Friday, February 5, 2010

Insulting China

Hi. I don't often send out a Friday afternoon email, but
I just read this fascinating exchange and realized it would
go into the ether if I didn't take advantage of a pretty miserable
rainy day and send it to you good folks. You could go fishing
with all the cans of worms mentioned alive and kicking.

From: "Suzanne de Kuyper" <>

This is particularly interesting as it does mean that the Obama
Administrations is making big dipomatic mistakes on purpose.
As Putin said a year ago "The U.S. does not make mistakes!"

I assme Hillary's deliberate diplomatic vile nastiness is part of these
moves insulting China. The only way I see this as normal is for the
annoucement of the first open moves of a War Empire, rather than
making them through a leach-iike surrogate.

Insulting China

By Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation: 02/01/2010

Just like Hong Kong, soon enough Taiwan -- the so-called Republic of China
-- will be absorbed into China proper. It's a goner. The sheer force of
China's gravitational pull will draw the island to the mainland. So what,
exactly, is the Obama administration thinking?

In what can only be seen as a calculated insult to Beijing, the Pentagon is
selling a huge arsenal to Taiwan -- according to *The Australian*, more than
$8 billion worth
following upon a $6 billion sale by the Bush administration in 2008.
According to the *New York Times*, the sales include

"60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot interceptor missiles, advanced Harpoon
missiles that can be used against land or ship targets and two refurbished
minesweepers." The Obama administration is praising its own retraint for
having held off on selling advanced F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan as well,
though it hasn't ruled out that in the near future, either.

Not surprisingly, China is furious. The Chinese government has officially
protested the sale, freezing military cooperation with the United States and
announcing retaliatory measures that apparently will include sanctions
against US arms makers involved in the deal, including Boeing and Lockheed
Martin. Action against Boeing could potentially be devastating to the
company, which relies on enormous sales of civilian aircraft to Chinese
airlines, but it isn't clear how far China would go, say, in shifting its
purchases to European-made Airbus aircraft, for instance.

Writing in the *Times*, Helene Cooper quotes a US official who says,

"This was a case of making sure that there was no misunderstanding
that we will act in our own national security interests. Unlike the previous
administration, we did not wait until the end of our administration to go
ahead with the arms sales to Taiwan. We did it early."

Leaving aside the issue of why Obama and Co. take pride in "doing it
early," what conceivable US national security interest involves selling a
weapons package to an island which belongs to China, and whose increasingly
less nationalistic and less independence-minded leaders know will eventually
revert to Chinese control? The dwindling number of fierce anti-communist
relics and ultra-nationalists on the island isn't able to stop the process
of detente between China and Taiwan, and the successful integration of Hong
Kong into China in the 1990s provides a model for the eventual resolution of
the China-Taiwan talks.

Making matters worse, after having rebuffed the Dalai Lama in 2009, when he
visited Washington, it appears that President Obama will orchestrate a
high-profile encounter with the Tibetan leader soon, adding insult to injury
in US-China relations. (The Chinese see the Dalai Lama as leader of an
independence-minded religious cult in China's western province, an analysis
that isn't far wrong, and they believe that the biggest national security
threats to China's west are both religion-centered: the Dalai Lama and the
Uighur Muslims.)

The fact remains that China's star is rising, and America's is declining. To
remain relevant, the United States is going to have to abandon its
pretension to economic and military dominance in the western Pacific,
southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean, which will soon become a Chinese
sphere of influence. China, too, will eventually become a far more important
player in central Asia and the Middle East, because of its insatiable need
for oil and natural gas from that part of the world.

President Obama needs China's help in dealing with Afghanistan, where
China's alliance with Pakistan and its investments in Afghanistan make it an
important part of the diplomatic puzzle in seeking a negotiated end to that
hopeless war. Obama needs China, too, in relation to Iran, not to impose
useless economic sanctions but to provide Iran with diplomatic assurances
and some gentle pressure to move toward an accord over its nuclear program.
And, of course, China is central to the confrontation with North Korea. In
addition, on economics and the environment, China is by far the most
important player after the United States. If the Obama administration thinks
it can play hardball with China, pressuring and intimidating it to win its
support for US policy goals, then the former junior senator from Illinois
has another think coming.

Hillary Clinton is already revving up her hawkish rhetoric on China's Iran
policy. Last week, during the Afghanistan conference in London, Clinton
slammed China over Iran, warning Beijing that it would face diplomatic
isolation if it doesn't cave in and support sanctions on Iran. And Clinton
said outright that China's policy in the Middle East is built around its
concerns over the region's (and Iran's) oil. Addressing China's leaders, she

"We understand that right now, that is something that seems
counterproductive to you, sanction a country from which you get so much of
the natural resources your growing economy needs."

As if the United States doesn't base its own Middle East policy on the fact
that the Persian Gulf is the center of the world's oil supply!
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