Condi Rice’s European debut as our second female Secretary of State provoked – at least amongst the media elite in Paris and London – a feeding-frenzy. She has become – and may well remain – a media darling.
[You may recall that our first female Secretary of State – Madeline Albright – was once mistaken for a maid by another visiting diplomat in a European hotel.]
But as far as accomplishing Dubya’s objectives, she appears to have been "all hat and no cattle," as they say in Texas.
Her most publicized objective was to sabotage the ongoing European-Iranian negotiations, which, if successful, could lead to Iran being provided firm guarantees of European "nuclear, technological and economic cooperation" as well as firm European "commitments on security issues."
These negotiations will also probably result in a EU-Iranian Trade and Cooperation Agreement and Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization.
The Europeans evidently believe that if they don’t soon establish normal cooperative economic relationships with Iran – which the US is currently preventing via the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 – China will, and they’ll be shut out.
And that European fear of being shut off from the Persian Gulf by China is related to Condi’s less publicized objective.
A European Union embargo on major arms sales to the People’s Republic of China was imposed in 1989 in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The European decision – which has been made in principle – to lift the arms embargo is viewed in some capitals to be a historic shift in global allegiances, with the EU choosing to cater to the national defense needs of looming superpower China, even at the expense of the US.
And why not? President Bush has – by bungling the invasion and occupation of helpless little Iraq, crippled by a decade of economic sanctions, arms embargoes and more or less continual air attacks – has revealed us to be something of a paper tiger.
Our troops pinned down in Iraq and in South Korea comprise most of those available. If the North Koreans were to move South, or the Iranians to move West, we would have no alternative but to nuke them.
And, of course, if the PRC decides to establish a much closer union with "breakaway province" Taiwan, there is not much we could do to stop them.
Nevertheless, Undersecretary of State John Bolton – who is unaccountably still in office – says we absolutely must maintain arms embargoes and other sanctions on China. And Iran. And North Korea.
You’ll never guess why: to send each country a message that its record on human rights is unacceptable.
Speaking at a seminar last week in Japan – while Condi was in Europe expressing similar sentiments – Bolton said arms sales by the European Union and Russia to China are a “very grave concern” and could threaten "strategic stability" in East Asia.
Bolton’s biggest concern is that sophisticated computer and communications “battlefield management” technology will end up in the hands of our enemies.
“American technology licensed to European companies might also find its way to China, so that we would, in effect, face our own technology being used against us,” Bolton said.
One wonders where – on the Korean Peninsula, in the Straits of Taiwan, or in and around the Persian Gulf?
Because China’s record on human rights is so unacceptable, President Bush has already imposed sanctions on Chinese companies 62 times. By comparison, President Clinton – who also held China’s record on human rights to be unacceptable – imposed sanctions on Chinese companies on only eight occasions in eight years.
Of course, many Chinese companies are not private sector companies at all. Many are owned or controlled by elements of the People’s Liberation Army. Unnamed US officials charge that many of these same companies have re-exported imported technology – that could conceivably be used to make "weapons of mass destruction" – to such nations as Pakistan, Iran, and Libya.
Chinese exports to Iran are certainly understandable. Once a net exporter of oil, China now imports 60 percent of its needs. It’s oil imports have more than doubled over the past five years, growing by 7.5 percent per year, seven times faster than the US.
China’s increasing reliance on Iranian energy – including a recent zillion-dollar oil and gas co-development deal – has certainly put a hitch in the neo-crazies’ plan to destabilize – much less invade and occupy – Iran.
In fact, it’s beginning to look like the American Hegemony of the neo-crazies lasted about two years.