Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If You Believe It's China v. U.S., Which One Is The 99% ?

Corporate media outlets such as Time and the Wall St. Journal bring us news like this Tibetan nun burning herself as a protest against Chinese government policies while not bringing us news about Bradley Manning. Photo source: Guardian, "Why Tibetan Buddhists Are Burning Themselves Alive In China".
Fascinating article in my inbox this morning, especially as a follow-on to musing yesterday about whether the U.S. v. China is the false dichotomy du jour.  John Chan writing for World Socialist Web Site reported under the headline "Afghanistan signs oil contract with Chinese giant":
The US has tacitly allowed China to establish a presence in Afghanistan, largely because such investments could improve the (sic, I think he means Afghanistan's) financial self-sufficiency. At present, 90 percent of Afghan government spending depends on foreign aid. After the Aynak copper mine deal, Taliban insurgents stepped up their activities in Logar province, prompting the US to send 2,000 troops to the region.

Because of the unstable security situation, progress on Chinese investment projects has been slow over the past few years. As a result, China is completely dependent on the US and allied forces to provide protection, which could change if relations with Washington worsen.
Who's zooming whom here? I wonder how U.S. military families would feel about knowing their loved ones are risking everything, not just to "protect U.S. interests abroad," but for Chinese company profits, which similarly depend on a steady supply of fuel.

The article cited two deals, including this one, where state-sponsored energy companies in China outbid rivals from the U.S. and Canada by a mile. Sounds like long-term strategic thinking on the part of a region that has a lot of mouths to feed, and an extremely long history of top down management.
Dong Xuan, the daughter of Chinese rights activist Ni Yulan, testified on behalf of her parents [Reuters]
Don't think the 99% aren't rising up in China as they are all over the planet. News of this may be suppressed but popped up here and here recently. I've also seen references to the "Great Wall" of Internet censorship that U.S. media outlets tout, as an explanation of why we don't hear more about the economically oppressed there rattling their chains. But this, too, strikes me as an attempt to mask the fact that the Internet is heavily censored for us all.

Here's what journalist Jeffrey Kaye writing in Truthout about the Danish government's Iraq torture scandal had to say about that:
...attempts to verify details of "Iraq War Logs" information were stymied by what appears to be an Internet-wide suppression of the formerly available documents.
I have no doubt that the files still exist on many a server, and that the brainy and the brave will find ways to share them (despite brutal attacks by the U.S. government on alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, and the banking blockade and legal harrassment of Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange). You remember the Iraq War Logs don't you? They were the trove of authentic information that contained the Collateral Murder video of soldiers in a helicopter gleefully shooting up a van full of children in Baghdad.

This sort of behavior transcends national boundaries -- though it is often fueled and enabled by racism. So does the eviction of indigenous people from ancestral lands that contain coal, oil, or potable water beneath their surface.

So before I start flag waving for my side in the big U.S. v. China game, I want to take a step back and think about headlines like Time's "The U.S. Military Eyes the Asia-Pacific, and China Shrugs?" this way: What would the 1% do?

Sichuan striking workers and riot police. Source: Weibo.com
Occupy Oakland police presence. Source: Politico

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Christopher Patterson - Dec 12, 2011 - Public
"The good man is the only excellent musician, because he gives forth a perfect harmony not with a lyre or other instrument but with the whole of his life." -Plato
EmploymentArmy National Guard
Combat Engineer, 2009 - presentEducationValparaiso University
Music Education, 2009 - present
Spc. Christopher A. Patterson, 20, of Aurora, Ill...assigned to the 81st Troop Command, Indiana National Guard, Indianapolis, Ind...died Jan. 6 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enermy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.