The Spitfire's Grill
Regular Rants from a Pragmatic Liberal
Monday, June 06, 2005
Topic of the Day: China
Over the weekend while I was taking a break from blogging (and blogs in general), I noticed the Times article about Rumsfeld and China in my Inbox. Thinking Rummy couldn't have said anything truly stupid, I went back to my uneventful weekend. But this morning I read the piece. Jesus.


NYTimes quoting Rumsfeld:
He said no "candid discussion of China" could neglect to address these military concerns directly, and criticized China for not admitting the full extent of what he described as its worrisome military expansion.
Last time I checked China's military budget was somewhere around $30 Billion US Dollars. Our defense budget is over $600 Billion. (oh but that's ok because China knows we're fighting for freedom--like China cares.) Talk about hypocritical. How are we going to level with these people with talk like this? After 16 years these people still won't admit the Tiananmen Square massacre even existed.

These are not people to deal with via tough talk. Tough Action is needed. Push for greater regulation on international arms deals. Come up with human rights-based sanctioning efforts at the U.N. and W.T.O. Here's an idea: stop encouraging Japan to build up it's military. There's already escalating tensions between those two countries, yet your boss' administration seems to be talking Japan into a military build-up. Next up, the East Asian arms race.

Oh, but its ok, because:
"Since no nation threatens China, one wonders: why this growing investment?" Mr. Rumsfeld asked.
(sigh) Apparently September 11 gives the Bush Administration free reign to attack any nation we don't like but a worked up North Korea and Japan means that China should decrease its military strength, eh? Talk like this will encourage China to randomly double its military spending, just to spite you Mr. Rumsfeld. Why?
His remarks come as Washington's stance regarding Beijing appears to be growing more critical. The United States has accused China of manipulating the value of its currency, for example, in order to increase exports, and of exerting heavy-handed pressure on Taiwan.

A joint warning from the American and Japanese defense and foreign ministers has rankled Chinese leaders, as has the Bush administration's insistence that Europe must not ease curbs on arms sales to China.

The administration has also been increasingly disappointed by China's apparent reluctance to press North Korea to resume talks on its nuclear weapons programs, as Mr. Rumsfeld again urged China to do.
Translation: So because things aren't going our way, let's take out our frustration. Leave it to the next douche-bag that comes into office, it'll be his or her problem! Hell, it'll probably be that bitch Hillary anyway.

What has tough talk in foreign policy ever created other than votes and trouble. Daily I'm more convinced that foreign policy tough talk is solely for domestic consumption.

Any bright spots?
Mr. Rumsfeld's comments on China also stood in contrast to those on another power in Asia: India. On the flight to Singapore, he said ties with India would strengthen while those with China could fray if Beijing did not open up society more.
Well I've been pushing for strengthening ties with India for quite some time. But its rather bothersome that somehow this ball falls in the Secretary of Defense's court. Maybe if Condi Rice started talking about India then I'd be happier.

Back to military build-ups. One cannot use the words military, U.S., and China in the same blog post without discussing Taiwan, which we all know to be crucial to this:
In recent weeks, American officials have compiled reports detailing how China has carefully analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the United States military to focus its growing spending on weapons systems that could exploit perceived American weaknesses in case the United States ever responds to fighting in Taiwan.

These military and intelligence officials say China has purchased or built enough amphibious assault ships, submarines, fighter jets and short-range missiles that pose an immediate threat to Taiwan and to any American force that might come to Taiwan's aid.

My official policy on Taiwan is to have a policy. For years we've had a wishy-washy "we'll defend Taiwan if there's any un-provoked aggression" nonsense from both Democrat and Republican administrations.

I've never really gotten a good luck at a particular reason why we defend Taiwan like we do. But we need to make up our minds once and for all whether Taiwan should be independent. Officially, because China has that damn veto power, Taiwan is a Chinese province. I'd much prefer it be independent, because I believe in such freedom.

What I don't know anymore, however, is how important Taiwan is to our economy. If it is as vital as it used to be, then we'd certainly protect Taiwan (go to war? maybe). Now I think we're more likely to be holding on to old treaty agreements. I think the Bush Administration is stalling, however. It wouldn't look to good in Bush's whole "freedom" cry if he freed Afghanistan and Iraq but lost Taiwan to China and let the massacres in Darfur go unchecked. Seems like a spread freedom to wherever its convenient policy.

Oh, and Rumsfeld, screw you.


My last 5 posts on China:
31 May 2005
21 May 2005
14 May 2005
20 April 2005
3 April 2005

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