Anybody noticing how many diplomatic victories China is racking up these days?
Somebody at China's foreign ministry must be getting promotions.
It's been one diplomatic victory after another for the Chinese, While most of the attention is focused on China's growing military might and technological success, the diplomatic front is racking up successes, too.
David Goldman had an interesting tweet:
Whoops! There went Brazil. Whoops! There went Honduras. Whoops! Here goes Malaysia. https://t.co/NZfJavjIGt— David P. Goldman (@davidpgoldman) March 30, 2023
The article references Malaysia's fairly new prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, reputedly a Western-friendly leader, calling for China to step up its One Belt, One Road development initiative, which is focused on high-value infrastructure investment in developing countries, in exhange for perfect payments on the loans. Miss those and the Chinese become the world's biggest repo men for these nations' ports, roads, railroads, dams et al., taking control of "their" property as many third world countries have learned to their dismay. While the times are good, the Chinese investments are great, but don't look to them for mercy if one's country gets into monetary or fiscal trouble in a bad economy. At that point, they effectively take a nation's sovereignty as "compensation." I wrote about this here, here, here, here, and here.
The bad press for this Chinese behavior ought to have sounded the death knell for the Belt and Road initiative, but that hasn't happened. Anwar is following the yellow brick road down in and calling for its expansion, almost as if he wanted China to take over more countries. That's disturbing indeed, given that it suggests a China alignment, not a U.S. alignment for Malaysia, a longtime reliable quiet ally.
It follows, as Goldman notes, the rather startling shift of Honduras from a democracy with close ties to Taiwan, to China. That's most likely based on the fairly new socialist government's search for a sugar daddy (like most of them in that region), drawing itself to Chinese One Belt, One Road investment, plus sticking it to gringo, the country that takes in their country's neediest as illegal migrants, paying for their health care, education, and other expenses, plus getting a lot of criminals off their hands. There also are the billions in migrant remittances. They're hopping onboard the China train and reorienting to China, despite having a coveted free trade pact with the U.S. Who needs to align with the U.S. when the U.S. is giving it away for free?
As for Brazil, they're playing a different long game with China -- focusing on their alliance with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and launching a new alternative currency system to replace the U.S. dollar as the benchmark unit of international trade. Bye, bye, Benjamins, it's all about trading in yuan now.
There's more, though, for China to notch on its lipstick case -- Iraq has created new ties with China over energy sales, and will in some transactions accept payment in Chinese yuan, not U.S. dollars.
In Afghanistan, Chinese ties in the wake of the disastrous U.S. pullout, couldn't be warmer.
There's also the Iran-Saudi Arabian peace deal, brokered by China, which makes China officially a peacemaker in the diplomatic community, the go-to nation for ending conflicts and giving each nation a piece of the spoils. That's a tremendous loss of influence for the U.S.
And worse still, there's the persistent coziness of China and Russia, which helps the former extend its war in Ukraine as Ukraine burns its army out and drains resources from the West. By coincidence, Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said that he will be willing to look into a China-brokered peace deal, even against U.S. recommendation. Why would Zelensky be willing to annoy the U.S. with this move? Seems he recognizes a paper tiger.
And it doesn't stop. All of these victories on the diplomatic front are happening swiftly, like a blitzkreig, except through diplomacy, not war. Where's Joe Biden on that one?
That curiously coincides with China's increasing military strength and technological successes on the space and military hardware front, while the U.S. is indisputably in military decline -- in recruitment, in materiel, in supply, and in technology. Right now, China's technology bests that of the U.S. on some fronts, and analysts say that China could actually beat the U.S. in a head-on military conflict.
Suddenly nations from all corners of the earth are moving towards China, despite its human rights record, and its record on bad debtors. Everyone likes a winner. One would think that the U.S. would notice this string of diplomatic succeesses, but this is the Biden administration. The Chinese reportedly meddled in U.S. elections to get Biden seated at the presidential chair. Might that mean that Biden was their biggest victory of them all?
Image: Public Domain Images // CC0 public domain