Friday, March 17, 2006

Beacon No. 82: Secretary Rice Plays Winston Churchill


There’s a parallel universe—maybe Harry Turtledove will get around to writing about it—in which Winston Churchill spent the 1930s warning Britain’s allies about an expansionist Japan, rather than the menacing Germany that consumed his attention in our universe.

We’re not in that parallel universe, but Secretary Rice is playing a Churchillian role on her current trip around Asia and the Pacific. To hear Steven R. Weisman write about it in “Rice and Australian Counterpart Differ About China,” the Secretary of State is spending her time warning America’s allies, not against an expansionist Japan, but against the supposedly sinister intentions of Beijing. And she is being politely ignored by nations that don’t want to risk irking the region’s new giant, the same way that Churchill was in the run-up to Germany’s invasion of Poland.

Secretary Rice has some valid points about China: It is spending heavily to modernize its military. It has locked up access to needed resources around the Pacific Rim and beyond for decades into the future. It continues to oppress its people and anchors its foreign policy in reining in the “renegade province” of Taiwan.

But she is having difficulty being heard by Asian governments that either fear China’s wrath or prefer to drown out the Secretary’s voice with the sound of money that pours forth from Beijing’s coffers. Even Australia, usually one of the most reliable allies of the U.S., is asking the Bush administration to please pipe down:

Before Ms. Rice arrived, [Australian foreign minister Alexander] Downer told Sky News: "We don't support a policy of containment of China. I don't think that's going to be a productive or constructive policy at all." His comments were described in the Australian press as an effort to assuage China's concerns about American-Australian policies.

To go back to the 1940s analogy once more: Many Japanese believed—and may still believe—that Pearl Harbor was not the beginning of the Second World War, but that U.S. attempts to isolate it internationally and cut off flows of fuel, metals and other resources were aggressive acts by the U.S.

This same complex scenario is playing out with the People’s Republic today, except that China is making great efforts to secure its standing with suppliers and other allies in order to head off direct confrontation with the U.S. Beijing recognizes that a war would be bad for business and prefers to simply preempt Washington by demonstrating to everyone what a great deal it is to be in China’s corner.


James Fletcher Baxter said...

The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV


James Fletcher Baxter said...
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