as some of you might remember I tend to be highly sceptical about China. I remember once I had a discussion with a good Israeli friend of mine about Israel and Europe and Israel and China and she claimed she would prefer an China to Europe for “China at least wouldn’t actively get us all killed.” I objected telling her that China might not get Israel off the map for a reason but they wouldn’t care at all if they helped somebody else doing it as long as it was for their benefit. Well, it didn’t take much more then a couple of weeks until China sold off some fighter jets (at least I think it was fighter jets … has been about two years now) that fascinatingly resembled Israeli ones quite a lot, to – well guess whom – Israel’s best buddy Iran.
For historic reason time goes another way in China. Chinese don’t plan in three or four years – as has happened in Europe lately – but rather in four or five decades, if not generations. Guess why they have been buying pretty much every given resource off the world market for some years now. Guess why they have been constructing giant underground tanks for some time now. Because they managed to think ahead. Which of course doesn’t make them any nicer pals at all. They’re still top 1 when it comes to capital punishments. And I guess when it comes to human rights issues they aren’t far from top 1 either. The thing about China is they just don’t give a damn about anything but whatever they perceive as their greater goal. And men are just as much a resource – one they have plenty of – as coal or oil.
It has its pros too. Lately a reader of an Austrian newspaper I read pointed out how China could be the one element that might keep the global economic crisis from turning into a new wave of global poverty as seen in 1929. Just take the US Dollar, he wrote, China has bought quite a lot of it and they won’t have it loose its value as long as they need it to stabilize their currency. The same is true for their export oriented economy and – of course – their long term plans – what ever they may be. So China might be the one world power that – without caring about any kind of sacrifice they have to make lest any morals – would take every means necessary to stabilize the world economy before the whole crisis reaches some point of no return. And, if we have a look at history, on the long run thereby it might even be China that prevents a World War III.
Of course knowing how many US Dollars China owns also leads to the inconvenient idea of what might happen if China sold off all those US Dollars at once. And now thing what this would mean for the USA. Guess why they, in spite of their wish to be “World Police” again keep on looking the other way whenever China chooses to ignore human rights again (simplified yet not the less true). Mid- to long-term China has already muted the US and, through economic bounds, searches to mute Europe as well. Which, as far as I am concerned, works out in parts as long as the European self consciousness stays as little as it is now (which could change rapidly once Europe is out of the global economic crisis and realizes how well it has done coping with it) and even more as long as Europe is focusing on “soft” (economic) instead of “hard” (military) power and has no interest in taking over the US’ old role as “World Police”. Nevertheless Europe hasn’t shut up as much as China might wish for lately. European remarks on Chinese human rights issues are a matter of regular press attention and the Dalei Lama is treated at least as good as any foreign Head of State in most European nations. Doesn’t change a thing of course but at least it reminds China that the world doesn’t belong to them – yet.
The world however isn’t just Europe and the US – “first world”. It’s the “third world” too. And here China has stared a charm bombing equalling Tom Cruise’s towards Germany with “Valkyrie”. Especially the countries of Africa have been subject to China’s shopping tour for allies. Chinese officials have been travelling those countries and, other then Europeans, made them feel equal. The emphasis might well be “made them feel”, yet for Africans, which have always only been treated as either servants or subjects to be sorry for, it’s no wonder it did the trick. And though China’s bonds with African countries might not yet show a positive balance on the long run they sure will. Just think natural resources – including water and soil -, human resources and – of course – strategic points.
How far China’s Africa mission has already come can be seen here where, pressurized by China, South Africa – still role model to many other African States – has denied the Dalei Lama an entry visa and hasn’t even cared to invent any excuses. It might sound like a small thing but think about it – a foreign nation interfering with who enters your territory and who not – does that still sound like an “independent” country?
Sometimes I feel on a unconscious layer the world is splitting up into pacts again and the Chinese one’s for sure growing fastly …
keep an eye on it!