On Thursday, Admiral Timothy Keating urged the Chinese not to break off military ties with the United States. “We regret their so doing, we hope they will reconsider soon,” the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said. “I’m sorry it happened.”
I’m not. Following the Bush administration’s October 3 decision to sell a stripped-down package of arms to Taiwan, Beijing threw a hissy fit. As a part of their response, the Chinese pulled out of a disaster-relief exchange, cancelled a visit by one of their generals to the United States, “indefinitely” postponed meetings on stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and halted port calls by the Navy in China.
And we should be upset? The Pentagon reveals our capabilities and technology and receives little in return through its program of regular contact with China. So if Beijing wants to cancel the exchanges, we should shrug our shoulders, leave the Chinese a phone number, and tell them to call when they’re in a better mood. Someone should remind the generals and admirals of the People’s Liberation Army that they need us more than we need them. In fact, we don’t them at all. All we need to do is to protect our own people and allies.
Of course, the Bush White House does not agree and feels it has to ask the Chinese to do something more in their interest than ours. That’s because it has a fundamentally incorrect view of global politics in general and China in particular. It’s time our leaders perceive the world more clearly and not beg the temper-tantrum-throwing Chinese.