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King Features Column

     (As usual, the agreement with the syndicators means this column appears here a week after its newspaper release)

  FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019  
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       BOB FRANKEN
       FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, FEB. 17, 2012
       THE CHINA SYNTHESIS
       BY BOB FRANKEN
       Wasn’t that nice, how Xi Jinping, the apparent Chinese president-select (they aren’t elected by the people, of course), spent some time during his U.S. tour in Muscatine, Iowa? He was renewing friendships with Muscatiners he’d met there in a 1985 trade mission and was moved to describe Americans as “honest, warmhearted, hardworking, friendly” (remember, he was outside Washington).
       Isn’t it a shame he wasn’t in the state before January’s caucuses? Maybe he even could have taken part in the debates as a candidate. He certainly wouldn’t have been any more bizarre than the rest of the field.
       It is true that Li was not born in the United States, but we know how little anyone cares about that these days. In fact, the time has come simply to do away with that requirement.
       But how? Amend the Constitution? That’s one way, but it is so time-consuming and cumbersome; besides, conservatives are too busy trying to dispense with several parts, like freedom of religion, the income tax and other impediments to their ideologies.
       There is a better way. Sadly, I doubt President Barack Obama and Li spent a moment exploring it, even though it would address so many problems for both nations. It’s probably obvious where this is going: The People’s Republic of China and the United States of America need to merge.
       Breathtaking but simple. Can’t you just hear Newt Gingrich exclaiming, “Now THAT’S the kind of bold idea I’ve been talking about!”
       Think of it: The corporate titans who run this country would clearly love it. They have been playing the conglomerate game for decades of their rule here. The way they’ve been kowtowing to their counterparts on Beijing’s Central Committee, they have already laid the groundwork. And their obvious admiration for the way the Chinese mistreat their workers and ignore consumer protections has long established a common ground.


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       To be fair, there are problems to overcome; this can be a complex business. But there are certainly some experts in the field. Mitt Romney would a natural one to pull this off, not only to make it bipartisan, but also because he has long experience in takeovers and synergy and layoffs.
       There’s a lot in this for both sides. No longer would the Chinese have to fend off U.S. complaints about human-rights abuses. This country would no longer fear the prospect of outsourcing, since everything would be made by employees making the same dismal wage under the same dismal conditions, the dream of so many executives.
       Not only that, but America would not have to be concerned about all that foreign debt. The merger would make China’s ownership official.
       This will take some negotiating to make sure the different cultures don’t clash -- the way they do in so many such marriages. That, along with the usual bad management. Surely we can iron out the differences.
       Language, for instance: English would be the official one, since most Chinese students speak it, just like Americans, usually better. Schools? Given declining achievement in the U.S., we definitely can take a page from their book.
       It would take some getting used to, of course. But let’s face it, all you profit-at-any cost types: Wouldn’t you, in your heart of alleged hearts, be thrilled to deal with whistle-blowers and other troublemaker activists the Beijing way?
       We still cling to this democracy hang-up, but a clever marketing plan could gloss over that. Besides, this would do away with all the complaints from voters about lousy political choices. Let’s just have no choices. Think of all the time we’d save. Think of a nation free of campaign ads and debates.
       One other issue: What do we call this new colossus? That might seem like a tough one, but once we face today’s realities, the answer’s apparent: We call it China.
      
       © 2012 Bob Franken
       Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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