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« OPEC And EU Meetings Mull Over Collapsing US Power | Main | Japan And Saudi Arabia Triangulate With China »



Another master lesson from sensei Elaine. A top class finace and diplomacy crash course from a free blog. These are the wonders of the Internet.
The blunt style of American diplomacy is not resented just in Asia, by the way. China is going to be a most welcome replacement in World leadership if she keeps talking softly and carrying a big bag of cash. ( Theodore Roosevelt's quote is great, but did Americans ever talked softly? Maybe in the old days ) It's a pity really. America at its best - WWII, Declaration of Human Rights, UN, Marshall Plan -, was a noble, worthy leader. How the mighty are falling...
Kind of reminds me of the swift fall of the Spanish Christian Kingdoms in the 8th century before the energetic, tolerant and lower taxing Muslim invaders. A few years to lose the peninsula, nearly eight centuries centuries to get it back.
I would like to humbly ask Mrs. Supkis for a recommended reading list, appart from Kennedy's Rise and Fall of Civilizations and F.L. Allen's Only Yesterday, which I'm currently working on.


Elaine, remember Hong Kong is now Chinese -- no longer a free port.

No country is obligated to allow another country's warships access to its ports.

The Navy's attitude that it's entitled to use Hong Kong for R&R as freely as it did when Hong Kong was British, shows a good deal of the out-of-date "We Own the Seas" arrogance of the Navy's recruiting posters of the 90s.

The Chinese government is a little too staid and prudish to look kindly on the whoring, drunkeness and unruly behavior sailors (not just ours)expect during port calls.

For many years now, because the Japanese don't care for ports-of-call antics anymore than the Chinese do, the WesPac fleet normally put in to the Philippines or Hong Kong so the sailors could do what sailors do and get it out of their systems before going on to their homeport, Yokosuka, Japan.

The Philippines put a brake on this when they closed our bases, and it's easy to understand why the Chinese would like to end the era of Hong Kong (and Macau)as being treated(exploited)as the cesspools of the Orient.

This isn't necessarily part of a larger plan, but the consequences of a major International business center growing up and cleaning up.


B.A., could I also offer a recommendation -- A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin, which you may have read, but which everyone needs to look at in order to understand how things came to be as they are in the Mideast, and consequently how we blundered in and are currently self-destructing.


It's Rise and Fall of Great Powers, not Civilizations. My bad.
GollyGee, thanks. A Peace to en all Peace, I'll look it up.
Today I loved the bit about China and Japan teasing and insulting each other and having great fun. A very feminine perspective. Diplomacy understood as the flirting that women love and brutish, unrefined men don't understand. China, the grand dame demanding proper, unhurried courtship. Very interesting.
If that is so, the consumate courtiers, Japan and France, will ultimately prevail.
Speaking of seduction, The Economist, in last week edition, wonders about the need to learn Chinese by business people working there, when, they argue, most of their Chinese employees speak fluent English. A foolish, arrogant advice, considering how fuency in any language opens many invisible doors. They are no fools at the Economist, so my intuition is that they are afraid of Chinese language students being seduced and somehow "going local". A congruent caveat for British Imperial officers dealing with "natives". Empires do indeed collapse much faster than mentalities.


In his latest report out today, Gary Dorsch states that the US M-3 money supply is rising at 15.8% annual rate, its fastest in history. India's M-3 is going up at a 21% annual rate. China's M-2 money supply growth, which is hotter money than M-3 money, is growing at a 18.5%. Saudi Arabia in keeping its peg to the dollar has a M-3 growth rate of 19.5% and is experiencing a high inflation rate. According to Dorsch, they have been asked by the US to pump more oil to bring down the price so that the Fed can lower the Fed funds rate. So Dorsch wonders if it is peak oil or a bubble from money inflation. We shall see. In the meantime, the world's food bill is rising at a rate between 21 to 25% annually. I had read at another site that Russia's money supply was rising at a 51% annual rate because of not sterilizing their huge income from their trade surplus due to oil.



B.A., it starts slow, but get 75 pages into it and the only reason you'll put it down is to reflect on what you've read.

