Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maybe It’s Time to Stop Listening to David Shambaugh on China

Update:

I am willing to grant that China disrupted rare earth shipments to Japan over the Diaoyutai/Senkaku incident.

That's a distinction I should have made in the Asia Times article, and I regret not doing so.

Given the quota system/smuggling structure of China's rare earth trade, it would be easy to slow or stop exports simply by ordering heightened vigilance by customs, perhaps with the instruction that the validity and authenticity of export documentation such as licenses had to be reconfirmed at a higher level.  Keith Bradsher's article in the October 28 New York Times provides a detailed and plausible picture of a slowdown in Chinese rare earth exports.

The purpose would have been to send a pointed rebuke to Maehara, point out to Japan's business community that Maehara is not the best steward of Japan's relationship with China, and remind Japan that business with China is as important as Japan's security relationship with the United States.

In other words, a discrete use of enforcement power to send a message of dissatisfaction, not an embargo that could be construed as a violation of WTO regulations, damage China's image as an exporter, or threaten Japanese industry (given the significant stockpiles it holds), let alone a declaration of economic war against the West using rare earths as a weapon (considering the inevitable and expected entry of non-Chinese producers into the market as most of Chinese rare earths disappear into Chinese end-uses and exports dry up).

Of course, the effect was the exact opposite.

Maehara skillfully parried an attack on his brinkmanship over Diaoyutai/Senkaku and repurposed and escalated it into declarations of a Chinese attack on Japan, Europe, and the United States; and the U.S. government and the Western media dove in.

The point of my article--that the rare earths issue has been knowingly, dishonestly, and cynically inflated into an incident of anti-Chinese hysteria--still stands.

But it would have been a better article if I had addressed the Chinese action that probably triggered the firestorm.

My apologies.




CH 10/29/10


I usually discount China-bashing rhetoric pretty heavily.

But then I read a quote from David Shambaugh in the New York Times.

“This administration came in with one dominant idea: make China a global partner in facing global challenges,” said David Shambaugh, director of the China policy program at George Washington University. “China failed to step up and play that role. Now, they realize they’re dealing with an increasingly narrow-minded, self-interested, truculent, hyper-nationalist and powerful country.”

When Dr. Shambaugh says something like that, one has to think about it.

Shambaugh is one of the deans of modern China political studies.  I have appended his gigantic resume to the end of this post because it’s too long to include here.

Dr.Shambaugh definitely has the ear of the media, and I assume his counsels hold sway in the White House as well.  Jeffrey Bader, the administration’s China man, and Shambaugh share membership in the same Brookings Institute boffin brotherhood.

And if the Chinese have lost David Shambaugh, the U.S. China policy is headed for the deep freeze.

The issue, as I see it, is that Shambaugh is a serious “responsible stakeholder” proponent and analyzes Chinese foreign policy in terms of its difficulties in conforming to the “responsible stakeholder” paradigm.

In June 2010, as China’s foreign policy problems snowballed, he wrote:

Another reason for Beijing’s tentativeness likely derives from China’s not sharing the liberal values and norms that underpin most international institutions and system, although China has benefited enormously from them. It is difficult to be a “responsible stakeholder” – to use Robert Zoellick’s famous phrase – in an international system with which one does not share and practice the operating values at home and was not “present at the creation” to shape the system in the first place.


Meaning that China is finding it difficult to live up to certain norms in order to be recognized as a member in good standing of the international system win the approval and active support of the United States for its geopolitical goals, playing  ball on human rights, global warming, nuclear non-proliferation, trade, Iran…you get the picture.

Basically every area of U.S.-China disagreement.

Chinese editorial pages tend to harp on the deficiencies of the international system—two big wars and a global financial collapse in the last decade—and  pontificate furiously on the subject of whether insisting that the Chinese acknowledge the universal validity of Western values and liberal democracy is borderline racist or maybe even misguided.

These arguments are usually dismissed in the West under the “Commies are afraid of democracy” rubric.

Let’s leave that question to the philosophers.

As a practical matter,  Dr. Shambaugh’s ire towards China can, I think, be traced to his preference for “responsible stakeholderism” as the desirable alternative to a U.S. foreign policy of containment.

There is a significant military, national security, and political constituency for containment, especially within the United States.

I think Dr. Shambaugh is upset at China’s obstreperous non-stakeholderism because it is empowering the backwards-looking and destabilizing containment narrative.

His disappointment may be exacerbated if he himself was promoting that "one dominant idea” of responsible stakeholderism to the incoming Obama administration and takes its unraveling as a personal reproach.

The biggest problem is that some of our key allies don’t really follow these values either.

Again, I will leave the question of whether an idealist Hegelian construct like a global norm merely masks the continual and ineluctable pursuit of material interests to the philosophers.

