You can take it all the way to the bank, ...

Friday, March 24, 2006

... but you won't be laughing when you do.

Just on the heels of the Dubai Ports World brouhaha, we have news that a firm from Hong Kong (meaning an arm of the Chinese government) has been awarded a contract to -- get this -- scan oceangoing cargo from the Bahamas to the United States for nuclear materials!

I'm not quite ready to predict whether this particular instance of relying on a foreign power to protect our international borders will result in the same high dudgeon that the aborted Dubai Ports World deal did. (But I do lean towards forecasting a deafening yawn on the part of our yammering classes. Thanks for asking.)

What I will predict is this. Even if some of our politicians raise Cain over this, no one will say a peep about the fact that our reliance on China to "prevent" terrorist states from acquiring nukes in the first place is a big part of why we are having to scan cargo for nukes now.

While we're on the subject, let's take a quick gander at China's track record on the bigger issue of nonproliferation.

First, China hasn't been much help in getting those six-party talks going. Oh? Haven't heard of them? They're supposed to buy time for North Korea to build -- I mean prevent Kim Jong "Mentally" Il from getting the bomb, but peacefully. (We wouldn't want to seem pushy or anything, would we?) It seems the talks have been "stalled" since November. Just last July, I blogged that, "It took only a year and a month to beg North Korea to return to the table to discuss putting aside its nuclear ambitions!" That means that the talks either went on for four months (in which case they were remarkably unproductive, even by diplomatic standards), or they essentially "stalled" for four more!

But I digress. To give you an idea of just how helpful China, which borders North Korea and so has a vested interest in not getting nuked itself (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), we once asked China to pressure North Korea back to the negotiating table by cutting off its oil supply. The Chi-Comms refused, choosing the momentary safety of their pipeline over the long-term safety of their comrades. At best.

Nevertheless, the South Korean government, whose capitol really is in the bull's eye, is apparently at least as delusional as ours. In the face of the remarkable progress achieved in getting the six-party talks going and China's significant credit for same, here's what one South Korean official had to say.

"I don't know what kind of cooperation the North wants," [Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon] said. "But if it is related with its nuclear weapons programs, the six-party talks are the right framework, the place where it already declared giving up its weapons programs in return for corresponding measures."
I'll tell you what kind of cooperation they want: Exactly the kind you're giving them by not bombing them back to the stone age -- unless you give up more at an occasional six-party appeasement fest, in which case they'll accept the "diplomatic solution". In fact, a news outlet from his own country (which is obviously also available in America) notes that:
Describing North Korea as a state that is "out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," an unnamed spokesman of the North's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the United States should cooperate with Pyongyang in nuclear issues instead of obstinately demanding Pyongyang's unilateral denuclearization.
And as for China's contribution to heading off the crisis in Iran, the following quote, in this context, says it all.
A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Qin Gang, said President Hu Jintao and Putin discussed Iran during Putin's two-day visit.

"China and Russia exchanged views and both sides agreed the Iran nuclear issue should be resolved through diplomatic means," Qin told reporters.

Hu and Putin agreed that "all the related parties should display flexibility and patience," Qin added. "China supports Russia's active efforts to appropriately resolve the Iran nuclear issue."
Flexibility? Like Iran being willing to develop sooner if we listen to some idiot at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and just hand over the uranium? Like America simply allowing a terrorist state to develop the bomb? And patience? Do I really need to say anything here?

But what, if anything, will our politicians say about China in the next few days? That a company from Hong Kong shouldn't be in charge of checking for nukes in cargo from the Bahamas.

Someone please prove me wrong.

-- CAV

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