Bernanke – I Want To Pick A Fight With China

Bruce Krasting's picture



Ben Bernanke has been “littering” all over the globe for years. Quite a few countries have had to clean up after he has scattered some “trash”. Bernanke acknowledged that he has been littering outside of US borders in a speech in Tokyo on Saturday (Link). Ben defended his global scattering of bits of paper with:


Assessments of the international impact of (QEIII) should give appropriate weight to their beneficial effects on global growth and stability.


So Ben thinks that US trash is good trash.


Ben did not go to Japan to defend US monetary policy. He traveled around the world to deliver a very specific message. He was very pushy about the need for Emerging Market economies to allow their currencies to appreciate versus the dollar. Ben’s words that will, no doubt, raise some eyebrows in Beijing:


"In some emerging markets, policy makers have chosen to systematically resist currency appreciation as a means of promoting exports and domestic growth"


Ben did not mention a specific country that was abusing its currencies value, but it was clear he was talking about China. The WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath confirmed that China was the target of Ben’s ire (Link). (Note: You can safely assume that Jon confirmed this with Ben before putting it in print)


The passage was an apparent shot at authorities in China


So Ben thinks that China’s trash is bad trash.


Is ‘trash’ the consequence of manipulation of an FX rate, or is ‘trash’ left behind when there is manipulation of long-term interest rates? That’s a pretty fine line. Bernanke has crossed it.


There are some developments in China that come into play regarding Bernanke’s very public challenge to the Chinese:


1) The entire government will change hands in a month. No one really knows what will happen. A rise in Chinese nationalism is a likely outcome.


2) The economy is slowing at rate that justifies those who have argued for a hard landing. What does it mean if China is growing at sub – 3%? No one knows the answer to that either. China will not take any steps that would hurt its economy anytime soon as a result. Bernanke's challenge to allow the CNY to float higher fell on deaf ears.


3) The Chinese government recently fostered/sanctioned a domestic uprising against Japan. The result was the destruction of Japanese products and factories. The destruction of property has ended. But the evidence shows there has been long-term damage to trade. China inc. is no longer buying Japan inc.


No one has the slightest idea what the implications of this are. If China can turn its citizens against Japan, they probably can do the same to America.



I can understand how some in China would read Bernanke’s words and get a bit miffed. After all, it really is unfair for a manipulator to point fingers at manipulators. I would not be surprised to see an official response from China. A speech, or maybe an editorial would seem likely. Who knows? China could respond with a new tariff on Apple products. Maybe they will just burn down the GM plant.



The timing of Bernanke’s speech is interesting. It could be argued that his monetary saber rattling was occasioned by the IMF confab that was going on, and had nothing to do with domestic politics. Maybe there will be no significant consequences that arise as a result of Ben lighting a match three weeks before the big election. But he lit one; we'll find out soon if there is any dry tinder around.



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strannick's picture

Bernenke's goal was to try and soften the commodity inflation aspects of QE3 before the election of his guy. Gold/Silver got a nice hit laid on it while the USDX stayed level. Nice time to pick up some Maples or Eagles.

mediaprizm's picture

China has big economy everyone want to take flight for China.
Mandarin School London

Elmer Fudd's picture

China is a great big wussy.

ZackAttack's picture

I love it when a country Smoot-Hawleys itself, thereby saving us the trouble.  

Shizzmoney's picture

He is only doing what his corporate masters want him else are those profit margins going to increase if they have to spend more in exchange rates on the imported crap they resell to us, made by cheap Chinese niggard labor?

Plus, Benny is only helping out his favorite Neo-Keynesian binky, The Bank of Japan, by attempting to ante China to mediocrity.

Coldfire's picture

Here's to that stuttering ass maggot daring to show his face in China.

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

"No one has the slightest idea what the implications of this are. If China can turn its citizens against Japan, they probably can do the same to America."

Lest we forget... little Timmy talked to a group of Chinese students in 2009.

How well did that work?

"Chinese students laugh at Geithner's assurances (about Dollar)" (Reuters)

Haager's picture

Sounds bullish for western stocks - until China/Asia pull the trigger.

Peter Pan's picture

The Chinese will simply file Bernanke's words along with all the other pronouncements of US presidents over the last two decades, because the US has talked and talked but never done anything about it.