I once saw a survey of 200 Houston companies. They were asked if having bilingual employees would help business, and 95% percent answered yes.

Later they were asked if they gave priority to fluency in a foreign language in hiring, and 95% answered no. (This wasn't about Spanish, but all languages.)

Our great national debacle is that CEOs (often provincial to the point of being hicks) got control of statesmanship.

To steal a line from a far greater wit than me: "Hey, where are we going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?"


Heh, a top Chinese diplomat that recently visited Finland said that "China does not practice power politics" in it's foreign relations. The Chinese are scoring points all over the world by pointing out they are not behaving like the drunken and obnoxious US Cowboy everybody is annoyed with. Everybody wants the Cowboy to fall asleep, stop shooting holes in the floor, and wake up sober... Well the Cowboy may find his pockets picked when he does wake up but if he is sober he hopefully won't turn homicidal.


Not if they remove all his bullets before he wakes up...just look at what happened to the former USSR!!

Once the USSR economy collapsed, the military and nuclear weapons fall apart...these things need yearly if not monthly maintenance - without money, they become junk in a matter of months!!!

The same conditions will happen to US except China will be the one invited by US government to dismantle its nuclear weapons when the economy collapse!!!

Elaine Supkis

I was multilingual. This was an annoyance for foreign businesses in NYC. This meant I could understand what they were saying behind everyone's backs!

More than learning the language, one must learn the culture and in particular, the etiquette. The Chinese, when they first lived with me, had really lousy social skills due to the Cultural Revolution. They didn't know how to ring a door bell, ask for things politely, shake hands, etc. The government was most anxious they learn all this and they paid me good money to teach these things.

It was very amusing, watching them learn. For example, I had to stick out my arm and stop them from simply walking past me without any nod of the head or other acknowledgements. One Chinese top official even told me I wasn't the controlling authority in my house. I, in turn, tossed him out the door to the amusement of the other Chinese watching. Turned out, he was a BIG boss and he lost so much face due to this, he was demoted!

They take relative position very seriously. At the same time, once you get to know everyone, they are truly quite friendly and the ones I have known, all loved small children and they let my children run in and out of their rooms or made dumplings for them, etc.

My godmother said, when her father was an envoy in Japan in the 19th century, he would send her towards the women when he went to court and they would surround the cut little round-eyed blonde child and make it impossible for the samurai to send him away. He couldn't leave without the child, of course. He managed to make more than one deal this way. This is 'subtle' diplomacy.


Speaking of sobering thoughts, Dorsch went on to say that the worldwide food reserves are at their lowest levels in 35 years and that the Far East including Japan were net sellers of US treasuries in the last six months. This would explain the yen going up in value vis a vis the dollar. From my view, it appears that Bernanke should go down with the ship and let the recession develop even if it is severe because there does not appear to be enough oil and food supplies to encourage any more than a slow rate of globalization at this time especially since it exacerbates the "nobelized" global warming. And if it is true that Russia has a money supply growing at 51%, it has no moral hazard which throughout history has lead to serious problems with inflation.


"More than learning the language, one must learn the culture and in particular, the etiquette..."

Elaine, you're not often wrong, but when you are, you are sooooo wrong.

Without the language you can't hope to learn a culture. People are their language, and the language influences everything they think and do.

A classic you need to read (Do you sleep at all?) is The Meaning of Meaning by Ogden and Richards(1923.) There are new editions out. Mine has a forward by Umberto Eco. Not easy going, but you are one person who seems to have no problem with difficult reading.

Without the language, I can only imagine some of the comical situations that will arise trying to master etiquette.


Teddy, Wow again.

Keep posting.


This post is a perfect example of why this blog is a daily must-read for me.

The comment crew here is top-notch, as well. :)

Elaine, if I'd had teachers like you, I'd have stayed in school.

Elaine Supkis

One can know a language but be clueless about the etiquette.

Example: when I was in Germany, I knew the grammar, etc. But I kept messing up with who I should say 'Sie' rather than 'du', for example. And hand gestures, etc. All had to be learned. Everyone told me later, I was a big klutz until I finally got the hang of things!

It was quite a lesson!

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