Monday, June 04, 2007

Incredibly Stupid Statement of the Day, 06/04/07


There was never any doubt that today's Incredibly Stupid Statement would originate in last night's Democratic presidential debate. I was surprised, though, at the source:

[W]e need China, to lean on China, which has enormous leverage over Darfur. And if the Chinese don't want to do this, we say to them, maybe we won't go to the Olympics.


I expected Clinton or Obama to provide today's howler (and Obama came close with a pot/kettle remark to John Edwards about "playing politics") ... but no, that was New Mexico governor Bill Richardson.

The statement is incredibly stupid on two levels.

First of all, inviting comparisons to Jimmy Carter is not the way to win the 2008 presidential election. Yes, Carter has developed a reputation as a humanitarian and diplomat over the years, but that hasn't rehabilitated the reputation of his presidency. Few people remember 1977-81 fondly. Bad move.

But, beyond that, the idea is just silly.

I'm not saying that the Chinese don't care whether or not the US participates in the Olympics (they like our money, a lot) ... but if they give up something they regard as in their national interest to get us to do so, it will be the first time an Olympic boycott has achieved such a result. It didn't get the Russians out of Hungary or Afghanistan, and it won't get China out of Darfur.

If the US wants to lean on China, that can easily be done -- and it can be done in a way that benefits the US. How? Simple: Fine them.

Yeah, you heard me. Pass a law making it illegal to buy oil from Sudan, then fine China under that law.

Don't give me this "China is another country" crap -- the US government has made a cottage industry of abducting foreign casino executives for "breaking" the US ban on online gambling. What's the difference?

In this case, it wouldn't even be necessary to have federal agents lie in wait at the nation's airports for unsuspecting Chinese businessmen. Like I said, just fine'em. Say, $100 billion per violation. And if they don't cough up, no problem -- just lop it right off the top of the $320-odd billion in US government debt that China holds (adding in the costs of determining which T-Bills are held by China and voiding the requisite number of them, of course).

Four violations, and China owes us.

Of course, that might be incredibly stupid, too -- but probably not as incredibly stupid as getting so far in hock to them in the first place.

Some other bloggage on Richardson's Olympic boycott idea:

- Rick Moore at HolyCoast.com

- JohnnyB at LogiPundit

- Lynn Sweet at The Chicago Sun-Times

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