Final Word from Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One of the most powerful men in the world, PM Wen Jiabao of China, will be in Prague today, but there won't be much fanfare. China speaks softly and carries a big stick. Almost unnoticed, it has been signing currency swaps with country after country, in what the Financial Times characterized as an attempt by Beijing to end the dominance of the dollar as a worldwide reserve currency. Under other circumstances, this might almost be seen as an act of war, but China is in the driver's seat. It has snuck up on everyone, because people like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger have had "special relationships" with it for it for decades, says Foreign Affairs. The very people who should have been raising the alarm about the China threat were promoting its interests. Czech President Václav Klaus will be in charge of the EU-China summit today, but there will be little doubt who the master is.[Czech Republic European Union Taiwan]

Glossary of difficult words

China lobby - as John Newhouse notes in Foreign Affairs, this term was originally used for the Taiwan lobby in the U.S.;

fanfare - an ostentatious or noisy display;

speaks softly and carries a big stick - a phrase coined by Theodore Roosevelt that is usually used to describe the U.S. policy of negotiating peacefully but threatening with a big stick (the military); so far, the Chinese threat is financial;

to be in the driver's seat - to be in control of or dominating a situation.


Tel: 420 224 221 580

Published by

E.S. Best s.r.o.
Ovenecká 78/33
170 00 Prague 7
Czech Republic



FS Final Word