Friday, February 5, 2010

Either Full Spectrum Dominance or China inter pares

Well, my predicted compromise between 'Google' and the Chinese government is looking increasingly unlikely and not only since Hillary Clinton criticised Beijing because of internet censorship. Indeed, with Hillary also warning China that it risks isolation if it doesn't support sanctons against Iran and with her boss  accusing Beijing of undervaluing the yuan while he goes ahead and sells USD $ 6.5 billion worth of military equipment to Taiwan, we can assume that, even although he has cancelled his meeting today with the Dalai Lama, China has at least a number of good arguments to back up its claims that Washington is interfering with its sovereignty. Nevertheless, that should only want us all the more to look at America's accusations in some detail and when we do so we will at least discover a common thread that smacks of pure hypocrisy.

Firstly, Hillary's accusation of internet censorship might be put into another perspective when we read the news from 'Democracy Now' today which states that: "The internet giant Google is teaming up with the National Security Agency in an unspecified partnership in the name of cybersecurity. Google says the NSA will help it analyze an attack on its computer networks it says originated in China last month. Privacy advocates have raised skepticism about the agreement, whose details haven’t been revealed. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for communications between Google and the NSA on cybersecurity and email encryption." Of course, this is what we are hearing today and there are those who might argue that Google teaming up with the NSA is a perfectly logical development considering what has supposedly happened in China.

However, the internet giant working hand in hand with US intelligence is not something new and there is more than enough evidence to suggest that the Chinese would be perfectly right to worry about the company's activities in China. Indeed, as Robert Steele, an intelligence veteran said back in 2006 "In my view, Google is a public resource and must remain purer than Ceasar's wife. I am sympathetic to Google's rolling over for China and agreeing to curtail some content - that can be reversed later. However, I am very unsympathetic and critical of Google for violating its ‘do no harm’ rule. In my view, a secret financial and secret information sharing relationship with the US Intelligence Community - or any other intelligence community - violates everything about Google that should be sacred, and suggests that we can no longer trust them to live up to their original ethos." Ethics aside what this, of course, means is that, while Google might limit some content to satisfy Beijing it is, more importantly, in a position where it can gather information in China and on China and that it might pass this information onto the NSA and CIA. If this is something that doesn't worry the Chinese it certainly should and one can only speculate as to the nature of the cyberattacks on Google's computer systems.

Secondly, considering how US fiscal policy holds the rest of the world to ransom, it would be illogical to attack the Chinese for keeping the yuan, at least as far as Washington is concerned, "artificially low."  Indeed, considering America's use of its own currency along with its and global financial institutions to control the world economy for at least the last fiscal sixty years this is pure hypocrisy. China is getting ready to re-launch its export drive after a global recession that affected the demand for Chinese goods and a cheap currency is vital to that goal. The United States might not like it but the Chinese probably feel they have no need to be lectured on economic policy by their chief debtor and someone whose dollar imperialism is leading the planet into an unprecedented disaster.

Thirdly, the BBC reports that: "Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called for more direct talks with Iran instead of sanctions." Is there an alternative? Indeed, behind the scenes Beijing probably sees what is behind the West's rabble rousing and also sees that Iran is increasingly in a no win situation. Or that this will at least lead to a regime change in Teheran and a re-allignment with the West. Indeed, it is important that China does not waver in its position as it is increasingly only that position that is preventing sanctions as the first step towards destabilising the government in Teheran. Of course, with China getting some 15% of its oil from Iran this is the last thing Beijing wants.

Finally, China views Taiwan as an integral part of the People's Republic. However, Beijing has proven time and time again that it can be very pragmatic. Only a couple of weeks ago the PRC was officially declaring that "cross-strait relations are good." Taiwan is China's seventh largest trading partner and China is Taiwan's main trading partner. Beijing is not going to do anything in the short or medium term to upset this modus vivendi, however, ideologically and politically it is not going to compromise its position. The United States throwing $US 6.5 billion worth of military equipment at Taipeh does nothing to help either Taiwan or China or the region.

It would be wrong not to criticise China but to do it in order to gain political capital is pure hypocrisy. Moreover, at a time when it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Iran is going to be bullied into submission it would be more than a trifle dangerous to not only speculate that China might be, but to actually attempt it. The real point is we have passed the point where that China will accept such a role and it really is time to accept Beijing as an equal unconditionally. To do this might mean real progress on all of the issues mentioned above. Indeed, we might find that by doing so not only will the planet become a better, fairer and safer place but that China also might tackle those many issues that have the mainstream media in the West crying foul. The pre-requisite for all of this, however, is not only the need to retreat from a barbaric dollar imperialism, which has as its by-product a disgusting hypocrisy and which had to culminate in the pursuit of a full spectrum dominance, but also means that we achieve a situation where we have a real democraticisation of society and of our media.

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