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Jintao’s Visit: The Landlord Cometh

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CAMP SPRINGS, MD - JANUARY 18: U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (R) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (2nd R) listen to the U.S. National Anthem during an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base January 18, 2011 in Camp Springs, Maryland. Chinese President Hu is on a state visit to the United States. He will be welcomed with a state arrival ceremony and have official meetings with the Obama Administration at the White House tomorrow. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

CAMP SPRINGS, MD – JANUARY 18: U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (R) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (2nd R) listen to the U.S. National Anthem during an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base January 18, 2011 in Camp Springs, Maryland. Chinese President Hu is on a state visit to the United States. He will be welcomed with a state arrival ceremony and have official meetings with the Obama Administration at the White House tomorrow. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

I’ve been accused of being naïve for most of my life. It comes with the territory of being an optimist. I have accepted it and moved on.

But optimistic naivety is reaching new highs during Chinese leader Hu Jintao’s current visit to the United States.

I’ve enjoyed reading reports from news sources claiming that high level conversations will be held with Jintao regarding important issues like human rights and political repression.

Conversations may in fact be happening about human rights and political repression. However, for Jintao, those conversations are only punch lines to jokes.

My point is, regardless of our strength as a world power, our ability to talk back to the country that owns so much of our enormous debt is weak, at best.

Imagine calling your mortgage company on the phone and criticizing their customer service. They would politely take your comment and then do absolutely nothing with it.

Actually, a more accurate way to look at the situation is to imagine if you owed more money than you are worth to the mob. And while the mob let you continue to pay your bills, you wouldn’t have a very strong case to question their ethics as they worked over other people who owed them money.

You also wouldn’t have much luck getting that mob’s support in putting down the smaller gang on the east side of town, raising a ruckus in Korea Town.

While I am not one of those Americans that fear China will rule the world and take us over, like the new Red Dawn remake script, I do think we need to be realistic in our expectations of what we can ask for.

If we are going to ask China and Japan to accept our global credit rating, which if it was an actual number I can’t imagine it would be very high, we are going to have to accept some ugly things ourselves.

Maybe waking up to this realization is what it would take for our country’s leaders to take our debt seriously. We can’t pretend to hold moral authority over a country that holds $900 billion dollars of our debt.

It’s this realization that is the important waking moment all of us must experience. We can choose only one side of the fence. We can accept our debt held by nations like China, but we need to accept no ability to push for justice in these countries.

Or we can refuse to accept our debt situation and reclaim our moral authority.

But, we cannot sit in the middle. Or, as I like to tell my co-workers, we can’t have our cake and complain about it, too.

I’m not here to say which way we should go. But whichever path we decide to proceed, we need to do it with our eyes open and accept the reality that comes with that path.

To be a little naïve is okay. To be blind and very naïve is not.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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