Twofish's Blog

February 10, 2007

Disagreeing with Willy Lam

Filed under: africa, china, politics — twofish @ 8:23 am

I disagree with just about everything in that article.

This article suffers from what I call the “golden age syndrome.”  From time to time, you get these articles about how human rights in China is declining from the previous year, but that would imply that there was a “golden age” in the past when Chinese human rights were wonderful, and it’s hard to see when that was.  Similarly, the idea that Hu Jintao’s policies are *more* confrontational to the United States than Jiang Zemin’s implies that there was a golden age in the 1990’s when US-China relations were wonderful, and I must have missed that.  Those were the years of “China can say no”, the third Taiwan Straits crisis, the  Belgrade embassy bombing, and the Hainan spy plane incident.

Hu Jintao’s policy toward the United States is noticably less confrontational than the era under Jiang Zemin.  Gone are the days in which just about every other editorial in the People’s Daily was a complaint about US interference in Chinese affairs or the rabid dog editorials on Taiwan.

Also, China and the United States are cooperating on issues such as North Korea and Iran in ways that were unlikely a decade ago.   Yes, China is making friends with Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, but these actions are taken primarily to create markets and resources for Chinese economic development, and displacing the United States is not an objective.  There’s absolutely nothing that China is doing that discourages the United States from investing in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, and the fact that no one in Washington noticed Africa before Hu Jintao visited there is not the fault of Beijing.

The weapons that are coming out now (the anti-satellite weapon and the J-10) have been in development for years.  The threat of using force to resolve the Taiwan issue if independence is declared  and the goal of deter the United States from intervening in the Taiwan straits in case of a crisis is also not a new objective.  The fact that the PLA is being much less secretive about its miliary buildup and spending is partly due to US pressure to be more transparent about its goals and spending


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