US and China: Father knows best for the 21st century

Nag, nag, nag, nag, nag:

Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick bluntly warned China last night that it must begin to take concrete steps to address what he called a "a cauldron of anxiety" in the United States and other parts of the world about Chinese intentions.

The WaPo article conveniently lists, in bulleted format, the list of demands that Zoellick presented to China. They include an explanation of "defense spending, intentions, doctrine and military exercises". Perhaps if China replied that it was simply building up its military to conduct wars of aggression against weaker states and be in a position to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against parties it found dangerous, then Zoellick - as an official of a country doing both of these things - might be reassured.

Zoellick also demanded that China "not attempt to 'maneuver toward a predominance of power' in Asia by building separate alliances in Southeast Asia and other areas". One would usually think that "building alliances" with countries, especially those in your immediate neighborhood, are a normal aspect of diplomacy. Is Zoellick asking that China turn to the US for approval of its foreign affairs decisions? Maybe someone should inform Zoellick about the Monroe Doctrine, and whose idea that was.

It seems that Zoellick and others are happy to see China and its army of poorly paid and abused workers serve as the world's source of cheap consumer goods - but not so happy to see it actually function as a major world power. Still, I'm not convinced that adopting a "father knows best" philosophy is going to be very productive, especially when the "child" in this relationship holds the pursestrings and all the IOUs. But considering the smashing successes of the Bush administration's foreign policy so far, maybe they know something I don't.

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