Amber postulates on the economics of war as Dubblya pokes at China with a pointy stick.
It is an interesting proposition. Facing the prospect of a slowing economy it would be a good time to stir up a little squabble in case we need goose the GDP just a bit. All of those bombs and planes and people being away from home create a lot of jobs, and a lot of vacancies.
In truth, I want to believe that our president is really smart enough to think that way.
The problem is, look at who he picked. I mean, granted, the Russians are no fun, and daddy already kicked the crap out of the Iraqis, so where can you turn for a decent enemy these days? China is the most credible, I will grant you that, however, even a casual glance at all of the armed encounters in that part of the world over the past 50 years bears out one glaring fact:
We only win when we use nukes.
The problem now is that there are some pointed back at us.
OK, so we *know* we can win when we are the ONLY SIDE that has the nukes. Then again, anyone can say that.
However, Korea and Vietnam, two dinky little countries with enough rabid dedication in their militaries to make Louis Farrakhan look like a Zen Buddhist, managed to annoy the US forces so bad, we went home, because we didn't like how unfair they were playing.
This isn't a section of the globe in which we have a terribly good track record.
China is a problem based solely on size. They could defeat the US in a war without firing a single shot. With a population ratio of roughly 5:1, China to US, all Jiang Zemin would have to do is draft 30 percent of his population and surrender... then coyly sit back and drag out the negotiations for the return of his army while the US rapidly goes bankrupt trying to feed and house 360 million POW's.
As for economic stimulation, there is another way.
Prepare for war.
This worked for Ronnie-boy back in the 80's. The painful admission that losing 90 percent of your own population compared to 93 percent of your enemy does not, in fact, constitute a victory, another tack was needed. Since we couldn't bomb the Russians into oblivian, he decided to run up our charge cards.
It's a risky move. Events on the world stage do demonstrate just how stupid international relations can be.
Imagine for a moment that your neighbor started playing his music too loud. You walk next door and knock on the door and ask them to keep it down. They tell you to kiss your ass. So you go home and turn on YOUR music even louder. Then your neighbor comes over and admits their mistake and asks you to be a sport and turn it down. You tell *them* to kiss your ass.
Now, at some point, you and your neighbor will have a scuffle and the tension is released and everyone is better.
However, on the world stage, the feuding neighbors keep buying bigger and bigger stereos until one of them goes bankrupt.
So *now* who is going to complain?
As it happens, we have been flying our "stereo" up and down the China border for a while, and sooner or later they were going to ask us to turn it down a bit. We, of course, said no, and the rest is still unfolding.
As we begin to dare the Chinese government to start buying bigger boom boxes, there is one sobering consideration. Our cards are still carrying a six trillion dollar balance, give or take a few hundred billion, and almost 20 cents of every dollar the US spends is paying the finance charges. The Soviet Union was a formidable enemy, but had inferior production capacity when it came to the nuts and bolts of war toys.
Still, we had to spend money like a drunken sailor to bankrupt them.
China is a little better off in the manufacturing department. Take a good look around your life, and try and determine how many things you use, daily, that were made in China. Cheap. This is not a country you want to have a trinket-making contest with.
When I worked as a computer technician, there were 2.5-inch hard drives we sold on a regular basis. Each little technical marvel was sealed in static sensitive plastic, with a label proudly proclaiming the ingredients: