Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Submarine Races

Last week, the Russians were making noise about lending to Iceland to see that country through its currency crisis. Of course, Iceland was a huge Cold War base for the United States, linchpin to the logistics of supplying Europe in the event of some kind of protracted crisis with the potential to segue into WW3 (20th century version). Meanwhile, in the Eastern Hemisphere, the Pakistanis propositioned the Chinese about a bailout, though nothing came of that, either.

This week the Japanese were expressing concern that the Chinese and the Russians might use the current financial unpleasantness to extent bilateral loans to troubled emerging market economies to see those countries through their times of trials. A sensible strategy for the Russians and the Chinese (whose principal motivations aren't financial, in the traditions of the Anglosphere), and a sensible concern for the Japanese, who motives, recently, have been.

And so, yesterday, the US Treasury announced unconditional swap lines along the lines of those previously made available to the G7 countries, and the IMF creates a $100-billion liquidity facility that won't carry the traditionally racist and onerous conditions the imperialists have historically imposed on little brown brother.

This, brother, is progress. Just a straw in the wind, so far, but you can safely bet that the Chinese, in particular, will cautiously assess and act on the opportunities created by the crisis.

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