Every nation has them, the United States more than most. Devils, that is. We’ve financed dictators when they seem pro-American, even if their people pay with repression, secret police and torture – it was the American way for decades in Latin America Remember when we financed Manuel Noriega (the Panamanian dictator who now sits in a maximum security federal penitentiary for protecting drug cartels) and even Saddam Hussein, whose country we invaded to depose him? Perhaps you can recall the huge sums of CIA money funneled through the Pakistani intelligence agency to support the mujahedeen “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan to undermine their Soviet forces there? Today we call them Taliban and al Qaeda, and they are killing us now; we politely call that “blow back.”
So we’ve done lots of nasty stuff to insure oil flows into global tanks, natural resources flow to us and guarantee that the foodstuffs and raw material that have driven the American machine for so long continue to move and that we have unquestioned access to the most vital lanes of international traffic – like Noriega’s Panama Canal. Our willingness to put our democratic and human rights principals aside in exchange for cheap access to vital imports, cooperation in the containment of a sworn enemy or even a lock-step vote with our position in the United Nations are legendary; it is much of the reason for the disdain of so many around the world.
We’re getting better at this malignant practice, and even to those “pragmatists” who think we can do “whatever” in the name of America business and political interests, it is becoming apparent that our constant involvement in global strife and that negative “attention” we have drawn from so many populist new nations (which impacts our access to natural resources, etc.) may actually have cost us in cold hard cash much more than had we not been so callously “pragmatic.” So I was wondering; how does the new superpower on the block, China, make deals with its “devils,” and more importantly, how are those “deals” going to impact the United States?
China, a country that claims to have been built to serve the grassroots masses, plunged into deals with murderous despots and de facto warlords as it made deal for oils in nasty places like the Sudan and Nigeria. As the rest of the world gathered to generate a consensus on harsh economic sanctions on a defiant Iran, seemingly hell-bent on generating a full nuclear capacity (peaceful and most think military), with a clear need for support from the Peoples Republic of China (as a member of the UN Security Council and simply as a global power without whose support sanctions would be meaningless anyway), China had already become Iran’s largest trading partner. According to the October 26th Fortune Magazine (page 90), 14% of imported Chinese oil comes from Iran.
Was Fortune points out: “What does Iran get besides money? China… supplies it with much-needed gasoline [while Iran has lots of oil, it lack sufficient refining capacity to meet its internal needs for gasoline] and weapons.” What was China’s official response when Western powers called on China to join them in increasing the trade sanctions against Iran because of the latter’s refusal to cooperate with international inspectors and after a secret Iranian nuclear processing facility was recently discovered? “Sanctions and pressures are not the way out,” according to PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu. China pressed for more talks and may live with watered-down sanctions of little relevance to pressuring Iran. China might accept a ban on going-forward deals, but it is highly unlikely that it would accept the elimination of existing agreements.
And what can the United States do about it? Not much, since China holds trillions of dollars in currency reserve (mostly from buying American deficit debt, but much from a huge trade surplus because Americans have imported so many Chinese manufactures). Our tariff threat over cheap Chinese tires is a tiny micro-dot of a gesture against Chinese economic policies, and the U.S. is pretty much hamstrung by its own borrowings at mounting much more. Let’s put this another way: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was supremely confident as he addressed the United Nations this past September. He was calm and when asked what he thought of the impending threat of sanctions, he just smiled and said he “welcomed” them. He is obviously a devil who knows. Kind of uncomfortable when your shoe’s on someone else’s foot, isn’t it?
I’m Peter Dekom, and I approve this message.