Sunday, September 28, 2008

China: Wen Jiabao: US had better stabilize its credit markets; Hamid Karzai: OBL never in Afghanistan

Today (Sept 28) on CNN’s GPS show, Fareed Zakaria interviewed China’s premier Wen Jiabao (of the State Council) for about 40 minutes. Jiabao expressed confidence in the real US economy, but suggested that it was essential for it to restore some stability to financial market (as with “The Bailout”). There was a veiled suggestion that some day China could call in the debt on the US Treasury bills that its holds (the financial nuclear weapon) if things (especially credit markets) did not stabilize.

Fareed asked how China reconciles the paradox of socialism and markets. Jiabao said that market determine what is produced and sold, but government regulation can determine fair distribution of wealth among people. Jianao said that Adam Smith was one of his favorite western authors, that “Wealth of Nations” and “Theory of Moral Sentiments” are among two of his favorite books, with the latter discussing morality as it should apply to the people interacting with an economic system.

He said that China was still a developing country and is not yet a world superpower, a rather modest statement. He said that justice is his most important moral virtue.

He said that Internet regulation is necessary for security for the majority of the people. He also said that criticism of the government is allowed online, in contradiction to what western reporters have experienced, especially in the period leading to the Olympics. We’ve read repeatedly of major American companies having to agree to Chinese content standards of filtering when doing business in China.

For the last twenty minutes Fareed interviewed Hamid Karzai, current President of Afghanistan. Karzai was dressed in his green cloak. Karzai said that Afghanistan should take over its own security more effectively (as should Pakistan and Iraq), and said that after 9/11 Osama bin Laden has probably never been in his country. He was not even convinced that bin Laden was hiding in the tribal areas of Pakistan. He had no secret opinion as to where he is.

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