If Bernanke had half a brain he would realise that this is the best reason to re-introduce gold as a means of payment. No gold in the treasury, then no money to buy Chinese goods and vice versa. If you have gold you can go shopping. If you have no gold then you either do not shop or you try and sell something to get gold.

They are all a bunch of twits and we are even bigger twits for putting up with them.


Leraconteur's picture

Most Westerners, some ZHers and nearly everyone in Western positions of governance simply lack the education about China to even know what to respond to.

The Chinese hold grudges for thousands of years.

Tibet was payback for the invasion of the Tang Dynasty. IN 770 AD 1180 years prior

The anti-foreigner attitudes in China are currently stoked by the CPP and gov't, but those attitudes came about from within China. Change the CCP to a Secular Liberal Democratic State and you are going to have those same attitudes being freely elected ala Libya and Egypt.

Everyone needs to study Chinese history, read 100 books, and spend some time in China to understand what is going on.

Otherwise, and this is already happening, Western powers are blindly stumbling down the same dark alleys from 1895, 1900 and 1911.

Except that this time China has a huge chip on its shoulder, money, weapons, enormous manfucturing prowess and nukes.

AurorusBorealus's picture

A Nation, all nations, act in the interests of their ruling class or what they perceive their interests to be.  America defends their oil supply from the Middle East because they need this oil to maintain their society and the ruling class grows wealthy off the trade and cheap oil.  China invades Tibet to create a buffer territory, and potential launch point for forays into central Asia. There are no "grudges."  There may be prejudices against people who look different than the general population, but not grudges between nations and people.  Forget all this nonsense about grudges and cultures and look at the realpolitik of the matter.  Sparking a trade war against Japanese imports is simply a way to try to spark Chinese growth as China hopes that Chinese companies will invest in facitilities to replace the Japanese production and create new business opportunities for China's ruling class.

Atlas Shrugged's picture

This is such a true comment.

To generalise; Chinese do not have the same concept of forgiveness that westerners do.

They hate Japanese and will not forgive them for what they did in WWII.

The Chinese need to get even before they can forgive.

Same with Westerners in China. You can expect to get ripped off. You HAVE to get ripped off. It's a matter of principle.

The mentality is, "You've been ripping us off for 200 years. Now it's our turn to rip you off."

Anybody who helps the laowai get a better deal is a "Chinese traitor".

That's how it translates; google it.


Stuck on Zero's picture

I consulted a friend of mine to see what the average attitude in China is.  He lives in Northern China.  Here it is:  I want a better phone. I want safer food. I hope I don't get laid off. Our consumer goods fall apart too quick. Pork costs too much.  The kids are not disciplined like my generation was.  Smog is terrible.  People are paid to spy on each other.  There are many dishonest people in government.  You only get ahead by being dishonest. My Son needs to study harder to get into a good school.

Grudges?  Anger over Japan?  No.



AnAnonymous's picture

The story of grudges is stupid.

'Americans' keep claiming that 'americanism' is the best system everand by hijacking humanity on 1776, July, 4th, are forced to cope with it addressing all humanity.

'Americans' have since then grown a strong revisionist bent to history as they can not speak of themselves.

'Americans' had virtually no grudes to many people they've destroyed, oppressed, crushed. They even invented some kind of through the racism narrative to allow them to lump many people together and perform their american act.

No grudge is required for 'americans'. On the very contrary, 'americans', those deeply knowledgeables in human nature, want to paint hatred as a non human feeling. It is non natural for the raped to feel hatred for the rapist etc

But reality sticks: any candidate for 'americanism' has to take up with the reality of 'americanism'

Being an 'american' means being a thief, being an 'american' means relying on racism to perform the 'american' act, being an 'american' means a selective application of law, being an 'american' means kicking the can.

The only way to grow 'american' is to behave 'american', to take 'american' actions.
No 'american' wannabee can be taken seriously without them striving to steal to fund the entitlement of a middle class. Because when you are an 'american', that is what you do.
When you are an 'american', you hop borders to settle illegally. Because that is what 'americans' do.

There is no short cut in being an 'american'. You have to do the 'american' stuff the 'american' way.

As 'americanism' is doomed to apply to all humanity, every nation, country, group of humans that is turning to 'americanism' will have to do the 'american' stuff the 'american' way. They have no other choice.