Let’s just talk about the nitty-gritty of some of what’s been going on in the last year.

Narrow-minded? Self-interested? Truculent? Hyper-nationalist?

Pretty good descriptions of President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea and Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara of Japan.

You can also call them “aggressive, resourceful, and determined in advancing their national interests using the tools at hand”.

For Japan and South Korea to stand up to China to pursue their national interests, U.S. support is needed, whether it comes in the guise of anti-Communism, democratic solidarity, or “responsible stakeholderism”.

So, whatever the United States is selling this geopolitical season, Japan and South Korea have to be buying.

South Korea cares about reunification with North Korea on the most favorable terms possible.

Japan cares about having the United States as a credible and committed ally to counter China’s growing economic and military influence in East Asia.

In fact, I would argue that, especially for Japan, the U.S.-ally dynamic doesn’t represent shared commitment to advancing universal norms.

I think it’s just the opposite: national particularism on the model of Israel’s relations with the United States.

In 2009, the Obama administration  tried to leverage a post-Bush perception of the United States as an honest broker with the Muslim world to deal directly with Tehran and craft a win-win resolution to the Iran stand-off.

However, the U.S. government was outmaneuvered by Israel and its allies inside the United States.

 Instead, the U.S. has acquiesced to a narrative of the existential threat to Israel from Iran and its nuclear program, so nothing gets done in Middle East diplomacy without the a priori requirement of allaying Tel Aviv’s insatiable security concerns.

As a result, the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy initiative, its bedrock norm, if you will, nuclear non-proliferation, has been forced to take a back seat to Israel’s insistence that its nuclear arsenal not be acknowledged, let alone regularized within the structure of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

U.S. relations with Japan incorporate a similar dynamic.

The United States argues that its presence in the western Pacific is a necessary and highly desirable pre-emption of the Japanese government’s willingness to restore a regional role to its military and trigger an arms race with China.

Japan, like Israel, is deeply suspicious of U.S. staying power in the region and doesn’t want to be the helpless victim stuck holding the bag  if Washington decides to cut a deal with its enemy for the sake of the global good.

So, this year, East Asia has seen a string of incidents that have forced the United States to acknowledge Japanese security concerns, while pitching China relations in the deep freeze.

On the issue of the Daioyutai/Senkaku Islands, the Obama administration notified Japan in August that it was not interested in explicitly supporting Japanese sovereignty over the islands.

One month later, Seiji Maehara took the deliberately provocative step of ordering the arrest and trial of a Chinese trawler captain under Japanese law for a collision in Diaoyutai territorial waters—over the reservations of his cabinet—and triggered an epic row with China.

The United States had no alternative but to stand with its main Pacific ally--albeit in ambiguous and unenthusiastic terms whose significance escaped the Western press.

 It is safe to say that engagement with China by the United States on the Diaoyutai/Senkaku issue—and any possibility that the U.S. could be recognized by China as an honest broker on the other island issues, such as the Paracels—is dead as a doornail.

Also in 2010, South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak used the Cheonan outrage to reset the North Korea issue away from the China/Six Party Talks track onto a West vs. Kim Jung-il and China track.

To be fair, if North Korea did sink the Cheonan, as appears likely, Lee was responding to an identical Nork tactic: generating a polarizing incident that would force reluctant ally China to stand by Pyongyang.

In any event, after the U.S. backed South Korea’s desire to wave the Cheonan bloody shirt at the Security Council, Beijing doubled down on its support of Kim Jung Il.

The chances for the U.S. and China to get together, great-power style, to negotiate a North Korean endgame on terms that might please Beijing more than Seoul have presumably diminished significantly as a result.

Maybe the Obama administration entered office with the idea of “win-win” international system accommodating Chinese interests and aspirations but its allies have driven it into “zero-sum” territory.

It’s not just China.

The lesson is, national interest always trumps universal norms, for our allies as well as our enemies.

China, Japan, and South Korea are all “responsible stakeholders” in terms of their national interests…and “irresponsible stakeholders” in terms of the global norms that the Obama administration wants the world to uphold.

And the Obama administration is, I would assert, guilty of the same vice.

I think the Obama administration realizes it got punked by Maehara on Diaoyutai/Senkaku…but that didn’t prevent a repeat of the same pattern of Japanese provocation and U.S. escalation on the manufactured issue of China’s rare earth exports.

The criticisms of China may be unfair and hypocritical but Gosh, it is an election year in the United States and China-bashing sure is popular…

So I would say that to understand what’s going on, we should stop listening to the norms-based criticisms championed by David Shambaugh…and actually watch the national-interest related antics of the various parties involved.

