November 30, 2005


Project for a New Chinese Century: Beijing plans for national greatness (Max Boot, 10/10/2005, Weekly Standard)

[E]VEN IF WE AVOID a trade war and actually find new areas of cooperation, there is no guarantee that China's growing lucre will translate into peace in our time. In 1914 Germany was the second-richest nation in the world--and the most militaristic. Optimists think that China will eventually go the way of South Korea and Taiwan, both onetime autocracies that liberalized after getting rich. That may well happen, and for that reason, if no other, we need to keep trading with China. But it's just as plausible that China will follow the path of autocratic states like Germany and Japan, which in the early 20th century combined capitalism with expansionism. Indeed, there are more than faint echoes of Kaiser Wilhelm II and General Tojo in the fervor with which the Communist party oligarchy has adopted xenophobic nationalism as the justification for its continued rule.

Even as we do business with China, therefore, we need to strengthen our ability to dissuade it from aggression. Despite the shrill reaction he provoked from Beijing, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was right to publicly warn in June that China's defense buildup was an "area of concern" for its neighbors. That warning needs to be repeated--and backed up with action. Asian democracies need to increase their military spending while extending explicit defense commitments to block potential Chinese aggression.

The studied ambiguity cultivated by the United States over the fate of Taiwan since the opening to the mainland in the 1970s was potentially dangerous. It might have risked a repeat of Secretary of State Dean Acheson's blunder in January 1950 when he did not include South Korea in the U.S. "defensive perimeter," thereby inviting Communist aggression six months later. President Bush has, therefore, been right to bluntly declare that "our nation will help Taiwan defend itself," and Japan has been right to make slightly more explicit its own commitment to Taiwan's defense. It would be useful if China's other neighbors--states like South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, the Philippines, perhaps even Vietnam--were to make similar commitments. That would do much to keep the peace in East Asia, and it should be an aim of U.S. diplomacy.

More broadly, the United States should strive to create, if possible, an Asian analogue to NATO. The Bush administration is right to deepen U.S. links with old allies like Japan and Australia and to establish closer ties to newer allies like India and Singapore. That process needs to continue, especially in firming up the nascent U.S.-India entente. But it would be good, if possible, to move from bilateral relations to a regional defense framework so that states in the region would work closely not only with the United States but also with one another. [...]

BEYOND CONTAINMENT, deterrence, and economic integration lies a strategy that the British never employed against either Germany or Japan--internal subversion. Sorry, the polite euphemisms are "democracy promotion" and "human rights protection," but these amount to the same thing: The freer China becomes, the less power the Communist oligarchy will enjoy.

The United States should aim to "Taiwanize" the mainland--to spread democracy through such steps as increased radio broadcasts and Internet postings.

Kind of odd the way the headline and subhead suggest the PRC is neoconservative.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 30, 2005 5:20 PM

Subversion? More like liberating a hostage.

Posted by: Luciferous at November 30, 2005 6:05 PM

Religious freedom shoud be a firm precondition for joining the community of civilized nations, with serious sanctions for those which insist on following the path of Boxerism.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 1, 2005 11:05 AM