message to debt-stricken European countries looking to China for assistance: Get your financial affairs in order, and China may be able to help, for a price.

What? For a price? Did they expect China to help them for free? Zakaria suggests the French could offer to sacrifice their position on the IMF.  “It might be necessary to make clear that Christine Lagarde would be the last non-Chinese head of the organization.” Well it may be necessary to pay more than that.

One of the reasons China’s come up so quickly in the world is they still remember what used to be a great American expression: “there’s no free lunch”. That’s been forgotten in Washington, where the denizens think all lunches are free; all debts are “investments” and all spending should be right now, with “no games, no politics, delays”. Today Presidents say, ‘if you love me, give me the money’. And House Republicans may like fools, do just that. Because they’re ashamed not to. Well the Chinese may or may not like you, but they’re never ashamed to refuse you money if they can’t get something back for it.

One thing the Europeans should realize is that, unlike the politically correct West, China is nearly impervious to the invocation of victim status and practically indifferent to the whole panoply of quasi-religious causes that are held so sacred in Europe. Talking about “justice”, “global warming”, “humanitarianism” and “economic rights” cuts no mustard over there. It’s cash and carry. As is, where is. Or else it is, “do I know you?”

It will be somewhat entertaining to watch Brussels put on the customary show; dispatch their legions of special rapporteurs, ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary, who will gyrate, grovel and simultaneously unctuously demand things with an old-world hauteur, only to discover it doesn’t work with representatives of an even older world. It’s sad in a way and not a little pathetic. Remember when Tennyson wrote:

Thro’ the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day;
Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.

Well that was then. This is now. Nor should they walk away for show. As the comedian Russell Peters says, the Europeans need to remember the need to be a man. To strike while the discount is offered. If they hold out on the Chinese thinking that Beijing will lower the price, they may come back only to discover the price has been raised.

Somewhere along the line, when the multiculturalists argued and then believed their own assertion that all cultures were equal they forgot that they might have to live by that dictum. Culture is fate. It determines whether you are content to make a living by begging or through work. Europe chose the cultural of dependency and China the culture of profitability. And so now, all cultures are equal. Go on, ‘be a man’.

Storming the Castle
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