tv Cross Talk RT December 6, 2013 2:29am-3:01am EST
china is tearing a page from washington's playbook it too will make rules to fit its geo political interests. to cross-town chinese geopolitical interests i'm joined by my guest john feffer in washington he is an author and co-director of foreign policy in focus at the institute for policy studies and in london we crossed to martin mccauley he is a specialist on international affairs at the university of london thank you gentlemen for joining me crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it our martin if i can go to you first we've been seeing the american pivot to asia at least it's been announced it's lost a lot of energy and over the last few weeks it's a little bit more focused with biden visiting the the region and we have the chinese with their new and restrictive arizona and travel routes what step is this in the new battle for the pacific in your mind. i think that the chinese hard
fact they have recognized that pretty good bomber is a weak president and therefore they're pushing as far as they can go they've actually talked about their perimeter the pacific perimeter reaching to hawaii that's in the long future but of course not in the short term. and what they're doing is actually implemented that gradually. you remember that they had they still have a confrontation with the philippines over the shoal where they claim some arlen's rocks and the filipinos say they don't that's going on. and now they've just decided unilaterally to. put in a defensive zone apparently there is a lot of gas specially gas field within it so therefore one could say it's linked not only to. geo political ambitions but also to hydrocarbons because trying to desperately needs to increase its all in gas output ok john is china demanding
washington respected as an equal in the pacific it can't do that militarily at this point but you know for the chinese they have a long view i think we would all agree. well i would i would slightly disagree with with martin here it's true that china perhaps perceives obama as weak but i see this more in the longer term and that is that the united states is largely playing a bystander role in this pacific pivot isn't some ways an acknowledgement of the u.s. bystander role over the last decade and this is largely between china and japan this current issue united states has encouraged japan to have a more aggressive more muscular shall we say foreign and military policy and china of course as you say wants to have a foreign policy that is common with its economic strength that's growing economic
strength so we see these two tigers on the mountain as the expression goes in the asia realm and the united states really is caught in the middle of it doesn't really want to tangle with china and at the same time it has to support its ally japan but it's mostly a bystander role that it's playing john if i can stay with you that it's very interesting how you phrase this because the weakest link of american foreign policy in the pacific is its allies potentially because what it the japanese wanted to be more aggressive the filipinos the south koreans go on and on this is it's of to kerry's position for the united states to be put in because he wants to be quote unquote neutral but not everyone in the region wants the united states to be neutral and then because of these treaty commitments the united states may find itself having to do something that it really doesn't want to do go ahead john. as you point out the united states you know professes to be neutral it is kind of secured its position in the asia pacific region as
a so-called honest broker and so it has tried to do this at the same time of course it has allies so it's very difficult for the united states to actually be an honest broker when it supplies south korea with tremendous amount of military so. court as i said surpass supported japan for some time provides taiwan with a great deal of military support so the honest broker position is actually rather difficult and yet at the same time we have seen china and japan as well as china and some of the countries bordering the south china sea come to some agreements for instance over oil and gas exploration under sea and these agreements i think could be the kind of core of some agreement in the future one of those agreements was just back in two thousand and eight around the cock while ns and we've seen some additional movement toward agreement in south china say ok martin but if i could put china's policy in a nutshell it doesn't want to have to have to ask for someone's permission anymore
this is the whole point of these new restrictive air is a zone is that china is going to say you know well if you want to go through here you're going to have to talk to us here we'll let you through but you have to talk to us it's an acknowledgement that they are a great power in the pacific because all of these zones since the one nine hundred fifty s. were unilaterally done by other powers particularly the united states and japan baby now china's permission. yes absolutely correct but china has to be very careful here because it becomes quite aggressive in pushing geopolitical interests who will alienate. the other nations in southeast asia as one of the reasons for the rapprochement between vietnam and united states china keeps on saying it wants to resolve all these problems. peacefully and so on it's not an enemy of aggressive it isn't aggressive intentions and so on but if it in fact is quite aggressive in pursuing its interests present the rhetoric against japan is quite good
