Alpine Summit

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Our Furthest Concerns

Drudge has tons of stuff on China this morning and some of it is interesing.

First up is the Unocal bid. Chevron has won the nod from Unocal's executives for fear of having regulators step in if they accept China's sweeter offer.
A CNOOC spokesman said the company remained "comfortable" with its $18.5 billion bid and believed its offer had a "distinct advantage." A person familiar with the matter said CNOOC had anticipated a higher Chevron bid and was reviewing options on how to react.

In other words; "We have to ask the Chinese government if we can offer them more money." The main issue I had with this deal is that oil is a national security issue. China's becoming more oil hungry as they start moving more towards a free market and I have no doubt they would simply export all the oil they need for their own purposes. So? So keep reading. I'm very happy Unocal's executives have made this decision. It's up to the shareholders now, though so there's still a chance.

Second story, and partly illustrating why the oil deal makes me nervous, is about China's military buildup. This looks like posturing to me. China has always had a superiority complex since they turned communist. To me, it looks like they feel they are supposed to be the strongest power in the world and it's only because of some quirk of fate that they aren't. This attitude is a dangerous one. Even though they aren't the strongest power, they can still cause problems.

"Some of China's military planners are surveying the strategic landscape beyond Taiwan," the report said.

Taiwan has been a contentious issue between the U.S. and China for a LONG time. The problem is that the U.S. has promised to help Taiwan should China take any kind of military action against Taiwan. Such things strain relations between the two countries. China is not a friendly country. It isn't an enemy- yet- but they certainly aren't allies.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday prior to the release of the report that it illustrates why a European arms embargo against the Chinese should be kept in place.

Some members of the European Union, including France, have sought an end to the embargo, which was imposed after the Chinese military crushed student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Oh and look at that. FRANCE of all people wants the weapons embargo lifted. They are well aware of the fragile situation between China and the U.S. (and western powers in general, actually) and don't care. They care more about selling their crappy weapons (sans the P-90 as it is "not crappy") to the Chinese to make money. Though we shouldn't be surprised. After all, they were more than happy to sell weapons to Saddam Hussein when there was an arms embargo on his country. That's getting off-topic, though. Let's see what the U.S. leadership thinks of all this:

It described China as being at a strategic crossroads that could lead down three paths but "not yet set immutably on one course or another."

One path is peaceful integration and benign competition in the world. Or China would exert dominant influence in an expanding sphere. A third path sees China as a less confident, inward-looking state focused on challenges to national unity and the Chinese Communist Party's claim to legitimacy.

It's an interesting take. I doubt you'll see a "less confident" China. They're so determined to make people think they're a force to be rekoned; nevermind people already know this. That doesn't mean they won't rattle the sabre anyway. I think China's best bet, though, is to simply work within the free market system. Though that would require leaving communism and I doubt their leadership is willing to give up all that power. Leaving them as somewhat of an impasse.

So what's the Chinese response to these concerns raised by the Pentagon? "Leave us alone!" A dangerous reaction to be sure. When concerns are raised about a non-friendly country's military situation, and their response is, "don't worry about it," be worried.

So, only time will tell if China will choose to go to war with the world or finally drop its communist ways. I think it would be better for everyone if they drop communism.

UPDATE: Max Boot has a column about China's "stealth war" against the U.S. I'm not so sure about his conclusions, but I wouldn't put it past the Chinese. Like I said, they want the world to think they're as great as they think they are and would gladly play "king of the mountain" to do it. (Via: Instapundit)