Shortly after the disclosure that China sold missile transporters to North Korea, in violation of UNSCR 1695, 1718, and 1874, the White House decides to reconsider a decision about weapons sales to Taiwan:
Taiwan said it welcomed the pledge by the United States to reconsider a proposed sale of new fighter jets to the island, a defence deal likely to upset Beijing. Taiwan has been pushing for the purchase of 66 new US-made F-16 fighter jets, but the deal has been stalled by Washington. The White House on Friday promised “serious consideration” to selling the jets in the wake of “the growing military threat to Taiwan”. [....]
Washington announced in September it would equip Taiwan’s 146 F-16 A/B jets with new technologies, in a $5.85 billion deal which falls short of the island’s fervent wish for 66 new F-16 C/Ds. [AFP]
I fear that certain personalities in the State Department will feel constrained from reversing this decision, because they’re only willing to upset the Chinese so much during one period. Some will even see it as a trade-off for offering protection to oppressed Chinese dissidents like Chen Guangcheng.
A campaigner against forced abortions and sterilizations, Chen spent four years in prison and then was kept in punitive house arrest for the past 20 months, despite the lack of legal grounds for doing so. Clinton and other U.S. officials have repeatedly raised his case, though Beijing did nothing to abate the confinement, occasional beatings and other harsh treatment.
Let me counter with this question: so what if they’re upset? Will they go to war over this? Would caving to their arbitrary demands make conflict less likely, or more likely? Will they mobilize their Fifty Cent Army to demonize us even more than they are now? What’s the value of what passes for a “good” diplomatic relationship with the ChiComs? Let’s not pretend that this will ever be a genuinely cooperative diplomatic relationship, any more than we should fear that it would mean a breakdown in our commercial relationship. Both countries — but especially China — need that commercial relationship, so both parties will want to isolate it from our diplomatic differences. Our diplomatic relationship with China is never going to be genuinely cooperative, because China’s rulers have decided that they’re in a zero-sum competition with America for regional and global supremacy.
China will continue to frustrate America’s security interests and support regimes hostile to America as long as doing so doesn’t hurt China. It didn’t support al Qaeda because it has its own problem with Muslim insurgents. It supports North Korea because the oppression and starvation of millions of North Koreans don’t count as a “downside” to the men who rule in the Forbidden City. China supports North Korea because it gambles that America won’t attach a cost to its support, and because it believes it has enough influence over enough Americans to mitigate that cost. Nothing has proved China wrong about that so far.
Update: I see some of you reading this from China. Here’s something that might interest you:
I guess I can live without that traffic. For those of you who don’t speak Chinese, here’s some information on Chen’s cause, and the answer to an obvious question: just how incompetent do the police have to be to let a blind man to get away?
And former Biden staffer and occasional OFK reader Frank Jannuzi works for Amnesty now? Really?