Thursday, April 06, 2006

We Can't Have That, Can We?

I know I'm rather tardy with this, but it's been an über-busy week -- and besides, the dog ate my homework.

A BBC story from Monday was headlined, "Chinese influence in Brazil worries US." The nature of this insidious, Yellow Peril influence?
While the United States has been fighting its war on terror, a new political idea has begun to punch through with such weight that alarm bells have begun ringing loudly in Washington.

Under the slogan of "peaceful rising", China is selling itself to the developing world as an alternative model for ending poverty.

The pitch is now winning an audience in Latin America, and Washington is despatching the assistant secretary of state responsible for the region, Thomas Shannon, to Beijing to find out what is going on.

His aim is to negotiate the precise line which China must not cross in creating its new strategic alliance with Latin America, which has seen billions of dollars of Chinese money earmarked for infrastructure, transport, energy and defence projects there.

"We want to make sure we don't get our wires crossed," said one official arranging the talks.

The spectre of an encroaching China is made worse by a string of elections which has produced populist and US-sceptic, left-wing leaders. During the Cold War they would probably never have survived in office.
Wow. Any Americans still in doubt about whether they are "citizens" of an empire or not?

Imagine that. Those damnable Chinks have some nerve -- suggesting to the "developing world" that there might be an "alternative" model for ending poverty. This reads like something that might have run in the Soviet press back in the late 1940s. "Stalin Criticizes Tito's Proposal of 'New Way' of Building Socialism."

A string of elections, producing populist and US-skeptic, left-wing leaders? Why, that's not duh-mocracy! It's gotta be them sly, zipper-eyed Orientals what's doin' it, misleadin' them poor stupid third-world shanty-dwellers into thinkin' there's a better way. You-Ess-Ay! You-Ess-Ay! You-Ess-Ay! If those swarthy Brazilians don't straighten up and fly right, we just might need to give 'em a little whiff of shock 'n' awe. You know, just to help 'em along a little.


Craig said...

China and Brazil are interesting to compare. South American democracies have never been the most stable form of government in this hemisphere. The military tends to get involved a lot.

China on the other hand is pretty stable politically, and once again the military is deeply involved in that stability.

Not sure what that has to do with your post, but that's what I was thinking about.

Bartleby said...

That's an interesting comparison. I suppose I'd expect China to be relatively stable because it's so very old, relative to anything in the western hemisphere; and maybe also because their main religious traditions probably feed into stability much more than into optimizing things ... not especially revolution-friendly.

Grace said...

I think it was one of those Modern Marvel programs on The History Channel....anyway, they were highlighting the construction of a new container shipping port on the west coast of South America. A beautiful port too, completely funded by the Chinese. The construction created an economic boom in the area, and the Chinese were creating new markets for selling their goods.

How clever.