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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Huntsman is an anomaly

He actually knows stuff. 
Of all the potential GOP candidates who have hovered around the primary gate,  Jon Huntsman stands out because of an unusual trait.  He actually knows something.  He was appointed ambassador to China by President Obama, which might be considered a near-endorsement, he speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, and he keeps saying things that reflect some functional brain cells working.

One of the things he said was that the U.S dialogue with China needs to be done at the senior head-of-state level, and not left at the bureaucratic level, where Huntsman's office claims it is "too bureaucratic, too irregular, and ineffective."  And it may be Huntsman's influence as ambassador to China that has resulted in President Obama meeting with China's President Hu Jintao eight times since he took office.  The idea in Huntsman's comments may be argued with, but argued from the standpoint of what is the most effective way to build and maintain a relationship with China, not from the standpoint of the tiresome, doggedly stupid hacking points that make up what passes for political dialogue over the Internet and the broadcast networks.  

Huntsman's wariness about investing too much trust in bureaucratic agencies indicates that he knows about bureaucracies.  Whether bureaucracies are government agencies or corporate agencies, they are severely impaired because of the rivalries they inspire and sustain, because of the suck-buddy hierarchies they form, because of the stolid stupidity that nearly always triumphs over perspicacity, and because they are the creation of the fucking dumb.  In popular fiction, be it books or films, the typical hero is the cop, or physician, or reporter, or ordinary citizen who runs counter to and circumvents the bureaucracies that that try to control them.   Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman is the one who departs from the partisan cant and shows the tendency to look at original facts.  And one of those facts is the emergence of China into being a power in the world that is equal to the U.S. and has the capacity to surpass it.  To most Americans, China is lost in the mist of American jingoism with its Joe McCarthy-era hysteria over communism and Asian ethnicity.  Somewhat sentient Americans are aware that almost everything we buy, aside from some foodstuffs, is made in China and that China holds a good portion of the American debt.  They aren't quite sure what to make of that, other than that America seems vulnerable to the gigantic population of China that is emerging as a economic and political power which is gaining an undeniable prominence in world affairs.  And some of the more sentient seem aware that the Chinese are not particularly impressed or concerned with guns and bibles.  Or what is alleged to be the rhetoric of American politics.

Mao Zedong (I am so damned old I remember when we spelled his name Mao Tse-tung) did say, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."  However, that came out of his Little Red Book of political cant, which provided slogans and epigrams for the uneducated and the naive to recite.  He also said, "Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party."  That is one of those principles that is reflected in the Second Amendment, but seems too communistic for good Americans to consider. 

Mao had a vision of changing China from a mass of underprivileged people who were struggling to survive a tradition of slave-like existence with a relentless history of deprivation under a feudal caste system to a modern state that elevated the masses.  His concept of revolution was that  “We should take over the rich legacy and good traditions that have
been handed down from the past ages in China and foreign countries, but the aim must still be to serve the masses of the people.”  But there is no doubt that Mao embraced brutal, totalitarian methods to bring about the changes in mindset and social attitude needed to accomplish his revolution.  China has progressed beyond the stark facts of revolutionary tactic.  Now it must consider another part of the Maoist agenda: 
"We must unite with the proletariat of all the capitalist countries, with the proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and all other capitalist countries, before it is possible to overthrow imperialism, to liberate our nation and people, and to liberate the other nations and peoples of the world. This is our internationalism, the internationalism with which we oppose both narrow nationalism and narrow patriotism."

The current regime in China is building on the energies of Mao's revolution, but also sees that for China to be a force in world affairs it must recognize some facts of co-existence, and that there are defects in the traditional Marxist agenda that interfere with positive relationships with the established industrial nations and the emerging nations.  Here is where Huntsman has a huge edge among any candidates of either party who wants to deal with America's economic circumstances.  He knows the language extremely well, which means he has some understanding of the political aspirations of contemporary China. His experience is in matters of trade.    He has a perspective on the way that the Chinese and American economies intertwine that needs to be examined and discussed in terms of how the two countries can share a more prosperous future.

The American economy has stalled.  The Republicans do not want to talk about why, assuming that they even know why.  The Democrats mention the reasons for the stall at times, but seem to fear being regarded as too pessimistic if they face the reasons squarely.  The economy began its stall in the  1980s when the official policy was to get American workers out of manufacturing production and into  service jobs.  And that change has occurred.  China has absorbed a huge portion of America's manufacturing work.  The struggle to get out of the recession is geared toward getting Americans to spend more on goods.  The hitch is that when Americans spend more on goods with their service industry salaries, they are buying stuff made in China.  And so, the more we spend, the more jobs we create for China.  And the American production sector puts along with no primary production increases in our domestic market.  Huntsman knows China, which means that he knows how China's ambitions impinge on America's economic status.

American conservatives are more interested in defeating liberalism than they are coming to terms with China as an economic force.  They share an ideological dislike of liberalism with Mao Zedong, who said,

Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
Those contentious liberals screw up the plans of Chinese Marxists and American Conservatives alike.  But the followers of Mao at least did as much as they could to provide jobs for the masses;  American conservatives want the masses to show their proper obeisance to plutocratic authority.   Huntsman knows China and can, perhaps, help America understand it and come to terms with it ways that do not require the shutting down of American engines of production.  

Huntsman's reserved and quiet caution stands in stark contrast to the other GOP contenders, such as Palin, Bachman, and Perry.  Their inane pronouncements lurch often into sheer insanity.  Mitt Romney is totally fixed on his what-does-that-nigger-think-he's-doing-in-the-White-House? tactic which offers nothing but disparagement of the President.  With Huntsman, we have some one with whom a rational, respectful discussion is possible.

And  he is the one the Democrats need to talk with.  It can only elevate the discourse of both parties.  And maybe raise some real solutions to our worsening economic and political problems.  We need real discourse, not petty partisan cant. 

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States