The relegation of Zhao to nonpersonhood shows that when it comes to sensitive issues of Communist Party prestige and authority, China, contrary to widespread belief in the West, is still very much a Communist dictatorship, a country whose leaders, as Orwell might have put it, sometimes require that the truth be made falsehood and falsehood made truth. And the leftover Orwellian nature of the Chinese government has tended to have more weight in U.S. policy making on China than it has in Europe. The arms transfers to Iran, a more practical problem, illustrate the widening European-American divide on strategic thinking about China, with Europe less inclined to impose restraints on China than the United States.writes Richard Bernstein in an International Herald Tribune article called EU vs. U.S. vs. China: Partnership paradoxes.
And, of course, this difference relates to the biggest area of trans-Atlantic disagreement, the emerging consensus in Europe that the arms embargo the European Union members have maintained against China since 1989 has become an anachronism, and that, probably before the end of this year, it is going to be lifted.Nobody, of course, except perhaps the American troops who may have to go to war with China some years down the road. But they, as the rhetorical question suggests, can only be clods whose opinions are necessarily skewered…
Indeed, who can entirely disagree with such a decision?
It has been almost 16 years since Tiananmen. China's leadership today, may as in the Zhao case, still resemble the old gang that ordered the assault on the democracy protesters, but the assault's instigators, like Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, have passed from the political scene. China in general shows no signs of playing a rogue role in global affairs.Tell that to the inhabitants of Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, and any country with a coast on the China Sea (not to mention the crew on the plane which collided with a Chinese fighter in the early months of 2001).
Oh, and, by the way, it turns out that China has been invited to participate in Galileo, the proposed EU rival to the American satellite navigation system (the Global Positioning System).
That is followed by lots of quotations from spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief (former NATO bigwig Javier Solana), explaining how the Europeans analyze the situation "in a sober manner". Ah, those Europeans, ever so much more "lucid" and reasonable and visionary than those oafish Americans… Well, why not, they will never have to fight the Chinese; all they have to do is stay on the sidelines and slam "the cowboys" for being trigger-happy.
Still, the article ends on a sobering note. However, although Bernstein
does emphasize the regular and constant failure of either China or the EU to put human rights before their economic interests, he in no way takes the next logical step, which is to take a more skeptical look — one as skeptical as that that the mainstream media (of all countries) usually reserve for Uncle Sam — at the "peace camp" for its regular moral claims of holding the high ground, both before and after the war…