Democratic Underground

This is Foreign Policy?
September 7, 2001
by J B

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This is a "special" Daily Whopper. No, not like the occasional Saturday morning cartoon with an anti-drug message that, while well intentionned, was universally as corny as corny things came.

No, this is the Whopper's first delving into foreign policy.

Good people disagree on foreign policy. Bad people disagree on foreign policy, too. I mean, okay, I have a view of the Israeli/Palestinian mess. Is it going to do me much good to wade into it here? Probably not. Fortunately, there's a Whopper that is quite large to address instead, one that's a bit more cut and dry.

I suppose many readers have at least a passing recollection of the story in the New York Times that said that the US was telling the Chinese, wink wink, nod nod, you can build up your military all you want and we'll just forget about treaties and all that. Wanna test your nukes? So do we. In fact, we just LOVE testing nukes. Let's just blow off this treaty together. What's anyone going to say? Come on. You know you want to.

Let's abandon the practical problems of this policy and look at the raw international implications in historical terms. This is a crass attempt to undermine the restraints on the US imposed by the global treaty system and expectations accorded to it in its status as a Security Council member. I mean, let's lump this in with the story that the US is conducting germ warfare experiments, has a nearly working germ warfare bomb for testing, and has been busy recreating their impressions of Russian superbugs, anthrax super microbes that is. We've been doing this in secret in blatant violation of previous commitments. I mean, imagine if Saddam was doing this. We'd hear calls for tactical nuclear weapons.

So the trap laid for China was, it was to be offered something it was going to do anyway, accept it, and in doing so, help the US bury it later through a combination of nuclear weapon testing to create a better bomb, a nuclear defense shield, and to top it off, large scale biological weapons, and delivery systems for them, to wipe out the Chinese numerical advantage in war. You do realize, after all, that we are going to go to war with China. (Of course, we aren't, and we aren't going to nuke and disease them, but the dreamers think differently.) We're going to need to wipe out hundreds of millions of them just to be safe. Why, it would be dang irresponsible for us to not prepare for the inevitability.

China danced out of this trap using their 5000 year experience in intrigue, diplomacy, and careful analysis of barbarian liars. They simply said they were going to build up and had planned to do so anyway, and it didn't matter what the US said. Thus, they accepted the action allowed to them by the US offer without accepting the offer itself (though it could also be taken as a tacit acceptance, and just propaganda to fool the masses, OR it could be taken as genuine, as an expression of their desire for no US interference), and not suffering any loss of face from angering the international community by essentially kissing the post-WWII international system goodbye (which it joined only through Nixon's dragging the US kicking and screaming into reality and accepting that taking Taiwan's government as the ruling government of mainland China was/is rather silly), while leaving the US high and dry.

That's not the point at all.

That the US even attempted this is disgusting.

Is the US so desperate to destroy the basis of international relations, the treaty system? You know, like non-proliferation, UN conventions, Geneva conventions, arms control? It certainly seems so. This had to be either a trial balloon (a preparation of the public for the concept), or an attempt to ridicule the policy, force the Chinese to deny it and to destroy it before it could take hold. I don't believe #2 for a minute. The "senior defense official" HAD to be Paul Wolfowitz, who more than anyone else, except possibly Rumsfeld himself, has made a career out of fearmongering, promoting world domination (don't laugh, that's what people mean by 'hegemony', not conquest, but mere domination), the absolute necessity of missile defense, and the absolute futility of behaving in any way except the neighborhood bully. Oh yeah, War In Space, too.

Put bluntly: The man believes in holding a Sword of Damocles over every nation on Earth that we can use without being subject to any fear of retaliation or harm.

To such a man, with such a foreign policy team, what is the drawback of giving tacit approval to China, even ENCOURAGEMENT, to build up their own supply of nuclear weapons, if it helps them accomplish their dream?

How? So the war lobby can use them ("them" in this case are the Chinese, but substitute any potential adversary as needed) as a tacit, if not too publically stated, reason to have our shield, because obviously the buildup is a clear and present danger, and the US must be protected so that their pet cash cow can be built.

The cynicism of this policy is rather great.

The Chinese evaded the trap, and the international system lives on, but under such assault, for how much longer? I expected Bush to accelerate the trend towards less US power in the world by angering other countries, by presenting the appearance of aloofness, and even, possibly, through a weakening of the bread and butter military. (Speaking as an ex conservative who saw the light, if Clinton was doing what Bush proposed, he'd be eaten alive.) Bush seems to have an excellent strategy for diminishing US power: Upset other countries, cut the Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps, and invest heavily in space-based weapons that may never work, and may be subject to countermeasures much less expensive than the weapons themselves, so much so that even our enemies can afford them.

The march of history may be leading in that direction, but does Bush have to be so gleeful about helping it along?

The scary thing is, he really believes this is in our national interest. Can we have Gore back? Please?

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