Sick of China? Try Whack-a-Mole

Sometimes life has a way of working out for the best. More on that--and the wine cooler story--later in this post.

At the moment, I'm wondering if anyone else feels like no matter where we as Americans turn or how we'd rather not deal with it, an increasingly aggressive China pops up. Reminds me of the whack-a-mole game my kids used to play at Chuck E. Cheese's when they were little. Or Emeril Legasse. Take your pick. Me, I'm goin' with the whack-a-mole image. Bam! There's China. Bam! There it is again. Bam! Bam! Go away and leave our country alone. Bam, bam, bam!

Sorry. Do I sound too aggressive? Here's the first reason, from today's Los Angeles Times: "In China, reporters covering Biden get the heave-ho."

Yup. Apparently our reporters were literally pushed out the Beijing door. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi Jingping had gathered in Great Hall of the People to make nice and present a happy, united front. In Xi's opening remarks, he expressed his desire to "work with America 'to promote development of relations between our great nations.'" Then Biden took his turn:

…he spoke of the importance of developing a close personal relationship, one of 'openness and candor,' and stated his belief that foreign policy 'is more than just formal visits, it's establishing relationships and trust.'

…Only minutes into Biden's remarks, Chinese officials had begun to direct reporters toward the exits. Most reporters and the vice president's staff objected, saying it was important to cover the entirety of Biden's opening statement, as had been the agreement between officials beforehand.

…Soon the stern shooing turned into forceful shoving. As reporters tried to stand their ground, Chinese officials locked arms and pushed forward in a show of overwhelming force.

Talk about arrested "development." Add to this the New York Times report that Chinese engineers dissected / analyzed / scrutinized the remaining piece of the U.S. military helicopter used in the raid on Osama bin Laden:

In the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s intelligence service probably allowed Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a stealth American helicopter that crashed during the operation, according to American officials and others familiar with the classified intelligence assessments…

American spy agencies have concluded that it is likely that Chinese engineers — at the invitation of Pakistani intelligence operatives — took detailed photographs of the severed tail of the Black Hawk helicopter equipped with classified technology designed to elude radar, the officials said. The members of the Navy Seals team who conducted the raid had tried to destroy the helicopter after it crashed at Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but the tail section of the aircraft remained largely intact.

But we can all relax. China just wants our two "great nations" to be friends. Sure it does.

Bam!

Ready for more? Get your whack-a-mole mallet ready. An opinion piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal ("China's Threat to World Order," by Jamie F. Metzel, August 17, 2011) stresses that "Beijing will do whatever it takes to advance its narrowly defined economic interests, even if that requires riding roughshod over global norms."

For example, writes Metzel, China's five-year computer hacking campaign "targeted 70 institutions in the U.S. and 13 other countries and stole arguably the greatest cache of intellectual property in history...A recent report by the U.S. International Trade Commission asserts that Chinese piracy and counterfeiting of U. S intellectual property cost American businesses approximately $50 billion in 2009."

Adding insult to injury, Beijing's currency manipulation "gives Chinese exports an unfair advantage and is a primary cause…of the instability we are now seeing in world markets."

Bam!

These China-news pop-ups make my relief at no longer owning the Made in China Vissani 52-Bottle Wine Cooler palpable. Maybe, as I mentioned at the outset of this piece, life is unfolding as it should. At the risk of sounding like Valerie Bertinelli on a Jenny Craig commercial, I feel 112.5 pounds lighter. This is good.

And really, it was so easy. No pills. No starvation. I simply pulled up to Home Depot and asked two smiling employees in orange aprons to yank the dead weight out of my car and haul it away. Very therapeutic. I highly recommend everyone go on the Patriot Diet (as my son-in-law aptly dubbed it months ago). You'll be glad you did.

Many thanks to all the kind readers who emailed creative suggestions as to how to hoist the offending wine refrig into my car so I could drive it back to Home Depot.

Reader Jim takes the CAMJ prize for suggesting the Forearm Forklifts. I've seen those things advertised on TV and always wondered if they work. Jim just bought some. Hope he reports back. With apologies to Forearm Forklift fans everywhere, turns out I didn't need no stinkin' straps. A couple of tree trimmers had stopped by my house to bid on a job; they generously offered to load the wine cooler into my car. Took 'em two seconds and they didn't break a sweat.

Clocking in on the wine cooler / intoxicated-Tina theme, my talented writer friend, Risa Nye wrote to say the other night she and her husband hit the roller rink (!) and then went out for a drink. Here's what happened:

…Tony the bartender...started telling us about which of his wares were made in the USA. No prompting from us, but he launched into a long story about how in his MA hometown, all the mills have closed and put tons of people out of work. Outsourced.

So, after a quick double check of labels, in your honor, I had a 100% made in the USA gin and tonic.

Cheers!

Thanks, Risa, for sharing Bartender Tony's sad tale--and for doing your part to support a {spirited} American industry.

And here's one last note, from my wine connoisseur-brother:

Nice post...but you missed the OBVIOUS opportunity! What fulfills your "made in the USA" mantra better than the WINE!

Thanks, dear brother, for reminding me that my Patriot Diet principles dovetail nicely with my well-established drinking habits. And California wines are the best, as you well know (I'm sure reader Carolyn would second that motion). Besides, aren't writers supposed to drink? Doesn't a glass of wine next to the laptop add an angst-ridden-intellectual quality to the whole pointless endeavor? Yup. Pass the K.J.

Maybe tonight Don / Richie C and I should head over to our local Chuck E. Cheese's. Have some pizza, play whack-a-mole. Wish they had the Chinese version. That'd be especially fun. Check it out here. Bam!