Battlepanda: Realpolitiking...


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Bush has attracted his share of cheers and jeers over his pointed statements towards China in his Asian Tour:
Modern Taiwan is free and democratic and prosperous. By embracing freedom at all levels, Taiwan has delivered prosperity to its people and created a free and democratic Chinese society,” Bush will say according to an advance text released by the U.S. White House.
"By meeting the legitimate demands of its citizens for freedom and openness, China's leaders can help their country grow into a modern, prosperous and confident nation," Bush will say.

"In the 21st century, freedom is an Asian value because it is a universal value."

Now, on one hand, I understand where Nathan and Richard is coming from. China is a repressive regime. And modern Taiwan (disclosure: I am Taiwanese) is a great example of freedom and prosperity going hand-in-hand. But but but...

First of all, talking of freedom and openess and such is really a bit rich coming from Bush right off the recent spat of human rights scandals and pretzel-besting legal contortions to justify torture. And shouldn't we build a little legitimacy and stability into our current little freedom-propagating projects before lecturing others on this subject? O.K., I'm not saying that no U.S. leader can ever preach democracy until everything is okey-dokey in Iraq, but lets just say this particular lecture from this particular president at this particular time just feels hollow. And besides, you don't have to be much of a cynic to realize that this is a completely nugatory gesture. If you really think that Chinese leaders are going to hang their head in shame and realize the error of their ways after George showed them the light, I have a Bridge of Friendship from Taipei to Beijing to sell you.

So morally speaking, Bush's position is undercut by the failure of our actions in Iraq and elsewhere to back up his rhetoric. Practically speaking, his little speech could have no positive effect for the Chinese people. That leaves us with the realpolitiks angle to evaluate this move, and I believe Tim F. of Balloon Juice said it best: "when you visit people to whom you owe a crapload of money, a safe way to piss them off is to lecture them about how to run their house."