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  • Global Economic Interests and Military Power: China and the Middle East

    There are now reports that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has dispatched an airliner to Athens, to assist in any possible evacuation of Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese persons from Libya. This is in addition to the dispatch of Chinese merchant ships and even fishing boats. These efforts are consistent with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s instructions to “spare no efforts to ensure the safety of life and properties of Chinese citizens in Libya.”

    Setting aside the fact that Taiwanese are not citizens of the PRC and the controversy bound to ensue over the Chinese declaring them such, there is a much broader issue at stake over how a rising China determines and pursues its interests abroad.

    As China’s economy has extended globally, and becomes ever more dependent on imports to fuel and maintain it, Chinese foreign policy has generally been one of “non-interference,” turning a blind eye to some of the worst autocracies, so long as their access to raw materials was unhindered. That this approach might be alienating the local populations was downplayed in favor of the pragmatism of dealing with the ones who controlled the guns.

    Recent events in the Middle East suggest that this approach, while successful in the short-term, may have run its course. Iranian protestors in 2009 were heard chanting “Death to China,” in protest of Chinese acceptance of Ahmadinejad’s thuggish behavior in that nation’s contested presidential elections. Coupled with the reaction of Libyans to Chinese workers, and one has to wonder how the Chinese will react. Will they continue to follow a policy of “non-interference,” especially as Chinese investments abroad expand? Or, like other major powers, will the Chinese seek to influence their partners more, and will that make them more or less cooperative with the United States, Europe, and Japan?

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Global Economic Interests and Military Power: China and the Middle East

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      With China in the cross hairs of the Extreemist, maybe it is time China and the US start repairing relations and start cooperating on the military front. This would help the US reduce DoD spending. It is in the financial benefits for the two nations to seek a common ground. Together, both nations can defeat extreemist. Believe it or not, the Chinese people (sans government) loves America.

    2. Pingback: World Spinner

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