So after a day filled with tense moments regarding China's human rights record and a couple of rounds of economic hardball regarding trade and currency, why did the Obama administration go all out with a lavish, VIP-laden state dinner packed with 225 guests ranging from captains of industry and movie stars for President Hu Jintao?
I'll give you 895.6 billion reasons. According to the Treasury Department, that's the dollar amount of U.S. bonds that China owns. That makes them the leading foreign holder of U.S. debt.
And let's look at the lopsided import/export relationship, shall we? According to the U.S.-China Business Council, in 2009 the U.S. imported $296.4 billion in goods from China, as opposed as exporting only $69.6 billion. The top imports range from electrical equipment to apparel to toys.
China is now an economic super power. U.S. stimulus funds are finding their way overseas as opposed to American pockets. And the only reason so many unemployed are surviving is that China is funding the much-needed extensions.
So the poached Maine lobster, rib eye with buttermilk crisp onions, and double-stuffed potatoes are all part of the political dance. Whether or not this is kissing up to the "landlord" or taking a page from Sun Tzu remains to be seen.