President's Corner November 2013 - The Terracotta Warriors
I had a rather strange dream.
In my favorite Shanghai hotel - The Millennium - China's President Xi Jinping, appeared to me. I sat up in my bed and saw the President of China followed by the legendary Terracotta Warriors filling my room.
“Leibish, listen. I am about to tell you something in complete confidence - China is taking over the USA,” the Chinese President whispered.
“How the hell do you want to do that Sir?” I asked him, perplexed. “It will be by a reverse takeover.” he responded firmly. “We hold USD1.27trillion of US treasury bills and therefore I am in a position to make Mr. Obama an offer he can't refuse... ‘Pay my money or you have a problem’….”
“You are not Don Corleone,” I tried to cool the situation.
“I will tell the US President, you put up the China sign on the Stars and Stripes and we will begin to call your country the United States of China or you pay up and redeem all the junk treasury bills China is holding. And we want it all in cash.”
I got really scared. I didn’t know any more if I was dreaming or awake as I noticed the terracotta warriors closing in on my bed. “Mr. Prime Minister, what will you do with five trainloads of hard cash? They can just as easily print the cash in a few days as its all paper, about as good as those treasuries…”
“That is not your problem countered the prime minister.” But I could tell he was slightly shaken.
“Mr. President,” I asked, “What do you need me for? I am just a regular Israeli fancy color diamond guy? Do you want me to broker the deal?” I figured my commission could be substantial. "Why did you seek me out? I specialize in yellow diamond rings and the ever so popular argyle pink diamonds, but I am no statesman or international lawyer.”
“I saw you once with the American-Chinese reporter Melissa Lee on CNBC Television and thought the interview went really well. I also read your article about the passing of your dog - a heart-breaking story if ever there was - I almost cried. I also once had a white Labrador. The US debt crisis, the erosion of the US as an economic superpower, etc., etc. - I know that you are my guy.”
I started to sweat. I thought that I could repeat the deal of Isaac Wolf and perhaps sell an important pink diamond to the Chinese but what would I do with all the cash? Since the Basel agreement, cash has become a real handicap. You cannot take out more than USD5,000 cash from China and cannot bring in more than USD28,000 cash to Israel.
“Listen Sir, I really appreciate your confidence in me but the USA is your biggest client. If you bankrupt them who will buy all the goods 400 million of your workers are manufacturing? You need them and they need you. Mr. President please bear in mind that in 2012 you exported USD425 billion of goods to the USA. If you put them out of business they will put you out of business - your unemployment will jump leading to social unrest, protests in Tiananmen Square, and plenty of other headaches. It's a marriage of convenience. Not everything is about money.”
“Tell me Mr . President what is really bothering you that you suddenly want to break the China-US relationship?”
“Why do Jewish people always answer a question with a question? In any press release about world leaders the US President is always mentioned first, the British Prime Minister second, the German Chancellor third, and only after all them - China. Look at the size of the Chinese economy, we are the biggest economy in the world with the largest growth and we don’t owe a nickel to anyone. WE want to be respected. The USA thinks they invented the wheel, but we are number one and want the recognition.”
“Alibaba recorded ¥35.19 billion (USD5.78 billion) in transactions on China’s Cyber Monday, November 11. Chinese online shoppers spent more in 24 hours than the USD2.5 billion that Americans spent online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Don't try to talk to me out my plan,” said the president of China. By this point, the Terracotta soldiers moved in face-to-face.
“Not everything is about money, Sir,” I mumbled.
He got really upset and hit my bed with his fist - at that moment I heard the doorbell ring.
“Housekeeping! Housekeeping!” I awoke and saw the gift box of Terracotta figures I had just received as a present, staring at me from on top of the bedside desk.
Leibish Polnauer, President and Founder of Leibish & Co. Fancy Color Diamonds