No grudge needed. Only the wish to be an 'american'.

The insidious part for installed 'americans' is that all the part of humanity that is waiting on the side lines to grow 'american' has been taught the 'american' way the tough way, by the example, by being on the wrong side of 'americanism'.

What is called grudge wont be grudge, it will only be the inner knowledge what 'americanism' is all about, taught the harshest way possible.

For installed 'americans', it is going to be very hard for them to unteach those people what 'americanism' is. Installed 'americans' can unleash as many of their 'american' intellectuals, it does not work.

The whole world knows what 'americanism' is. And so many want to become 'americans'. Time for them to find their indians to fund their 'american' project of 'american' freedom, truth and justice.

And Indians are a very scarce commodity these times. Very scarce.

nowhereman's picture

Man, you are harsh, but, in a sick twisted way, you describe very well the view that foreigners have toward american hegemony.

A bright light shone on faults leads to denial in most instances.  Only the very wise can tolerate this kind of knowledge, and only the very brave could contemplate doing something about it.

Escapeclaws's picture

The really scary ones are the brown recluse spiders. When they bite you, the flesh around the bite literally rots away. You can identify them by the appearance of a violin shape on their backs, which is why they are called fiddler spiders. But be careful, they are very aggressive!

honestann's picture

The notion of "grudges" is a misrepresentation.

A "grudge" is not a physical object that has a durability of hundreds or thousands or millions of years... like a certain type of rock for example.

No, a "grudge" (beyond a couple lifetimes at most) is nothing more than an excuse, a pure human rationalization.  When a human predator wants to justify some action he wants to take, he simply looks up history for the region/people/religion he wants to mess with, then points at something in that history and pretends there is some "grudge" to be settled.

This is blatantly transparent to anyone who thinks for a few minutes about the nature of predators and so-called "grudges".  There is nobody living today who gives the smallest tweak about something that happened 1000 years ago... unless some pack of predators in "government" and "mainstream media" incite them to care.  Period.  Thus grudges beyond a couple lifetimes are nothing more than pure BS.  They are artificial rationalizations.  Period.

Lost My Shorts's picture

From my admittedly limited experience, I would agree with Leraconteur.  The typical majority-Han Chinese are scary mean burn-your-eyebrows nationalist and don't need a lot of help to hate everyone that seems to stand in the way of Chinese glory.  Compared to them, the typical chest-thumping American NASCAR fan is reserved and thoughtful.

You can get confused, because Chinese elites are pragmatic and internationally oriented (having stashed their millions in Vancouver real estate and Swiss banks).  Many have overseas resident visas or second passports tucked in their back pockets.  The average Chinese you never meet or hear about are totally different.

The anti-Japan riots should be the wake-up call that we must disengage economically from China.  Next time it will be Americans and American companies.

Leraconteur's picture

There is nobody living today who gives the smallest tweak about something that happened 1000 years ago.

You are just wrong. It's the apparently intelligent Westerner such as yourself that gets China wrong most of the time. Look at all the businesses that have been blindsided in China.

The attitudes within the government that made the people care about something 1000 years ago, were held by individuals in the country already. That's where they come from and came from. Someones, a lot of someones, remembered and made it policy.

The Chinese were like this hundred's of years ago, before the English language even existed and Europe was full of roving hordes. Before they ever saw a White Face.

If you pulled all CCTV films about Japan and every other wrong, Chinese will still study history, still get pissed off and vengeful.

You lock onto 'It's the government' or 'It's because they are Commies' and this is just blinding you to the millions of subtleties and nuances.

Ignore this lesson at your peril.

honestann's picture

I guess you can't tell from my photo that... all my ancestors are Chinese.  Oh well.  :-)

And if you believe that the opinions and passions of people anywhere on earth are not created and manipulated by the controllers of the media and education establishments in their country... you are simply delusional.

BTW, when you say "study history", you must acknowledge that the history they study is just crafted propaganda, no matter in the world they are.  And you know that.

Leraconteur's picture

That your ancestors were Chinese does not mean that you are Chinese. That you think you are is an American conceit not shared on the rest of this planet.

China was holding grudges long before you were taught that 'history is just crafted propaganda'.

