Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Final Solution: Bring Back the Charmin

Sometimes international relations take on a particularly down to earth flavor. The double entendre implicit in a journal which calls itself Foreign Affairs is not lost on many readers in a world rife with infidelities. But a recent headline “Toilet Paper Shortage Strikes Taiwan Amidst PricingPanic,” (NYT, 2/27/18) brought home the biblical homily “man cannot live by bread alone.” Remember Taiwan, also known as Nationalist China, is what was left of Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang Party and it’s a country not even recognized by the United States. In fact, when Trump accepted a phone call from the Taiwanese president after the election, he incurred the wrath of the authorities on the mainland. But what are the Taiwanese to do amidst the particular drought that the Times piece documents? The  “domino theory” supported our prosecution of the Vietnam war. It was an idea heartily advocated by John Foster Dulles,  Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration. The idea was that each bit of Communist aggression had to be met with a response or Vietnam would lead to Cambodia, Cambodia to Laos etc. It was essentially correct, though a protracted war in which many lives were lost was probably not the best solution to the problem. Shrinking stocks of toilet paper on Taiwan may seem a slight and even harmless condition, but one thing leads to the next and before you know it Taiwanese citizens will seek refugee status on the Mainland where toilet paper may be more plentiful. If something is not done to fill the empty shelves, the North Koreans may even fill their warheads with toilet paper as they struggle for hegemony in the Far East.

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