Readers from last week will recall that Missy and Biff brought their friend Marlin along when they visited South Puffin in April. Marlin is shadowy. He spends half his time unearthing secrets and the other half living with friends or friends of friends.
While Marlin was off chasing more spies or working on his tan, I spent the weekend with an old friend: the novel Hong Kong by former naval aviator Stephen Coonts. I am not an expert on international affairs, so my take on this story is more personal.
About a decade ago, as much as a nanosecond after Britain lost its lease to the crown colony of Hong Kong, trillions of dollars skipped to china dot com. Even more have followed from companies in which I have invested including General Motors and Rohm & Haas (now a specialty materials division of Dow Chemical). The Haas family got out of the latter in time. So did I.
Mr. Coonts wrote Hong Kong while the China honeymoon was still widespread in the press, just a couple of years after Beijing recrafted the island as the “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
“Pretty good book,” Marlin said. “Back in ’96 I gave Coonts a heads up that there would be a couple of catastrophic bank failures there.”
I know I promised to dump this story, but life imitating art is too too sad to leave alone even if we are poking road kill with a stick.
“Hong Kong,” pages 30-31.
Scene setting: Rip Buckingham is the editor of a Hong Kong newspaper. Saburo Genda is President of the Bank of the Orient in Hong Kong which has closed its doors in the face of a bank run.
“What happened Mr. Genda?” Buckingham asked.
“They killed the bank.”
“They? Who is they?”
“Someone in Japan made a decision, Mr. Buckingham,” Genda said. “I don’t know who or why. The decision was to make the bank fail.”
“Make it fail? You mean allow it to fail.”
“No, sir. When the Finance Ministry seized our Japanese assets, the Ministry forced the bank to close its doors. There was no way it could stay open. They took a course of action that made the failure of the bank inevitable.”
On June 2, one day after filing for bankruptcy, GM announced that it would sell its Hummer line to China dot com. That moved the U.S. Armys primary ground vehicle production into the hands of a foreign adversary. On June 10, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court cleared the way for Chrysler to sell out to Fiat. Nanjing Automobile Corporation is a China-based, state-owned company. It has significant ties with Fiat.
Scene setting: Richard Buckingham owns a media empire based in Australia and is Rip’s father:
Richard Buckingham was patient. “Billy, with the Communists in power,” he said, “nothing in China is worth real money. That’s the lesson the Americans and British and Japanese are going to learn the hard way.”
As of March, 2009, China dot com owned $767.9 Billion in United States Treasury notes. China is the single largest foreign holder of treasury securities.
Scene setting: Virgil “Tiger” Cole is an American entrepreneur and the United States consul general in Hong Kong:
“Thirty years ago,” Tiger said, “America’s liberals refused to fight for freedom in Asia — now they’re partners with the propaganda ministry of the Communist government as investors in China.com. Anything for a goddamn buck! Yeah, I’m funding a revolution…”
Marlin had caught a couple of low level “true believers,” two United States citizens spying here in the United States for Cuba. Walter and Gwendolyn Myers had stolen U. S. secrets for more than 30 years. Congress will express righteous indignation. President Obama may even shake his finger at Cuba.
Meanwhile, the Administration has fast tracked the theft of America’s biggest manufacturers.
“What do you call those who steal, then give away the entire country?” Marlin asked last week.
“All politicians are sewer rats, not just ours.“
Marlin and Coonts and Pogo wuz right. Some people — like some fish — just stick around a day too long.
Traitors should have a shorter shelf life than fish.
“Despite all my powers, I cant do anything about the real rats,” Marlin said.