it gives the impression that it's a power on the rise one of the interesting things about china is they've studied imperial germany before nine hundred fourteen they have to try to work out. why the strongest country in europe ended up being defeated nine hundred eighteen up desires to do so and up in a disastrous war so therefore china is very careful in going forward but the thinner the wedge is that if japan and south korea and the philippines and the americans give in to this and they fire little all the flight plans with the chinese one day may come when the chinese will say you can't have military aircraft frying through this. and then after that you can't have naval you can only have commercial shipping you can't have any naval ships and so on and so everyone knows that this is the beginning of a very long process john what do you how do you react because we did certainly from
art you have to be careful but then you know if you want to get what you want you have to take risks how do you balance being careful and taking risks because that's taking risks is what we will get you will achieve your goals not by just being careful. right and it's not really a zero option in which china makes an assertion and then you know the united states and its allies either accept it or don't accept it i mean we can see this as the first kind of play in a larger gambit china's said look you know the structure here in northeast asia is in some sense a relic of world war two and and there are many relics of world war two the united nations in some sense voting power in the i.m.f. world bank and china saying look you know the situation in this world has changed and even though some countries in the region japan south korea are still kind of fighting over issues related to world war two china saying look we have to move on and this is one way of doing it by saying hey we are going to in some sense by
ourselves we draw the maps here in northeast asia to. reflect modern realities now again the united states and its allies should not see this as you know yes or no but ok look this is what you have said we're going to come back with our offer on the table and then we can negotiate around that and then we'll see perhaps a line drawn for air space that is more a better reflection of the realities on the ground in the region today martin the you think united states is really interested in dealing with china and equal because i think what john just said makes perfect sense we are living in the twenty first century second world war was a long time ago though i would add john the caviar the chinese do you remember the second world war with the chinese the japanese did did them martin i mean it history does play a role here but new realities do as well yes they do because the chinese would like
to japanese to apologize for what happened between nine hundred thirty one and one hundred forty five this mostly because like none. of these refused to do that. and from chinese point of view when things get. to. they can play the nationals caught. and it's very very easy for being all or any other chinese politician to whip up and take it isn't torture pan because it's a great enemy and so on but japan has a tremendous about investment in china and china needs japanese technology and so on the japanese business and so on so therefore they've got to balance the two and very often talking to chinese. when you when you say to them you have to balance your relations with japan they say no no they have to apologize for what they did to us and so on and the koreans also have some governance of this because obviously japan korea between one thousand five hundred forty five and there are members of
that and so on so japan is seen really as the enemy and so it's a it's a real conflict between the two but from the american point of view they would like them to come together better the hatchet as john said right let's say let's draw some lines if you look at the actual lines that they've drawn their course cover all the oil and gas which they think is underneath the soil underneath the seabed and the obvious solution is to say to japan and to south korea to vietnam. and the philippines result ok let's develop these resources on an equal basis we can share the wealth which is under the seabed but. china at present doesn't see it like that they don't see why they should share with others of the power they're the rising power and therefore there will shoot in fact be just in two and they will decide what will happen and so on and the temptation to china now is given
the state of the united states economy has to press very hard indeed for more more concessions with the united states saying let's pacify this let's let's talk let's have a hot. line between tokyo and beijing and one between seoul and then beijing and seoul and that's let's talk about this because the world already together and gentlemen are happy to jump in here in a car going to go to watch short break and after that show break we'll continue our discussion on china's state with arctic. we see. quite often in countries rich in natural resources are the poorest africa's
a colony it's a colony of the big corporations it's a calling of someone's home leaders who are under the thumbs of the big corporations so they have to beg from the world bank's development of social programs goes to pay back debts whole country is drowning under the amount of debt that they had and so every year they would borrow money. and they would use that same amount of money to pay back oh this can all that money really help. the wages of debts. this is the place that has been consecrated to god for almost a thousand of years people came here twenty some years ago to reestablish and i stick wife on the silence. and people feel the love of christ all working. people say you can. come
