OPINION: Beware of Greeks needing gifts.

China’s vow to help the EU is not just business. It is also imperialism.

I’ve been observing more and more in recent months how any contrarian or strongly anti-Establishment opinion is ‘rhetoric’, and all harshly-worded criticisms of our mendaciously incompetent leaders are ‘rants’. On the same basis, Vince Cable is getting it in the neck again from most quarters of the Elite for his ‘banker-bashing’, as if it might be a form of gutter racism; while those of us who can add up and reject blather are dubbed ‘doomsayers’. And of course, anyone suggesting that there is a clear EU intention to hide the degree of  bank exposure to Clubmed radioactivity is a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

For years – since Bill Clinton’s election in fact – this so-called ‘framing’ has been a fundamental building block of all anti-Opposition spin. The idea, in a nutshell, is to force-fit genuine foresight into a frame, whose canvas is called something reprehensible – right-wing, reactionary, Commie or even mad. This is only a slight dilution of the ultimate method used by the USSR for decades: the placing of dissidents into mental asylums. (One of Alistair Campbell’s favourite smears was ‘has a history of mental illness’ – which, coming from him, was rich indeed.)

So it has proved with The Slog’s monitoring of Chinese geographical expansionism over the last five years. I am (says Liberal Conspiracy) ‘a sinophobe’. Given a long family and personal association with the Chinese community, this is utter nonsense, but then LC never seems to me to write or say anything other than utter nonsense. I have been and remain a huge admirer of the Chinese social culture, which has always seemed to me highly reminiscent of Jewish culture in terms of its mutuality and hard work ethic. The people of the CPR are proud of what they’ve achieved since the demise of Mao, and they have every right to be. But it’s important to understand that when I say ‘the Chinese’, I mean the politburo and its military, security and banking offshoots: that is, the Chinese Government. This is the same issue I have with most of the powerful in our contemporary world: they reflect in only a very few (if any) ways what the aspirations of their citizens and customers are.

The Chinese offer of ‘help’ to restore market faith in the EU can be viewed, supported and criticised in all kinds of ways. Philanthropy isn’t, however, involved: the Beijing regime knows only too well that, with a USA hopelessly mired in debt, the last thing it needs is for its other big export market to go belly-up. So at best, the offer is self-interested in nature. We should also bear in mind that the offer to Greece and Portugal (probably the two weakest PIIGS) is a perfect extension of Chinese foreign policy on other continents: offers of huge investment followed by the arrival of thousands of technicians, engineers, urban planners and so forth….culminating in tighter and tighter control of at least one form of vital raw material. (In South Africa, this is gold; further north it is oil). Indeed, it is itself a broader offer of help to follow those ad hoc approaches made recently to Portugal and Greece.

I’ve posted before about China’s coming conflict with Islam in Africa. And a million bloggers and journalists throughout the world have condemned what is, by far, the most ruthlessly repressive regime on the planet. Only last weekend I pointed out how the British elite has not a clue as to China’s intentions; but a Chinese Mediterranean presence gives the country the excuse it needs for naval manoeuvres there. In the currency sector, the Beijing Government has used its strength both to fire shots across America’s bow, and sabotage Japan’s export effort. You would need to be afflicted with very short sight indeed to see contemporary China as a benign super-power.

The EU already has a huge trade imbalance with the CPR. The CPR has normalised its relations with India and concluded extensive trade deals there too. The US is kept afloat by Chinese debt patience. And Australia depends almost entirely on China continuing to import its mined raw materials. Even if you’re myopic enough to see Chinese expansionism as benign, you’d have to be almost blind not to spot that it holds most of the high cards when it comes to global mercantilism.

“And your point is…?” tends to be the response I get when banging on about this. Well, my point is simple: when it come to geopolitics, there never was a debt in history that didn’t wind up getting called in eventually. With financial weakness comes vulnerability to threats. With raw material strength comes the ability to make threats – just look at Russia over the last four years.

In the West, any form of loyalty to the State was dismissed as laughable by the financial and business community years ago. Had much of  it retained such feelings, QE would not have been a hopeless failure, and US multinationals would not be sitting on a hoard of cash. To paraphrase John Lennon, if we’re not careful, Chinese dominance is what will happen to us while we’re busy making other plans.

Alongside all this is a gradual shifting of the balance of power between the State and Commerce. I hope to post about this tomorrow.


Related posts: Chinese help for Zuma, China and the currency wars.