Wednesday, May 27, 2009

America appeals to China to help stabilize Pakistan: My Views

I posted the same article in that Asian American group and I can't remember if I mentioned it there already, but at first, I had the same perspective as you:

//Also, this may end up being played against the PRC later, as many American will forget that it was the Obama admin along with Pakistani officials themselves that requested help, and they'll think that the PRC is bullying its way into other countries' business. More Sinophobia could follow along with feelings of rivalry.

What do you think of this? Sino-American world police? Chimerican hegemony?// ~Myself

I was thinking that this would be seen as Chinese power projection.

However, I've rethought my position on this matter. You see, China's neighbours don't by into the the "neutral state"/"soft power" image China wants anyway. 

One of the main problems is Taiwan. You see, the most significant states around China: ROC, Japan, South Korea, India, etc, see the PRC as an aggressor state against the ROC. The CCP actually does not have as much control over that as much as the others would think, as Taiwan is symbolic of territorial sovereignty and integrity of the whole of China, and it is used to threaten other regions as well (considering that missiles in range of Taiwan, are well within range of wealthy provinces at risk of going rogue; so even in the event of Chinese unification, the missiles are unlikely to go away IMO). I know you understand that Qiu, because you've mentioned before that the ROC gov't too, has strategies for controlling its population like keeping most of its weapons/power in Taipei. Just like how the US also has its own more subtle tactics for controlling its population. We can understand this, but do you think everyone sees it this way? Even though Taiwan is a special case, it damages the "soft power" image. 

Also, the US military needs the PRC as a visible and formidable "aggressive opponent" for the US for it to justify its budget. That's why you'll hear a lot of "unnamed former US officials" suggesting that cyberattacks *could have* originated from China. And the media exaggerating tiny Chinese fishing ships "bullying" large US naval vessels. Like the Chinese gov't, our own has a lot to gain by exaggerating its "enemies".

Before reading a lot more into the PRC's history and its current position, and paying close attention to both its actions and media, I too had a hard time understanding a lot of its behaviour, and would not have come close to the conclusion you do with it being a "neutral state" with a "spotless reputation". I would have laughed. Even now, it's hardly agreeable to me.

So now that I think about it the PRC has little to lose by projecting its power in a *positive* way, somehow. It's reputation is may be fine to many, but for those who *matter* like the USA, Japan, Korea, ROC, India, etc, it's reputation is piss poor and its history is chaotic and paranoid (albeit, they had their reasons for being paranoid). Currently, it only appears incredibly selfish to many (the many who *matter*, not weak and oppressed African states who couldn't hold a candle even to a single US state.)

The main worries should be:
- hurting Pakistani pride if they take too strong of a role. The article suggests that that may be important to the Chinese, in a cultural way: //"The Chinese may try to deal with this privately," she said. "They won't want to make any public statements that might embarrass the Pakistanis."// ~LA Times
- negative propaganda against them with regards to power projections in South Asia, potentially coming from multiple fronts: USA, India, Japan, Taliban, Al Qaeda, etc. Chinese propaganda is complete shit internationally and barely holds even with mainland Chinese, and even they are skeptics. Also for their size, their PR lobby in Washington is shit.
- attracting too much attention from Taliban, which could turn their attention to Xinjiang, Chinese energy province, at a time when they've invested a lot into energy research and development. Those windmills, for example, are easy targets.

Those kinds of issues. However, Pakistan is a historic ally to them, and a destabilized Pakistan would be bad for all of South Asia. I do hope something gets done, not necessarily by the Chinese though. I do think that if Washington request an even greater role in Pakistan from them (in supplying and training), it may be effective, as I mentioned in that other thread where I posted your article:
//U.S. officials believe China is skilled at counterinsurgency, a holdover of the knowledge gained during the country's lengthy civil war that ended with a communist victory in 1949.// ~LA Times

//And I don't think it's just because of the civil war, but because of the PRC's authoritarian methods of dealing with even the possibility of insurgency while simultaneously building on the economy (the CCP especially has the history and knows how easy it is to gather up a mob and win a "people's war" through winning the people's hearts [and innocence/ignorance], since that's what they did themselves to win control of China). Also, the PRC already has notable investments in Pakistan (notably the thousands of educated Chinese civilians, engineers/doctors/etc already there to help), and it has the financial means even in this economic crisis.// ~Myself

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