Just Another Day

"Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's day to day living that wears you out." - Chekhov

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Putting the Pieces Together

Yesterday, I noted a Guardian piece on the Bush administration's desire to cast off the old treaty regarding space-based weapons systems (as opposed to ground- or air-based with which we have experimented for 30 years or more). This would allow the US to take out other countries' spy satellites if needed. Now, how many countries actually have spy satellites? My quick research suggests about 5 that could be considered less than friendly, but not necessarily enemies. I believe the UAE is one of those and it could be argued that their government may be interested in suplying surveillance data to organizations such as Al Qaeda or insurgent groups in Afghanistan or Iraq. This is not a dubious assertion given internal struggles in UAE and sympathies with AQ among many in the population, if not the government. However, there is a larger potential devil out there: China.

Yesterday, I said this activity makes one wonder where the Bush administration could be going with it. Looking at other actions and words of this administration could possibly pinpoint the target.

When the administration came into power in 2001, it stated that China should be perceived as a strategic competitor on the world stage. Not a bad supposition given: its authoritarian tendencies; its lackadaisical approach to human rights; its desire to expand its influence worldwide; its use of its most abundant resource, people, to economically compete (unfairly?) with other countries and drive all industrial production to its soil; its lack of concern for the environment; its desire to rule the South China Sea for potential oil resources despite clearly extending its territorial claims on debious grounds; and, an old roommate who said that wherever the Chinese have been throughout history should be considered part of China (yes, she was serious, and included places like Japan, Korea, SE Asia, Central Asia, etc. - who knows maybe even Ukraine since the Mongols were here at one point).

Consider other factors.
  • Could we have gone into Iraq to secure the supply away from the Chinese, i.e., might Hussein's regime have been interested in sending its supplies there? Or, could a deal have been/be in the making betwen Iran and China and this administration wanted to make sure if Iran went that way that Iraq did not?
  • With India closely tied to us, its enmity with Pakistan which China had used successfully to pull Pakistan closer, perhaps the war in Afghanistan served to help us gain more influence in Pakistan and pull them out of China's sphere. This would explain why we did not accept the Taliban's offer to hand over OBL and his henchmen and why Bush so quickly went back on his 2000 campaign word about nation building. It would explain our interet in befriending less than democratic allies in Central Asia.
  • In 2001, a US spy plane was brought down near China's coast and the crew was held prisoner at a Chinese military base while Bush had to apologize profusely and the Chinese spent the time scouring the technology on board.
  • There is a massive US budget deficit that has been assisted by China's purchase of debt from the US. While China is interested in this as a way to ensure a market for the production it currently has or is currently building, they could easily use this to influence US policy in places like Taiwan and North Korea by threatening a sell off if we don't play ball their way.
  • W's administration is interested in busting treaties and pushing ahead with new nuclear military technology.

All of this seems to point things toward China. At the very least, it indicates that thes people cannot think about a fight against someone like AQ but only nation states, as I pointed out yesterday. But, who are those nation states that could pose such a military a/o economic a/o geopolitical threat in the future that we need to risk breaking nuclear proliferation and space-based weapons programs, and bring horrid dictatorships into our circle of 'friends?' China might also provide a reason for the war in Iraq given that all other excuses for this seeming stupidity have fallen apart.