too, may benefit from the latest war. As the a major power in Central
Asia, China may assume responsibility for keeping the peace in the
region after Afghanistan is ravaged yet again. Chinese intelligence
in the area is valued by the US and the Chinese have shown no qualms
about sharing Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and US Secretary
of State Colin Powell met last Friday, and intelligence experts
from the two countries will meet next week to discuss cooperating
Shanghai Cooperation Organization could provide a forum for control
in the area next year the member countries, all supporters
of the war in one way or another, will sign a charter in St. Petersburg.
The members have expanded their ties from security to economic trade,
specifically in the transport, telecommunications, and fuel and
energy industries. In order to realize any benefit from these economic
ties, the SCO must establish stability in Central Asia. Why not
use the war as a tool to forge a power vacuum, which may then be
filled by the regional players?
course, a war in Afghanistan could just as easily create a massive
refugee problem. And where, pray tell, will all of these Muslims
go? The Pakistan border is closed and Uzbeks and Tajiks make up
most of the Taliban's domestic nemesis, the United Front in the
north this leaves Iran and China. In Xinjiang, they may find
a Uigher and Kashgari population sympathetic to their plight and
eager to join them in a new rebellion.
WILL THEY LEAVE WHEN THEY'RE DONE?
is the main question the Chinese government is contemplating. For
all their talk about support of anti-terrorism measures against
the Taliban and cooperation between anti-terrorism experts from
the US and China, Chinese authorities are very nervous about a possible
NATO/US occupation of Afghanistan. If the US were to maintain a
considerable force in the area, China would be facing more than
70,000 US troops on its Eastern border and who knows how many on
its Western border.
Jiang Zemin expressed his sorrow and support, several members of
the Communist Party wrote in and warned against the "angelization"
of the US after this incident. The US is neither evil nor good.
The US is "realistic" and will drop a friend or engage an enemy
at a moments notice. Consider the love shown toward Pakistan now
that Musharaff has pledged support for the US campaign: Bush waived
sanctions imposed after 1998 and Pakistan's status as a friend of
America was raised high enough to force India to offer airbases
for the campaign. Consider former CIA buddy bin Laden himself.
now that the sanctions on the sale of munitions have been waived,
what does that mean for the strong trade in such materials between
China and Pakistan? Can the US still impose its will on Chinese
companies selling arms to Pakistan after both countries support
the US war? Chinese munitions may even end up killing a few Afghanis.
the Coalition decides to set up camp permanently in those huge
former Soviet bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, the SCO will
face a very strong rival. Who would the Western occupation forces
help to dig up all that oil in the region: Chevron or the SCO, led
by former enemies Russia and China?
in its infancy, and with both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan leaning
toward the West in the economic realm, the SCO could quickly fall
apart. The Central Asian -stans also have a long history of resistance
to Russian rule. After 1991, Uzbekistan quickly changed official
languages, ownership laws and basically purged Russians from the
China and Russia, the hoped-for chance to take control of the region
may become a disaster in which longtime foe America establishes
a large military presence, while defeated, bitter and desperate
Afghanis spill over the mountains and across the borders.
COME, EASY GO
a select few can count on the US's friendship: Israel, Britain and
anti-demon-of-the-day-tyrants. When the demon is vanquished, US
friendship goes up in a puff of smoke. In most cases, the erstwhile
buddy regains the title of tyrant and "enemy of democracy." Whose
to say sanctions won't be re-imposed if Pakistan and India start
flexing again? What if Musharraf bows to Islamic domestic pressure?
if a few academics are accused of spying for Taiwan? Or another
"fishing boat" enters the Spratlys? Another likely scenario, now
that China is a member of the WTO, is a series of "antidumping"
measures against the influx of Chinese peaches and pants. The new
friendship will quickly be replaced with old animosity.
THE HOPE OF A NEW LIFE
the World Powers truly wish to create a multipolar world order,
this chance must be utilized fully. The tragedy in New York argues
against a lone superpower, a lone policeman with invincible power
over all. The weapons to combat terrorism are international cooperation
and varied views of justice, instead of unilateral action and American-style
justice. The coalition being assembled now is a coalition of war,
the real test for the leaders of the world is whether or not they
can keep this alive after the carnage the coalition that
destroyed Iraq has fallen apart, save for lapdog Britain, because
that coalition remained one of war.
Yizhou, a young, up and coming foreign policy analyst has remarked
that closer ties between the US and Russia come at the expense of
NMD and US arrogance/bullying. Is Rumsfeld prepared to scrap his
war in space project? The US in the midst of Empire-building, i.e.
war, does not appear to have a change of policy in mind, but a change
in policy is a must if terrorism is to be neutralized and stability
maintained. America cannot afford to base troops everywhere in the
world from Iceland to Okinawa. Let the regions rule themselves
a realization of the benefits of multipolarity may be the
one good that comes out of this.
Sisci writes in the Asia Times that China's political system
must also modernize itself along with its economy in order to keep
the hope for a multipolar world alive. Chinese politicians still
spit out Communist refuse, even though the whole country is exploding
with capitalist greed. They whine about having entrepreneurs in
the Party: what a joke! Party members depend on "public relations"
costs from these very entrepreneurs to provide tuition for their
kids in Canada, England, Germany, etc. among other luxuries
that most Chinese only dream of.
government still claims to be a "revolutionary party" following
various Mao/Deng/Jiang thoughts many of which are incomprehensible
and completely irrelevant in today's China. China is currently depending
on its economic might much of it potential to build up its
international standing. The government has yet to do much besides
demanding that Taiwan return and that Bush apologize. (Oh, Jiang
does make dozens of international visits and phone calls...)
any case, the transition of the Chinese government from feces-spouting
dinosaur to an actual global leader is much more likely than the
one the US government must go through:
from feces-spouting Empire to an actual global leader.
printable version of this article
is a teacher living and working in China. His articles have appeared
in the South China Morning Post, the Minnesota Daily,
and elsewhere. His exclusive Antiwar.com column appears Tuesdays.
Chance for a New Friendship?
as a Way of Life
Markets or Supermarkets
Towards World Significance
on the Road to Capitalism
American in China
the Street in China: A Report