"A Little Bit Lazy"
Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post figure that the bumpkins who read their rags need to know much about Mr. Obama's plans for an expanded Asian-U.S. "free trade" zone. For a headline regarding his announcement yesterday at the Asia Pacific summit in Honolulu you'd have to turn to the BBC. Moreover, none of the mainstream outlets — including the BBC — should be expected to make much of the fact that more "free trade" for America means the loss of more manufacturing jobs. And, certainly, none will connect that fact to the ability of Mr. Obama to attract bipartisan support for his plan, claim credit for transcending politics, and to then kill off as many manufacturing jobs as he can before the election.
What, exactly, is the connection? A not unreasonable working hypothesis is that the leadership of both the Democrats and the Republicans have agreed to bamboozle their more innocent, weak-minded constituents because the duopoly leaderships calculate that it's in neither party's interest to have a strong — and possibly independent — middle class. This hypothesis needs further development, but there it is.
In other details, it's interesting to note in the Washington Post story that during a bilateral side meeting with China's President Hu Jintao, "reporters allowed into the room for the opening remarks noticed that the Chinese leader did not look at Obama while either spoke." That fact could be read in a number of ways but it boils down to President Hu thinking Mr. Obama is something to be scraped off his shoe. No doubt Mr. Hu didn't like being chided by Mr. Obama for "an undervalued yuan," and no doubt he had other economic complaints, but part of the explanation for dialing up the freeze could have something to do with the first ever Japan-India bilateral naval exercises, announced earlier this month and to be held in 2012, and with increasing military cooperation between those states and South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, with the U.S. hovering in the background.
Instead of playing zombie tag with China the White House should be asking itself considerably more serious questions about whether it wants to be friends with Beijing, or not. Being friends, btw, would be the smarter answer.