Why don't countries that have a surplus keep it rather than buy another country's debt?
If you buy another country's debt, you might never get it back if the country falls apart. Things don't happen in a vacuum. If the US falls, the entire world will suffer. Look at what happened at the stock markets around the world for a few days during the Bear Sterns fall. If the US can no longer import goods from China, who is china going to sell those goods to, its own poor people? China, Japan, and any other lending nations would be forced to see that the US doesn't fall. As far as food prices, that is happening also in Europe too and probably all over the world because of the high cost of oil, land being used to grow corn for ethanol. Besides,it wouldn't hurt americans at all if they ate a little less. Look at the waistlines. The big difference may be that the western nations and japan take care of their people much much more than china and that costs money. But I guess you can expect that from a totalitarian government. How many chinese people are moving back home from the western nations? I guess they would enjoy the polluted air and water and living in a police state.