The Angry Czeck celebrated Mexico’s overthrow of its sinister Norman invaders* by crushing a pyramid of vodka tonics with a crony. During the course of the evening, the conversation drifted to a common drunken topic: foreign policy.
My friend argued that the United States should withdraw all military personnel from all foreign countries, and that our military should be maintained for defensive purposes only. We honored the idea with a toast.
“Wait,” I said. “Didn’t your company just buy out a competitor earlier this year?”
“Didn’t you do that to expand your market share and protect your interests?”
“Yeah,” replied my friend suspiciously.
“Well, if that’s good business, why isn’t that good foreign policy?”
If the British Empire taught us anything, it’s that conquered people make good customers. (Except, of course, if the merchandise is tea.) Which leads me to China, the country best positioned to pinch our customers.
Unlike Mexico, who we should simply annex without even bothering with a press release, there’s no way to absorb China against her will. Not without inspiring Alan Alda to write more pompous episodes of M*A*S*H anyway. Nope. To take over China, we must apply the principles of the boardroom.
We buy it.
Lock, wok, and Buddha.
We’re a country that spends a trillion bucks the way a five-year-old runs through a cup of tokens at Chucky Cheese. You know we have the coins, bro. Plus, the American people don’t even have to foot the entire invoice. Let Uncle Sam recruit some investors with deep pockets: MicroSoft. Wal-Mart. Bechtel. Oprah. Don’t tell me they don’t want a piece of the egg roll.
Still, you don’t need to be Alan Greenspan to know that we’ll have to keep all the revenue stream options open. For instance, let’s put China’s naming rights up for sale. Imagine visiting the tasty nation of McChina™ – A Billion People Served Every Day!
The Angry Czeck speaks the language of big business. He knows how to get to the brass tacks. Let’s talk bottom line: how many banana peels are we talking here?
Technically, China is The People’s Republic of China, so we have to buy the people first. That’s 1.3 billion people, sure, but we’ll get a bulk rate because tobacco and pollution related diseases have significantly reduced individual value. (True, the life expectancy in China is comparable to that in the States, but sometimes conducting big business means telling small lies.)
The Angry Czeck recommends offering $100 a head – $1,300,000,000.00 American. Bill Gates alone is good for that. And the Chinese will love it! Hell, 23 million Chinese don’t even see $90 a year, let alone enjoy an instant hundred-smacker windfall.
But what about land? China is a fraction smaller than the good old USofA – a smidge more than 3.6 million square miles. (Eat that, Thomas Jefferson!) Some of the land is developed. Much of it is not. Plus they got that old crumby wall to tear down. Couple that with the fact the China is routinely assaulted with hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, and we’re looking at securing a nice fixer-upper discount!
Let’s go with $50 per square mile. Remember, we paid $19 per square mile for the tick infested Louisiana Purchase, and it was filled with angry Indians! China will cost us more than double, but it’s worth it! In all, we’re tacking on another $180,000,000 to the offer. That’s not chump change, President Jintao!
Of course, we’d be fools not to acquire China’s intellectual property rights: Egg rolls, that funny alphabet, Confucius, Yao Ming, Ming vases, The Little Red Book, chop sticks, The Great Wall, Fu-Manchu beards, woks, wok-shaped hats, etc., they have to come with the package. I want to see a Nike Rickshaw® available on the Internet weeks after the sale!
The copyrights and trademarks will be pricey and too difficult for the Angry Czeck to calculate. (Math = Sucks) Let’s just play a little American poker and offer the cost of Uncle George’s stimulus plan: One hundred and fifty billion bucks. See if China blinks!
Add it up, and we’re shopping the Sharper Image catalog for a steel briefcase that can hold one hundred fifty-one and a half billion dollars. That’s a good deal, considering that the Iraq war has already cost us $500 billion with nothing to show for it.
Take the cash, China. We’ll even ship Howie Mandel and the Banker over to broker the deal. You’ll have some easy green lining your pockets and a new Starbucks on every corner. We’ll arrange for Ben Bernanke to tweak your interest rates and FEMA to manage your flood relief efforts. When you leap into your new Chevy Malibu and listen to your new iPod on your way to your new asbestos-free job, you’ll thank your new American God.
And Howie Mandel.
*Cinco De Mayo