Friday, May 13, 2005

Chinese Diplomacy Flowers Mature into Fruit

A real person has two reasons for doing anything ... a good reason and the real reason.

Watching the unfolding disaster in the Bolton hearings in the Senate, one is impressed by the level of denial and or childish stubborness of our ruler, Bush. It is obvious to any sane observers that Mr. Bolton, a man now accused of cruelty to his first wife, a man shown clearly to be irritable and childish and impossible to deal with, uncompromising and self centered yet this totally inappropriate man will represent America in the UN.

During the run up to our illegal invasion of Iraq which is literally blowing up in our faces and bankrupting us, our allies in the UN discovered the USA was bugging their private phones and offices which is totally against the accords of the organization, this was a real black eye which Americans dealt with by ignoring it. All we do is attack the UN and talk about morals and corruption even as our own government is viewed, rationally, by nearly everyone as a thoroughly corrupted system...just what we need now.

A really ugly American!

When China chose Wen and Hu as joint leaders people expected them to have a power struggle and one emerge triumphant. I had my doubts because these two men are part of a group of incredibly opened minded people trained to think differently back in the 1980s. They are curious and extremely intelligent and spend a great deal of energy studying their quarry. They seem to play well together and both are secure enough to go simultaneously on very important trips abroad and both come home with the goodies each time. This concord is in contrast to Russia or England or America, for example. True, Bush and Condi make many a trip now only both seem equally inept and trip up more than they trip out. Both come home empty handed. What a contrast.

China Says U.S. Impeded North Korea Arms Talk

This is the NYT headlines today. The Chinese are so sick and tired of the unending wails coming out of DC that they have personally decided to tell Bush what I tell him: calling people names and then demanding they negotiate with you doesn't work. Period. You call people names when you plan to go to war with them. Oh, and by the way, watch your tongue. We are feeling touchy.

A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday accused the Bush administration of undermining efforts to revive negotiations with the North Korean government and said there was "no solid evidence" that North Korea was preparing to test a nuclear weapon.

The comments by Yang Xiyu, a senior Foreign Ministry official and China's top official on the North Korean nuclear problem, were noteworthy because the Chinese authorities very rarely speak to journalists about the issue. The comments reflect growing frustration in Beijing with the Bush administration.

Even as the White House presses China to find a solution to the nuclear issue, Chinese officials say, it has hurled insults at North Korea and given its leaders excuses to stay away from the bargaining table.

Believe it or not, the Chinese diplomatic corps as well as the leaders all read and speak excellent English. This I know for I taught some of them. And they are voracious readers. So they read all the stuff churning out of our country and are quite aware of Bolton's personality problems. They don't want to deal with him. They like being treated nicely and they love the diplomatic courtesies and note how they play this game like pros!

The carrot/stick business with Taiwan continues. Now the Chinese are proposing building a tunnel like the Chunnel in Europe. The French and English are happy about this news. They are, right now, the world experts on this sort of enterprise.

They are even showing sophistication concerning opening negotiations with Taiwan concerning reunification.

Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed new diplomatic language Thursday aimed at ending the decades-old state of hostilities between China and Taiwan, in a rare but tentative concession by a Communist leader on one of the most sensitive issues in Chinese politics.

In a joint communique issued after a two-hour meeting in the cavernous Great Hall of the People, Hu and James Soong, a Taiwanese opposition leader, endorsed a new formulation of the mainland government's long-standing position that cross-strait talks can begin only after Taiwan acknowledges it is part of "one China." Under the new language, Hu effectively agreed to open talks if Taiwan accepted the principle of "two shores, one China" while acknowledging that the two sides might differ on precisely what that term meant.

The disputes over wording may appear arcane and trivial to outsiders, but the governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait regard them with utmost seriousness and sometimes threaten to go to war over them. At stake in these battles over nouns and adjectives is the definition of the Chinese nation itself, with the mainland defending its claim that Taiwan is part of China and the self-governing island territory struggling to present itself as an independent, sovereign country.

The deliberate ambiguity of the new wording could allow Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian, to claim that "one China" refers to the Republic of China -- the formal name of the government in Taipei -- or even to a loose federation of the mainland and Taiwan.

All good diplomacy is full of ambiguities and finessing of words and careful language. Words are both landmines and precious gold. To be handled with greatest care. This stands in stark contrast with American attempts at diplomacy which mainly seems to be ultimatums, back stabbing wherein one says something nice to Putin's face then immediately goes behind his back and attacks him and of course blunt language on a level slightly lower than two children in grade school squabbling over a ball vis a vis North Korea.

One sign of our internal decay is this inability to do elegant or even adequet diplomacy. We are like a man who gets thoroughly drunk in order to attend an afternoon tet a tet tea party. As we crash around, bellowing, breaking the china, we think, "Boy, aren't we tough! Bring em on!"

The Iraqis brought it on. Soon, others will too.

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