General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt, last seen here praising Communist China as on par with Ronald Reagan ("Man, these guys are good!) in a speech at West Point and working with the Chinese Communist Party to choose Chinese executives to go through the GE executive training program, appears to be having second thoughts. The Financial Times quotes Mr. Immelt as saying, "I really worry about China...I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful."
The Wall Street Journal, comically, quotes a GE spokesman, Gary Sheffer, as saying that Mr. Immelt's comments "do not represent our views." Another Journal item reported, "General Electric distanced itself from comments critical of the business environment in China made this week by its chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt." Since Mr. Immelt at least in theory runs the company, he's in a sense distancing himself from his own comments, which were themselves distancing himself from his earlier comments. It's hard to know quite what to make of all this. Perhaps Mr. Immelt is trying to goad American politicians into pressuring China to help GE while simultaneously preventing China from retaliating against GE in retribution for Mr. Immelt's effort. The whole situation doesn't appear to exactly inspire confidence in Mr. Immelt, but maybe I'm missing something.