break makes perfect sense to me because the chinese looking at the pacific and looking at the united states and saying why should we compromise so much i mean the americans don't compromise a whole lot particularly in the middle east and what it's done to the western hemisphere for two centuries i mean why should we compromise it may be the right thing to do the rational thing to do but there's nationalism there's a great sense of pride and i think a lot of people forget in the world that china is coming back it's not rising we just took a break for a couple of centuries victim of western imperialism we're just coming back ok i think that's the kind of mindset the chinese have and you know it's kind of hard to deny even though it may be dangerous. well i think that's true but another kind of priority for china of course is economic growth and political stability that results in some sense from rapid best. double digit
economic growth and anything that challenges that economic growth domestic economic growth i think is antithetical to china so if it sees that regional tensions for instance may northeast asia less of an investment opportunity if they see somehow that this affects the bottom line in china then i think they'll basically dial it back a bit i mean if they see. for instance as martin said the united states and vietnam have become very close if they see the japan for instance goes beyond its one percent its historic kind of tradition of one percent of g.d.p. for military spending. you know they're going to possibly say ok look you know this was our our preference but we'll negotiate so i think there's still plenty of room to negotiate with china even if it is pushing for as much as it can get against the united states which it sees as weak economically and perhaps with weak leadership even if it sees opportunity in northeast asia for
a variety of geo political and political reasons martin the chinese have this fear of not getting access to the outside world and looking at trade routes i mean what will it take for a compromise because it seems to me that the chinese want to be the head they don't want to be the only power they want to be the head. they want people to kowtow say we just want to go through this passage of water we want to fly over this piece of land and the chinese will probably be ok with that even though that is a slippery slope what about military hardware in the future but they want to be the head they don't want to be the sole power because if you're the sole power then you're responsible for everything and again i thinking the chinese are that you have looked at american history you don't want to be the hedge amount of the world because there's a lot of downside being the world. yes because at present china's main priority is economic they want to make sure that the two hundred million or so who are in poverty in china that they. have become more prosperous and the
communist party knows that the rising middle class means stability. if five hundred million chinese are middle class then the country will be very stable then domestically it's stable that's the first priority therefore the beijing cannot do anything which would in fact harm that economic growth they don't want to get into a conflict with japan and have a military conflict face to face conflict they don't want to military conflict with the united states they don't don't want to see to be seen as the bad boys they want is seen as ok we talk to you and so on we're very polite and so on we don't want to lose face and so on the other thing is that china in fact is a country which figures that over the last hundred years or at least a hundred years before nine hundred forty nine it was treated very badly by the outside world and that's still right because that's still in chinese history textbooks chinese repeaters to the top but more things like that that still rankles
with them and so on and so therefore they're working that out and they still haven't actually entered the world stage as a great power they met the concern themselves really with economic interests and they're not really a major player in the world the united states would like to become a major player ok let's become one of the hague ones of the world and so on but that entails responsibilities that means promoting stability and peace and solving problems and so on and china at this stage in its economic development doesn't want that grow it wants to concentrate basically on improving its economy and ensuring that is middle class becomes very large and that means to belittle china. people who look at them being. american pivot to you want to jump in go ahead john. i was just going to say that you know if you look at one of the most recent indicators which is that your water has become the second most frequently traded currency and
trade. transactions and this just happened recently and that sounds very impressive of course i mean the dollar is still number one but that you want is number two and the growth was actually quite remarkable just maybe a year ago it was maybe between one and two percent and now and now it's about eight percent now that's the telling statistic it's only still about eight percent so there's a gap between you know china's status as number two and what it where we'd like to be which is parity and united states still around you know in the eighty's ninety percent of transactions you want around eight percent so there's still a major gap that china wants to bridge and it knows it's going to take some time in order to do that so it's this calculus of figuring out how to make assertions of florida a how to get the respect that it wants to be able to wield the power it wants to have and yet recognizing that it's not quite there yet in terms of the
