Imagine our surprise this week up here in lil’ old Iceland when — without prior warning — we were suddenly confronted with a rather large convoy of imposing black vehicles , driving through our streets and stopping traffic, replete with police vehicles and flashing blue lights. It was like the president of the freaking United States had paid us an unexpected visit and perhaps not unusual that people stood by like plebs on the sidelines with their mouths hanging open, wondering whether at any moment old Clint Eastwood would jump out of hiding and yell CUT!!
But no, it was only the Chinese — here to do a currency swap deal with the Icelanders.
Yes indeed, a delegation of high-ranking Chinese officials appeared on our doorstep this week completely without warning — at least the commoners like YT and her ilk had no idea about it until the streets were suddenly crawling with cops. Before they left they had signed a currency swap agreement with the Icelanders to the tune of 1.5 billion Chinese yuan, or ISK 60 billion — with no strings attached.
According to Icelandic authorities, the deal was meant only to be a “declaration of trust” and “a positive step in relations between the two countries.” To demonstrate how the Chinese feel we’re doing such a great job of putting our house in order up here. A proverbial little pat on the head.
Hm. Which is why I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Chinese officials also signed a declaration of intent with the National Power Company to participate in future tenders to build power plants in Iceland.
Or why everyone is talking about the Chinese interest in the new shipping route opening up north of the country with the melting of the polar ice cap, which just happens to pass through Icelandic territory.
You know, sometimes I can’t decide whether Icelandic officials are stupid, or whether they just think we, the proletariat, are stupid.
And I also can’t figure out why so many Icelanders are running screaming from the European Union and straight into the warm embrace of the Chinese. But maybe that’s just because I don’t understand the Big Issues at hand.