Perhaps we should recognize that a foreign policy that primarily serves the national interests of the U.S. and its allies while using the rhetoric of global norms to deny China the same right to advance its interests is unlikely to be productive of anything except continued friction.

Actually, Dr. Shambaugh obliquely conceded the point in a thoughtful op-ed he wrote for China Daily in March 2010.  Just substitute “United States” for “China”.  And for “abroad”,  “Many countries” and “world”, substitute “China”.

Does Chinese diplomacy offer a unique "model" in international affairs? Here, the answer is yes-at least rhetorically. ..Unfortunately, despite years - even decades -of promoting these concepts, they mainly fall on deaf ears abroad. Many countries do not wish to emulate and practice these concepts. The world is now more interested in what China does on the world stage, not what it says.

Speaking of what people do, I go after Japan’s Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara in two articles.

One digs into the Diaoyutai/Senkaku dustup at The Asia-Pacific Journal: High Stakes Gamble as Japan, China and the U.S. Spar in the East and South China Seas,The Asia-Pacific Journal, 43-1-10, October 25, 2010.

The other addresses the rare earth ruckus at Asia Times: Japan Spins Anti-China Merry-Go-Round.

On a less contentious note, I use Xie Chaoping’s history of the San Men Xia Dam fiasco, The Great Relocation, to explore the convoluted modern history of Yellow River hydrology in an article for the upcoming print edition of Counterpunch.  The subscribe link is here.

Dr. David Shambaugh’s cv:

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Director, China Policy Program, Elliott School of International Affairs
George Washington University

Professor Shambaugh is recognized internationally as an authority on contemporary Chinese affairs and the international politics and security of the Asia-Pacific region. He is a widely published author of numerous books, articles, book chapters and newspaper editorials. He has previously authored six and edited sixteen volumes. His newest books are China's Communist Party: Atrophy & Adaptation; American and European Relations with China; and The International Relations of Asia (all published in 2008). Other recent books include Power Shift: China & Asia's New Dynamics (2005); China Watching: Perspectives from Europe, Japan, and the United States (2007); China-Europe Relations (2007); Modernizing China's Military (2003); The Odyssey of China's Imperial Art Treasures (2005); and The Modern Chinese State (2000). Professor Shambaugh is a frequent commentator in international media, and has contributed to leading scholarly journals such as International Security, Foreign Affairs, The China Quarterly, and The China Journal.

Before joining the faculty at George Washington, he taught at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, where he also served as Editor of The China Quarterly (the world's leading scholarly journal of contemporary Chinese studies). He also served as Director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1985-86), as an analyst in the Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1976-1977) and the National Security Council (1977-78), and has been a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at The Brookings Institution since 1998. He has received numerous research grants, awards, and fellowships -- including being appointed as an Honorary Research Professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (2008- ), a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2002-2003), a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of World Economics & Politics (2009-2010), and a visiting scholar at institutions in China, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Professor Shambaugh has held a number of consultancies, including with various agencies of the U.S. Government, The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The RAND Corporation, The Library of Congress, and numerous private sector corporations. He serves on several editorial boards (including International Security, Journal of Strategic Studies, Current History, The China Quarterly, China Perspectives) and is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, National Committee on U.S. China Relations, the World Economic Forum, The Council on Foreign Relations, Pacific Council on International Policy, Committee on Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), The Asia Society, Association for Asian Studies, and International Studies Association.

Professor Shambaugh received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of International Studies (SAIS), and B.A. in East Asian Studies from The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. He also studied at Nankai University, Fudan University, and Peking University in China.

11 comments:

DC said...

I think you are overall wrong on Lee Myung-bak and Maehara -- although your tone and style are prefect for the tendentious ATol -- and at least partly wrong on rare earths:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/business/energy-environment/29rare.html?_r=2&hp

There was a Rare Metals Summit in Washington this week -- industry types, end users, scientists without politicians -- and the expert verdict was that China did indeed choke supplies to Japan last month to make a political point, but had not done more than implement announced export quota cuts with Western countries.

Justin said...

I knew I subscribed to this blog for a reason. Good article.

ps @DC Rubbish!

winnie said...

moncler.it
moncler coats
Moncler Kids
Moncler

herve leger strapless
herve leger skirt
herve leger

moncler
moncler piumini
moncler piumino

Moncler
Moncler jacken
Moncler jacke

boshi said...

Third, Far away on the mysterious Isle of Zoobles reside hundreds of adorable, little creatures with a magnificent ability, they can magically transform into tiny balls hiding from the unknown, rolling to colorful destinations, sleeping after a long day But beware, you never know when these mischievous Zoobles are going to pop open and surprise you.

