Monday, March 21, 2005

More to the point ...

Moral indignation is certainly edifying; you can snort and stomp like a rhinocerous. With all the hand wringing over the French push to sell arms to Beijing, US officials are lashing out at Gallic hypocrisy. At first glance, one can hardly blame them. Indeed French efforts to lift the arms embargo on China stink of avarice and blandishments that flow like the Loire.

Yet waving the fist may be premature. This Asia Times article describes a US$5 billion loan, approved by the US Export-Import Bank to China National Nulear Corp. If true, the US is bankrolling China’s growing nuclear ambitions as Janus-faced US officials berate Beijing for its cavalier approach to proliferation. The Times’ sources say that Chinese officials have assured the US that proliferation is a thing of the past. If Washington takes such statements at face value while castigating France for its naivite in dealing with China, then something other than principle is afoot. At this juncture, the US’ argument with France is one of style, not substance.

The late Edward Said once wrote: “One of the shabbiest of intellectual gambits is to pontificate about abuses in someone else’s society and to excuse exactly the same practices in one’s own.”

Let's cut to the chase; everyone wants in on the game. Australia has floated the idea of exporting enriched uranium to China. The US has pulled off a back-door deal at the behest of American nuclear firms. Russia’s planned joint military exercises with China is more about Moscow’s desire to show off the hardware to a prospective buyer than it is to strengthen ties. Ukraine has admitted to selling ballistic missiles to China. France’s true sin, it would seem, is that he asked first if he could kiss the girl.

1 comment:

Dumplingeater said...

So what's the real motivation behind the US hand-wringing? I'm a bit puzzled, as it seems there's plenty of money to be made for the American MIC by selling it's wares to China, even as France does so also. Of course, the out-and-out hypocracy of the US position -- that it's OK for us to sell arms to a country that leaves just a bit to be desired in terms of "democratic values" (read Pakistan), but not OK for other countries sell arms to China -- is typically arrogant. But is the motivation just to be consistantly arrogant? While I wouldn't put anything past Bush and the Neos, that would be a bit far-fetched. One possible explanation is that they really desire to support Taiwan. But why, all of a sudden, is the US being so unambiguous in its support of Taiwan, when previously it seemed the standing approach to the One China policy was to obfuscate as much as possible? I guess they're really feeling quite nervous about China as a competitor. Pretty ironic, since every Chinese person who I've talked to about these issues wonders why, given our expansionist tendencies, Americans are perpetually worried about Chinese imperialism.