Monday, February 24, 2003
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SILLY FINANCIAL TIMES: This FT
SILLY FINANCIAL TIMES: This FT story on the emergence of realpolitik in China's foreign policy is so ahistorical that it just looks silly. The key thesis:
"The restraint that has characterised China's response to the crises in Iraq and North Korea demonstrates a fundamental shift in the way that Beijing pursues its foreign policy, Chinese academics and foreign diplomats said.
As Colin Powell, US secretary of state, holds talks with Chinese leaders today, the importance of Beijing's new-found pragmatism may be on display. Chinese leaders are not expected to stand in the way of Washington's desire to attack Iraq, nor are the two sides likely to hit an impasse over North Korea, analysts said....
'China now publicly tells the world that our foreign policy serves our interests,' says Yan Xuetong, director of the institute of international studies at Tsinghua University."
China's acting in its own interests? Stop the presses!! The unstated implication -- that in recent years China has not acted to advance its own interests -- is ridiculous.
What's dangerous is that this article completely ignores an alternative explanation for China's inaction on both Iraq and North Korea -- a struggle for leadership at the top (UPDATE: Sam Crane makes the same point even more concisely in this LA Times op-ed). The North Korea crisis has been percolating for almost six months now, and the principal Chinese reaction has been to insist it will do nothing.
This might be pragmatism in the form of buckpassing. Or it might be a sign of paralysis. You'd never know from the FT.posted by Dan on 02.24.03 at 09:10 AM