Your values and education and attitude are Western, Chinese do not think that history is crafted propanda. They think Tibet invaded during the Tang and needed to be punished in 1950.

They do not share your values.

Like so many educated Westerners, you think your education, erudition, values, opinions and points of view will somehow win the day when a nation and culture that predates this language (English) by thousands of years and teaches poems from 1400 years ago just as they did in the Imperial Examination System reads your rational and well thought out argument.

honestann's picture

But I don't think I am an American.  I didn't move there until after college, and I permanently moved away 3 years ago out of disgust with the rise of the egregeous neo-nazi politice-state government.  I'm no gringo or westerner.

As I said before, people "express their grudges" when they are told or prompted to.  Which means, they are not real grudges, they are simple manipulation.

Also, in almost all counter-examples given to my message, you and others completely ignore my limitation of 2 lifetimes.  People do hold grudges for events that happended within that timeframe, because people they have personally met were affected (or their lifestyle or well-being).  In such cases, people can and do hold grudges, because they have a real, personal basis.

Much outside the span of two lifetimes people only pretend to have grudges when incited by some third party with an agenda.

Shizzmoney's picture

There is nobody living today who gives the smallest tweak about something that happened 1000 years ago.

You are just wrong.


People don't understand how other cultures work here in the West....that's why we fail.

Other cultures hold grudges for millenia and can be reignited with just words, never mind actions.  Especially in the case of China v Japan, two huge rivals. 

This is why trying to reform the Muslim world is such a failed experiment, and why 3 empires (Roman, British, American) and one Communist State (Russia) have failed to do it. 

These people don't want to cooperate with each other, never will, and hold grudges and preconceptions that date back to as far as when Christ was around. 

Atlas Shrugged's picture

This is such a true comment.

To generalise; Chinese do not have the same concept of forgiveness that westerners do.

They hate Japanese and will not forgive them for what they did in WWII.

The Chinese need to get even before they can forgive.

Same with Westerners in China. You can expect to get ripped off. You HAVE to get ripped off. It's a matter of principle.

The mentality is, "You've been ripping us off for 200 years. Now it's our turn to rip you off."

Anybody who helps the laowai get a better deal is a "Chinese traitor".

That's how it translates; google it.


AnAnonymous's picture

But, but, what about human nature? What about IP?

'Americans' have this system called 'americanism' that gives so much emphasis to inheritance but as usual, with 'americans', the balance sheet should be trimmed off accordingly to 'americans' wishes, which is usually profits is gains without accounting for losses. Dont include debt, take only gains, then you'll gain profits.

The following is also rather funny: 'americans',through their natural rights theory, claim untemporal values yet how often do they claim that assaults on them should be temporal?

How many times will you read or hear 'americans' claiming that their ancestors did it, not them and that deeds died with their ancestors? In the meantime, 'americans' have no issue claiming all the benefits of their ancestors' actions, which have to be untemporal. When 'americans' inherit, they want the gains without the debt.

'american' morality is only a matter of time: hold on it long enough and you can be sure than your descendents will be able to enjoy the benefits of your gruesome acts without bearing the negative consequences. After all, you are dead, and your responsibility is gone with you. Your ancestors have no responsibility in accepting the inheritance, though. The fact they could have turned it down has not to be factored in.

That is the reason why you've got so many 'americans' living on stolen land, claiming that their ancestors did it, but that themselves have not to return the land.

Kicking the can is an essential part of 'americanism'. Kicking the can is systemics. There is no elite pushing for that. There are only 'americans' behaving the 'american' way.

nowhereman's picture

Be careful, you are getting too close.  And there will be a backlash.  Keep poking with that stick, and there's no telling what will happen.

Escapeclaws's picture

Ananalmynous once again sublimating his obsession with spiders.

NachoLiebor's picture

The deal to let China buy PM's for a pittance has almost expired.

Man who runs behind car gets exhausted.

groundedkiwi's picture

man who runs in front of car gets tired

Yen Cross's picture

 never heard it that way. laughing My Fucking Ass Off! 

   hop sing

steve from virginia's picture


Bernanke is a prop in a stage play. If he could depreciate the dollar he would simply do so and force the others to respond. That he has to beg others to allow their own currencies to appreciate speaks for itself.


