Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Asinine

This is one of the most asinine things I've seen in awhile.

The author (Daniel Blumenthal) tries to take two fairly empty statements about the US cooperating with China and turn it into some kind of monstrous concession to Chinese dominance of the world.

The first passage that Blumenthal has a problem with:

The two countries reiterated that the fundamental principle of respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity is at the core of the three U.S.-China joint communiqu├ęs which guide U.S.-China relations. Neither side supports any attempts by any force to undermine this principle. The two sides agreed that respecting each other's core interests is extremely important to ensure steady progress in U.S.-China relations.
Blumenthal says this "comes closer to officially accepting the Chinese claim of sovereignty" over Taiwan. Even if Taiwan was the subject of this part, it in now way says that we accept that Taiwan is part of China's territory. I agree with him that this respect was not the core of the original agreements (kicking Soviet butt, geopolitically, was), but at this point without a bare minimum recognition of this we do nothing but play into Chinese paranoia.

He also complains that Obama hasn't sold any weapons to Taiwan, despite "being bound by law." He ignores that, by international law (aka the treaties communiques we signed with China) we have been bound to reduce those sales over time. Hasn't happened. Also, as of right now, Taiwan is fine. It will need more military ales later, but hopefully that will be at a time when our economy has recovered and we are no longer so reliant on China.

However, this is not as bizarre as his statements on China and India. Responding to this bit of text:

The two sides welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia. They support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan. The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region.
Somehow, this is a horrible capitulation to China and an attempt to force India to deal with Pakistan, rather than helping India do what it wants by confronting China. Somehow, this is attempting to keep India down as a regional, rather than world power.

And, even if somehow, some way, having India help in dealing with Pakistani and Afghani problems really does boost Chinese power...it doesn't change the fact that right now, in the world of today (and not 10 years or 20 years away, when China might actually be able to rival the US), we have troops in Afghanistan and we are fighting in Pakistan. Right now, we need Indian help there, not in containing the China of twenty years from now.

Blumenthal is also upset that this "elevates" China while "demeaning" India, making it a "regional" power rather than a "global" one. It ignores the realities on the ground in South Asia, including that there are continuing issues between the two nuclear armed powers in the region. It also ignores that, right now, that's what India is. I'll be the first to say that we need to work with India, and make it a key partner and support its bid to greatness. But to ignore reality in order to make accusations at Obama and China is patently ridiculous.


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