indicators john if i can i can stay with you and one indicator is that it's very good for populations people watching t.v. in china is battleships and destroyers and airplanes and you know we have the american pivot to the pacific some people look at it is kind of a strategic retreat but for china and again it's all going back to what martin have to say about middle class middle class values they like a strong country they want their country to be respected and that's translated very often in military hardware you know you want to be able to see on t.v. that you know we're protecting our borders and we're not going to be held back we're not you know maybe they don't i don't know if they see it on chinese television but you know preserved all the way to hawaii ok that really does speak to a middle class and middle class nationalism but you got to have. fleet so my question is is that some people say critics will say the pivot actually militarized is the pacific even more. well you know the pivot is again as i said in some sense
a recognition of the u.s. weakness in the region for instance its inability to build another marine air force base in okinawa i mean there's been such political opposition in okinawa and it's essentially forced the united states to redistribute those marines elsewhere to go to australia to negotiate new trees with the philippines so i don't see it as a remilitarization in that sense i don't see that there will actually be a major increase in the amount of u.s. hardware although the capabilities of the u.s. military in the region may increase but it is a real militarization in the sense that there is an arms race in the region there has been an arms race for many years that means that japan south korea modernizing spending a lot more money china double digit increases in their military budget but further south as well singapore vietnam indonesia philippines all embarked on major arms purchases and this i think is
a major concern the united states of course would like there to be more burden sharing out to art if it's so-called strategic rebalancing so that is i'm afraid the negative consequence of this shoulder burden sharing and that is all the countries in the in the region basically butting up against one another through their increased military purchases and they're more aggressive military policy is all in arms companies in the united states martin really probably like this arms race here but what about the american taxpayer payer i mean you know you look what's happened in the middle east over the last decade or so americans are really tired of it and if you look at what happened just in the last few days detroit's in bankruptcy i mean again you know i mean what is it really. worth it for the united states because john pointed out it's all these all these other countries that are just you know getting maybe not a free ride but not a very expensive ride into the americans that are paid doing all the heavy load
carrying here i mean at what point is there a tipping point do you think the united states going to say hey let's just make a you know a detente with the chinese and split up the pacific because it's not worth it to us . yes it is worth pointing out that the vietnam singapore south korea in asia and so on are not enemies they have a common interest there's no conflict there are many because they fear the rise of china and they want the united states really the nuclear umbrella they would love for the u.s. to come in as nato does and in europe why not come and extend that nuclear umbrella to us because from the american body view why should they do that why it is they spend taxpayer has to pay out more dollars to protect these asia why should they do that that would be an increasing problem for any u.s. president because the united states is now moving should be withdrawing from middle east been seen to be defeated in two wars you don't intervene on the ground anymore
i think that's a lesson from the middle east what you're going to see is more cyber warfare because the chinese are really hot from cyber warfare and to be more link ups between singapore vietnam and all the other. states and the united states because the americans are way out in front in technology and so on and therefore what they're looking for is high technology transfer they're not really expecting the americans put troops in in singapore vietnam and so on who wouldn't really do very much but they want high technology and they want to the southeast asia not to fall behind because if america walks away then that hands over the high technology should have china and those countries will never catch up and they know that by themselves they are no match for china so therefore they desperately need american corporation and a commitment from the americans that they were the that washington will not desert
them and walk away ok i guess get real quickly twenty seconds i guess we all should help it been both sides know how to play chicken well. absolutely and as i said there are opportunities for negotiation based on negotiations in the past and this is a an opportunity for all the countries to step up to the plate and show to their diplomatic agility japan china korea and they all in some sense have elected now and i don't lead i have to judge this is your opportunity to transfer but we have run out of time many thanks today to my guests in washington and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember. these.
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