Bernanke could be the boss of the Swiss central bank. Believe me, the Chinese are begging the Europeans to 'let' the euro appreciate so they can dump some of it at a profit ... (before it goes to zero).


The best thing that could possibly happen would be for Yanks to stop buying Chinese-made 'instant garbage'. Doing so would solve all kinds of problems. BTW, the new, improved Chinese-made Christmas trees are now available at all retail boxes. $300 bucks buys a fake plastic pine tree that looks just like a piece of plastic in the vague shape of a pine tree.


"Holy Martha Stewart, Batman! Are Americans dumb or what? They'll buy anything ...!"

Schmuck Raker's picture

How do you say "Fuck You Bernanke" in Mandarin?

Central Wanker's picture

Google translate will help you with this problem.

andrewp111's picture

Bruch Krasting's articles are always fun to read, but they are also usually wrong about the future. If BK makes a prediction. 9 times out of 10 it won't happen.

Yen Cross's picture

I'm sure the " Vampire Squid" has openings.  Bruce wouldn't commit himself to that " Labyrinth" <>

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

BenDover Benrnanke is about to find out how short the fuse is that he just lit/

WhiteNight123129's picture

Bruce Krasting is tiring and boring.

China needs to float its currency, but it needs to do it at a time when the loss of confidence in the US dollar is severe to ensure success.


besnook's picture

kinda funny but really scary. the chinese don't care for the western bankers especially if they are american and jewish. they have said as much for the past 20 years. the bernanke ploy of warning them that if they do not follow what the fed says the chinese will pay dearly is offset by the response that the usa will pay more dearly so the chinese win. the only smart thing about bernanke's demand is he is pressuring the chinese before they are ready to respond in full. the chinese will ramp up their yuan as the alternative to the dollar strategy and will be able to take the trillion dollar loss in just a coupla years. the usa is running out of time. time is on china's side. china will play it that way.

if anything, this speech should tell everyone the end is near. the king of the dollar needs a horse.

cranky-old-geezer's picture



There's no teeth in any of Bernanke's "threats".  He's powerless against China and he knows it.  They have him by short curlies and he knows it.

He won't go to China and make that speech, he does it from the safety of Japan.

Bernake's hypocrisy is unbelievable, telling "emerging economies" they need to let their currencies strengthen against the currency of the #1 world superpower so he can debase it to nothing.

"Do as I say while I do the opposite.  You get hurt in the process while I benefit".

What disgusting sickening hypocrisy.  

Bernanke is insane.  Everybody up there is insane. 

He wants China to let USD fall against their currency? 

He might get his wish in spades.  They could torpedo USD tomorrow if they wanted, send it right to the bottom.

QQQBall's picture

Actually Bernank was Uncle Buck depreciated. This looks like an inviation for China to unwind its UST holdings. be careful what you wish for Shalom.

ekm's picture

Military and Finance are the same thing. One cannot exist without the other.

In a game of chess, Bernanke has been downgraded from Rook to Knight. Very soon he'll be a pawn.


Bear's picture

I think he's already taken

Yen Cross's picture

You forgot "Big Blue" & "Sky Net" EKM.

Yen Cross's picture

Currently watching. Thank You :-)   Long 62:59.  Raymond Odierno, has some good insight. I'm 1/2 way through the interview.

ekm's picture

Just pay attention how many times he uses the word "pacific" and when he says  that "our enemies are watching us". He know he'll be watched.

Yen Cross's picture

Just finished EKM. Care to quiz me?  Thank You again, it was insightful. ;-}

lolmao500's picture

And don't worry, the military arm got China covered.

Japanese, US troops mull drill to take island: reports

Japan and the United States are mulling a joint military drill to simulate retaking a remote island from foreign forces, reports said, amid a festering row between Tokyo and Beijing over disputed islets.

The exercise, part of broader joint manoeuvres to start in early November, would use an uninhabited island in Okinawa, southernmost Japan, Jiji Press and Kyodo News agencies quoted unidentified sources as saying on Saturday.

The drill would involve Japanese and US troops making an amphibious and airborne landing to retake the island using boats and helicopters, Kyodo said.

Jiji said some Japanese and US government officials were cautious about holding the drill, fearing a likely angry response from China.

In other news...

Chinese political system could 'blow up', says US academic