Friday, December 5, 2008

Reasons why Obama needs a new start with China-part 1 of 5: International Relations

The Obama Administration takes office on the promise of change and one of the most critical changes he can make is to reboot our relations with China based on mutual respect and shared interests. A strong and positive alliance with China is more important now than ever.

By treating China as an equal partner, the Obama Administration would not only recognize the reality of China’s position in the new world order but would gain an ally that could reduce America’s military expenditures, provide diplomatic cover in certain parts of the world essential to world stability and help rescue America’s foundering economy.


Unlike the U.S., China never aspired to be a superpower and policeman of the world. Their policy has been to get along with everybody. Thus, they are able to maintain civil, if not downright cordial, diplomatic relations with nations with whom we have been unfriendly, such as Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Pakistan and North Korea to name just a few.

Consistent with their “get along” approach, they have rarely invoked their veto right as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Since joining the body, they have cast 6 vetoes. During that same period for other permanent members, by way of comparison, USSR/Russia cast 123 vetoes, the U.S. 80 times, UK 32 and France 18.

Since 1990, China has contributed 9000 peacekeepers in 22 UN operations, more than the combined total of the other four permanent members of the Security Council. What they have not done is to send any of their troops on any non-UN sanctioned mission beyond their borders and occupy any territory belonging to other sovereign states.

China has a growing presence in Africa and Latin America, but it has been based on mutually beneficial, commercial interests. Typically, Chinese investments and participation help build the local infrastructure and train native skill sets as well as cooperation in exploration and development of natural resources.

China has already played a critical role by hosting the six party talks and keeping the conference room open with the North Koreans. Arguably much more progress could have been made by now, had the U.S. been less pig-headed about who blinks first.

Since China has gotten along well with every nation—far better than the U.S.—they are in the position to cajole international cooperation more readily than we can. With their complicit help, we will be able to lessen world tension without incurring extra expenditures for shuttle diplomacy or even bigger outlays for military intervention.

Read entire 5 part article on Asia Times.

1 comment:

Yang said...

The author failed to establish how the new president can support the fundamental value held by the American people, (human rights, democracy), while engaging with China in purly economical interest based tone. The fundamental distrust caused by the difference on ideology should not be ignored completely even under such hard financial times. The current Sino-US relationship under the Bush Administration already works quite well. A more relaxed relationship with China doesn't serve the US in the long run, and reduced International pressue will not help China's human rights record in the future either.