Thursday, December 01, 2005

Washington in Lucid Dreamland

Dreams “are chief nourishers in life's feast,” according to Shakespeare's age-old claim by Macbeath. Indeed, while dreams offer a private means to explore inner reality and to gain unique, undeniable, personal experiences, psychologists also recognize that there is overwhelming evidence that dreams can be used to improve waking life, often immeasurably as storehouses of creativity.

Many people often remember no dreams at all, and even when they do, it is almost exclusively upon awakening. But scientists are now exploring now what they term as “lucid dreams.” In that condition, one realizes that he or she is dreaming while the dream is still happening. The dreamer becomes aware that the world being experienced, although appearing very believable is actually a dream and that his or her physical body is elsewhere safe asleep in bed. With this new understanding, the lucid dreamer is free to explore remarkable worlds limited only by imagination. The increased clarity lucid state often enables the dreamer to return awake laden with creative insights.

Examples of dream-inspired works are the Beatles' well-known hit "Yesterday" and Robert Louis Stevenson's “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll.” Golfer Jack Nicklaus claims to have solved a problem with his golf swing within a dream, which subsequently improved his game by ten strokes. And now we can even study the way lucid dreams provide U.S. leaders, officials and lawmakers with rich sources of creativity to help them formulate policy towards China and on Iraq.

Hence two leading U.S. lawmakers, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, have been exploring their lucid dream -- the United States threatens to impose tariffs of 27.5 percent on Chinese imports if Beijing doesn’t allow the yuan to float more freely -- as a basis for a bill they co-sponsored and which was backed by 67 other Senators.

Last week, the Bush Administration, resisting pressures from the China Bashers refused to brand China as currency manipulator. Instead, in a report that is issued by the Treasury Department every six months on the currency policies of the nation's trading partners, the U.S. only expressed disappointment that trading in the yuan is “highly constricted.” Schumer and Lindsey are angry and are now threatening to demand a vote on their bill, a move that could ignite a major trade war between China and the United States.

In their lucid dream, Schumer, Lindsey and other China Bashers on Capitol Hill not only expect the Beijing to surrender to American pressure. They also predict that China's trade surplus with the United States has continued to balloon in 2005 and is expected to approach a record US $200 billion would vanish into thin air if and when the Chinese agree to float their currency.

Beyond Dreamland and in reality, the Chinese are reluctant to be bullied into a decision they are not yet ready to make. And even if the United States would implement 27.5% import duties on Chinese products, such an action would do little - if anything — to change U.S. trade patterns, rising current account deficits and large public sector dissavings. Moreover, if the Chinese would indeed let the yuan float, the consequences for the U.S. and the global economy could be catastrophic.

If Chinese authorities were to float the yuan and the currency would indeed appreciate significantly, China's thirst for U.S. government securities would be quenched almost immediately. Instead of piling up low-yielding U.S. treasury bonds, the Chinese monetary authorities could allocate their capital more efficiently and might even be tempted to sell some of their existing stocks of dollar-denominated securities. Such a move would dramatically weaken the value of the U.S. dollar, encourage other central banks in Asia to sell their U.S. treasury bonds.

And without the Chinese, Japanese and North Koreans willing to finance American expanding deficit, even the lucid dream of President George W. Bush and his neoconservative aides of “democratizing” Iraq, the Middle East and the entire planet, so called Democratic Empire, would be shattered, especially since in that dream, no one raises taxes or cuts domestic social programs in order to free money to pay for the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and other national-building operation in the growing unmber of U.S.-controlled imperial outposts.

Like Golfer Nicklaus resolving the problem with his golf swing, Bush and the necons have drawn the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” within a dream in which effective Iraqi security and military forces defeat the insurgency, the Iraqi people unite behind their democratically elected government, and Iraq serves a model of freedom for the entire Middle East. These main elements in this lucid dream were described by President Bush during his Plan-for-Victory address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis on Wednesday and in a 35-page report on "winning" the war.

Nickalus may have improved his game by ten strokes by recreating his lucid dream. Unfortunately, when it comes to U.S. policy in Iraq, and not unlike the China Basher’s plans to punish China, it’s becoming obvious to those of us who haven’t fallen asleep and are not residing in Dreamland that the dreams concocted in the heads of officials and lawmakers in Washington are looking now more and more like real nightmares.

2 comments:

Gothamimage said...

Senator Schumer, whether you agree with him or not, is a very smart man. It's highly doubtful that he is unaware of the merits of your critque. It seems he is doing something that he knows won't pass, to just to be able to say he did.

Nixon used to propose legislation only when he was sure it could not pass. Schumer is probably doing the same thing. Not sure about Graham - he's not as swift as Schumer, but he's not dumb. He does have a lot of consituents who need someone to blame for their being screwed, and Graham, sensibly, would prefer they blame distant China.

On the merits of the policy, I have no idea, one way or the other.

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