Robert Mayer was extremely kind in hunting down this excellent piece by Willy Lam of the Jamestown Foundation "Beijing's Alarm Over New 'US Encirclement Conspiracy'" reprinted in UCLA's Asia Media.
It would appear to confirm the Dawn's Early Light predictions about the US foreign policy objective of containing China along with India and Japan.
Mr. Lam writes:
"One of Beijing's worst nightmares seems to be coming true. Having apparently steadied the course in the Middle East, the Bush administration is turning to Asia to tame its long-standing 'strategic competitor.' While this particular term has been shelved since 9/11 – and Sino-U.S. relations have improved thanks to China's cooperation with Washington's global anti-terrorist campaign – there are signs at least from Beijing's perspective that Washington is spearheading multi-pronged tactics to contain the fast-rising Asian giant."
As the US makes significant advances in the Greater War on Terror (GWoT), the US foreign policy focus will shift towards creating a democratic China. A democratic China would significantly benefit the United States regarding North Korea, economic issues, human rights issues and the growing issue of Taiwan independence.
Mr. Lam backs up that the Chinese view themselves as being constrained:
"In the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership, the new doctrine of encirclement and containment was spelled out during a visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Tokyo, part of a recent tour through Asia. Echoing President Bush's State of the Union address [DEL: post on Bush text here, relation to the region here], which pushed a foreign policy predicated upon 'spreading democracy,' Rice noted in a speech at Sophia University that 'even China must eventually embrace some form of open, genuinely representative government.' And she dropped hints that the U.S. would somehow bring about a democratic China through joint actions with its Asian allies. 'I really do believe the U.S.-Japan relationship [DEL: here, here and here], the U.S.-South Korea relationship, the U.S.-India relationship [DEL: here, here and here] – all are important in creating an environment where China is more likely to play a positive role than a negative role,' she added.
"It didn't help that Rice saluted in her Sophia speech the father of the anti-Soviet containment policy George Kennan – who had just passed away – as one of the 'great architects of American foreign policy.' [DEL: See Rice comments here] Kennan had written in a celebrated 1947 Foreign Affairs piece that 'the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.' The Chinese must be very nervous about the possibility that Rice – and Bush – will simply substitute PRC for USSR. After all, it was Rice who coined the phrase 'strategic competitor' in a 2000 Foreign Affairs [DEL: see page 4] article about the need to adequately take on a fast-emerging China. 'It is important to promote China's internal transition through economic interaction while containing Chinese power and security ambitions,' she wrote."
It is important to remember Sec. of State Rice's background. She was a Soviet expert. Her academic understanding of the success of the US containment policy is second to none probably in the Bush Administration. While one can argue that China is not the Soviet Union, as Simon's World has, I believe the pattern of US foreign policy intentions is increasingly clear.
"The U.S.-Japan statement referred to the looming threat of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and, most irksome for Beijing, it cited for the first time the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan Strait as a 'common strategic objective' of the allies [DEL: covers quote here]. '[The] meeting may mark the end of the extended Beijing-Washington honeymoon which came about because of 9/11,' the source said. 'Even now, of course, Washington requires Chinese help or acquiescence in its dealings with countries, including Iran and North Korea. But Bush seems to have picked up his pre-9/11 agenda of containing China, or at least slowing down its progress toward quasi-superpower status.' And the Chinese are well aware that Rice, who had advised President George H.W. Bush on ways to sink the Soviet Empire, was instrumental in shaping then-presidential candidate Bush's relatively hostile posture toward China."
Another great contribution Mr. Lam makes to the discussion that I have not addressed is Kyrgyzstan, which shares almost 700 miles of border with China. Kyrgyzstan is extremely well covered by PuliusPundit (click here for all links).
The Chinese view is that the American containment policy will fail. I have left off South Korea from the analysis because I believe the government would not be an active player. It is already quite passive, in my opinion, in its diplomacy with North Korea, a clear and present danger to the South. However I do believe that Australia would be a natural US ally in the containment strategy, as I have commented prior.
The counter-argument on a US-India and US-Australia alliance is also addressed:
"New Delhi-based People's Daily journalist Ren Yan indicated that 'India will not blindly follow the lead of the U.S.' because the strategic partnership that Washington wanted to forge with the South Asian country was 'centered on American interests.' One purpose of Premier Wen Jiabao's trip to India this month is to consolidate China-Indian cooperation through means including resolving the decades-old border dispute between the two countries. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Beijing was keen to push Sino-Indian relations to a 'new high.' Analysts said despite the suspicion between the two neighbors – as well as Beijing's warm ties with Islamabad – the CCP leadership is confident that dramatic improvement in ties with India the past few years would at least persuade New Delhi not to become a pawn in America's anti-China machinations.
"Indeed, Beijing is upbeat that China's fast-expanding global clout – and especially the vast China market – has better enabled the country to drive a wedge between the U.S. and quite a few of its traditional allies. Take Australia, which was one of the staunchest supporters of Washington's war against Iraq. Earlier this year, Prime Minister John Howard made it clear that Canberra would not join in the U.S. effort to lobby the European Union to persevere with its embargo on arms exports to China. And last summer, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer indicated that despite the Australia-U.S. joint defense agreement, Canberra could remain neutral if American forces were involved in a war over the Taiwan Strait. Immediately afterward, Singapore, another close friend of the U.S., made known a similar stance of neutrality regarding a possible U.S.-China military conflict over Taiwan."
Mr. Lam concludes:
"Indeed, another unfortunate result of growing tension between Beijing and Washington is that Sino-Japanese relations are fast heading toward a vicious cycle. Given the intensification of the U.S.-Japanese military alliance – as well as joint U.S.-Japan efforts to persuade Brussels to hold on to its anti-China arms embargo – Beijing is close to giving up hope that it could turn around worsening China-Japan ties in the foreseeable future."
It is truly an excellent piece and lays out the arguments much better than this blog has done. A new diplomatic struggle is being played on in Greater East Asia. Hopefully it will not be a "vicious cycle". Nevertheless, US and Chinese foreign policy goals are moving in opposite directions, and either a change in the Chinese government or a humbled America will be required to change it.
Update: The Washington Post carries a Robert Burns AP story today "Rumsfeld Reassured on U.S. Base in Kyrgyzstan": "The acting prime minister, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, discussed the base and other issues with Rumsfeld during a brief stop before Rumsfeld returned to Washington. 'The Kyrgyz republic will comply with all international agreements,' including those with the United States, Bakiyev said during a joint news conference with Rumsfeld."
I imagine Sec. Def. Rumsfeld has more than just the GWoT on his mind in securing the base for future US use.