“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Westhawk on the Inscrutable Chinese. Maybe, maybe not.

hattip: Doug on an interesting post over at Westhawk

Japan-Australian pact is a loud signal to China
Last Tuesday, Reuters and the Associated Press filed this story from Tokyo, where Australian Prime Minister John Howard was completing an official visit:

Japan and Australia signed a security agreement on Tuesday to improve an increasingly close defense relationship, while the leaders of the two countries played down concerns that the pact was directed specifically at China or other countries in the region.

Under the joint declaration signed Tuesday by Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Japanese forces will train alongside Australians for disaster relief and peacekeeping missions.

The pact also calls for cooperation between the two countries in counterterrorism measures and intelligence sharing.


"This declaration lifts the security aspects of our relationship more closely to the level of our economic and commercial ties," Howard told reporters. "Neither China nor any other country in the region should see this declaration as being antagonistic toward them."

Chinese officials reiterated on Tuesday that Beijing did not pose a military threat to the region and said that more should be done to boost trust throughout Asia.

"We hope what they've said is true," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said at a news conference, referring to Japanese and Australian assurances.

"In the meantime, we are not going to invade or pose a threat to anybody," Qin said.

The region prepares for China

Mr. Qin’s protestations are likely true; except for Taiwan, which of course China considers an integral part of its territory, China does not appear to making military preparations for any other specific offensive mission. And Mr. Qin is certainly correct to say that more should be done to boost trust throughout Asia; China’s own secretiveness over its defense planning, doctrine, and capital programs is a major cause of this distrust...
The rest here


If and when China decides to take Taiwan, they will certainly do it in a fashion that will include economic, military and political intimidation in such concentration and timing that it will present the world a fait accompli.

The Chinese believe that any and all rational players, including the Taiwanese, hopefully the US, will look at what happened to Hong Kong and come to the conclusion that the fate of Taiwan is with China.

Australia, Japan and the US are far too engaged with China on economic integration to let matters of a relic from the Cold War interfere with business and commerce. That decision was cast as far back as the Nixon Administration.

The US "encircling" China is nothing more than a preparation to maintain current access to existing commercial and military lanes. It is obvious to everyone that they will be shared with the Chinese.

If the US was seriously concerned about Chinese intentions, there has been ample opportunity to show that concern at the southern flank of the United States where China has been establishing increasing commercial penetration and dealing with Latin America. China has been making energy deals in both North and South America.

China has decided to be far smarter in the use of her real economic power and has recently announced a trillion dollar fund to purchase assets and equities on a global scale. The increasing economic inter-dependence and one-sided trade with the US created that fund. That part of the Chinese strategy has gone unnoticed by the ideologues in the Bush Administration who believe that free trade, even if one-sided and unbalanced is paramount in foreign affairs.

The last time I checked there are Chinese industrial parks on both ends of the Panama Canal. I am not sure if they are Chinese or Taiwanese. I am sure that it in the long run it makes no difference.


  1. I bought some land in China. It's a Communist Plot. ::rimshot::

    But seriously, I'm touring China with a wok band. ::rimshot::

    I've always wondered, what do people in China call their good plates? ::rimshot::

  2. Those are not Taiwanese in the Free Trade Zones on each end of the Canal, Neiher are the Taiwanese financing the new Canal expansion, recently approved by voters there in Panama.

    It's a Chinese Century that's developing, in Latin American.

  3. Dear 2164th:

    Thanks very much for linking to our article on China.