China and the Red Carpet Treatment

The Obama administration rolled out the red carpet for the President of China, Hu Jintao.  I think Mr. Jintao may have been offered a honorary Golden Globe, and a  star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Whatever it takes to improve relations with the Chinese.  State dinner?  No problem.  I wonder what’s on the menu?

The Chinese may not be a superpower yet, but they are an economic force of international importance.  And they are the largest holder of U.S. debt at 900 billion with Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, despite a rocky human rights record, their manipulation of their own currency which makes their goods cheaper to buy, and their penchant for stealing intellectual property.

The thing is, money talks.  When you’re holding most of the chips, you get the royal treatment – champagne on the house.  We don’t want to make our largest creditor mad.  If he asks for a cold Coors light, don’t question his judgment, even though you know it is not the best beer the U.S. has to offer, and may even be the worst.  Don’t give in to the temptation to suggest a PBR or a Sam Adams Winter Lager instead and risk offending the Chinese President.

If President Obama can manage some concessions from the Chinese leader in exchange for the red carpet treatment, a nice steak dinner and a domestic beer, I’d say the beer summit would be a major success, one that the Republicans could do little to diminish.

And what concessions would be most welcome?  First, Obama needs to press China on human rights abuses.  Second, he should demand a stop to currency manipulation.  Let Chinese goods compete on a level playing field.  Third, the President must make the case for more access to Chinese markets.  Let the people taste a Sam Adams, drive a Chevy Camaro and make iPad art.  Fourth, open up the Internet to allow the people of China to decide for themselves what’s going on in the world.  Fifth, stop the pirating – the truth is, Hollywood movies are a tad overrated.  Sixth, stop the theft of intellectual property – come on, just buy the software already.Innovate more.  It’s fun, and addictive too like iPad art.

Beer Summit Just A Drink After Work

Despite the hype and great expectations, the “Beer Summit” on racial relations turned out to be just a couple of guys having a drink after work, which was pretty much what the Prez. had promised.  No apologies offered…no surprises there. The biggest surprise was the addition of the VP, who was served an obscure non-alcoholic Buckler beer.  Buckler?

As soon as the beers were placed on the Rose Garden table, maybe even before the photo-op toast, Sergeant Crowley took a swig of his Blue Moon, a spiced Belgian-style brew made by Molson Coors. The Professor’s beer was to be a Red Stripe, a Jamaican lager, but he switched to Sam Adam’s Light at the last minute. The President had a Bud Light, but I think would have preferred a Sam Adam’s Light, an infinitely tastier beer in my opinion.

The President immediately grabbed a handful of peanuts, and the VP followed suit. The suited Gates and Crowley appeared to be conversing quite amicably as the VEEP and PREZ listened and munched.

After the meeting, Gates issued a written statement on his blog and Crowley gave a short press conference in which he said their meeting had been cordial – that they had agreed to disagree and that they had also agreed to meet again and continue the dialogue.

In a telephone interview as reported in The Caucus, a NY Times blog, the professor said that he learned about the realities and stresses that police officers face everyday.  He also stressed that it is important for Americans to become “more sensitive to the realities of racial profiling.”

Gates goes on to say, “we hit it off from the very beginning” and that “when Sergeant Crowley is not arresting you, he is a really likable guy.”

While the Beer Summit didn’t exactly live up to the billing, it has touched off a needed dialogue on the dangers of racial profiling and unfair stereotypes of police officers.   Let’s hope the sergeant and professor can reach the summit together one day and take a whole bunch of folks from base camp with them.