June 1st, 2009
09:49 AM GMT
HONG KONG, China – If Rip Van Winkle awoke today from his 20-year slumber, imagine his take on this week’s events.
He went to bed watching the bloody crackdown on democracy advocates in Tiananmen Square. He woke up to see U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, hat in hand, assuring Beijing the U.S. dollar remains strong and China’s more than $750 billion investment in U.S. treasuries is safe.
Other eye-openers as he drank his coffee and flipped through channels:
"What happened to all the Commies?" might be Van Winkle’s first comment. His second: "What’s YouTube?"
Van Winkle would be most surprised by what passes as global threats these days. Sure, global warming, terrorism and "rogue states" with nuclear arms are bad. But for Mr. Winkle, what an improvement it must seem over the Cold War and the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Now a Russian bank is buying a piece of GM. China bankrolls a large part of U.S. debt. The credit crisis must seem like a campfire chorus of "Kumbaya" to Van Winkle, as one-time adversaries snuggle together and trade assets.
Twenty years ago, the chorus of "We Are the World" would still be fresh in Van Winkle’s mind. Better than any 80s pop song, the credit crisis reveals how true that has now become.
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