Fourth, EFX’s holographic technology contains algorithms and frequencies that interact positively with this energy field in both humans and animals at the cellular level. When placed near the body, especially at key energy centers such as the hands and feet, EFX bracelet’s products will harmonize with the body’s naturally occurring bioelectric frequencies.

Fifth, Every child wants a zhu zhu petshamster and we have all of them in stock as well as all the Zhu Zhu accesories for this most wished for of toys. They are also know as Go Go Pets or Go Go Hamsters in the UK and Europe. Enjoy your zhu zhu pets everyone. Sixth,
Pillow Pets is durability, machine washable, no batteries, friends for life and most important children like them. Silicone Watch is not only a fashional, but also healthy product, it is suitable to all people to wear.The designs are fashional and it can be worn whenever,whether you are sit or run. Wearing it, you will feel mental and muscle relax, besides.
barbie girls.

厦门 said...

power balance
silly bandz]
wedding dresses develop quality for discerning customers and Experience the comfort, free shipping.
Buy evening dresses with a price guarantee and top rated customer service.enjoy
<a href="http://www.wedding-dresses-mall.

will said...

Nel Moncler fan, sono fermamente vi Moncler Giacche proponiamo. Perché è il materiale migliore, Moncler abbigliamentoè al 100% della salute dei bambini. Se vuoi essere comodo da indossare, moderno, Moncler presaè la scelta migliore è un modo semplice è l'apertura selettore speciale Moncler cappotti per ogni occasione.

JUN said...

We hear of the mbt shoes clearance masque no more.Some time elapsed, after the death of our author, before any of his later productions appeared : two small editions of his minor pieces were at length sent to the press in 1640, coach bags outlet and in the subsequent year a wretched reprint of the first folio, and a second volume of the same km-, containing his dramatic pieces from 1612, several masques, and all that could be found of his occasional poetry, coach outlet coupon were published together. Several of the comedies appear to have been taken from the prompter's book, and surreptitiously printed (but not published) during the author's life; how the rest were procured I know not. cheap coach purses Such of his dramas as were revived at the Restoration were printed separately ; and in 1692 the whole of his writings were again collected, and published in one huge folio volume. The demand for his works must have been considerable for those days, since in mbt trainers 1716 the booksellers were encouraged to prepare another edition, which they gave the world in six volumes 8ro. This publication was merely a reprint of the old copy, and with this, defective as it was, the town was content till the year 1756, cheap coach bags when a more complete edition, in seven volumes, 8vo, was published by the Rev. Peter Whalley, LL. B.Mr. Whalley had received an academical education, and he was competent, in some measure, to the undertaking. He did little, however, for the poet ; the form of five finger shoes the old editions was rigidly observed, and though a few notes were subjoined, they were seldom of material import, and never explanatory of the author's general views, though they occasionally touched on his language. It is not a little remarkable that this gentleman, who was master of the Grammar School 5 finger shoes of Christ's Hospital, and must naturally have been somewhat conTenant with the ancient writers, should not have ventured on one remark of a literary nature, every thing of this kind, which occurs in his edition, being, coach outlet store online as I discovered with some surprise, taken from Upton and others.Whether Whalley was diffident of himself, or the gentlemen volunteered their assistance, I have no means of knowing ; but he availed himself occasionally of the aid coach purses outlet of Sympson and Scward, (the editors of Beaumont and Fletcher,) who led him astray, and where he would have been simply wrong, if left to himself, rendered him absurd. In one pleasant way of making notes, and swelling the bulk of the book, they all agreed.

mbt outlet said...

Welcome to the www.mbtshoe.net and www.mbtshoe-sales.com MBT Shoe-MBT Shoes shop,we Offer Cheap MBT Shoes-Discount MBT Shoes to You,MBT Shoe Sale-MBT Shoes Sale with Fast Deliver,MBT Shoe Clearance-MBT Outlet are Free Shipping,MBT Shoes for Sale online.

sara chen said...

Shoe hygiene is also important. Use anti-bacterial and anti-odor powders. Shoe deodorants are available in most stores, as well. If applied overnight, these products will take away the unpleasant shoe smell and will kill the bacteria responsible for it.
Christian louboutin studded pumps

Christian louboutin Bianca pumps

Christian louboutin Rolando pumps

Christian louboutin greissimo pumps

Christian louboutin greissimo wedges

Christian louboutin 140 heels

Christian louboutin platform pumps

cosplay costumes said...

What a great post! Offer you for sharing it on your site.I’ve been visiting your blog instead of a while conditions and I as a last resort summon up a marvel in your recent posts. Thanks for sharing.

Ehtesham Ahmad said...

Nice for being visiting your blog post again, many experts have months personally. This article that I have already been waited for that long.

seo training in Urdu