Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Wok Calling the Kettle Black

This isn't the usual fodder for Slack, but sometimes I like to discuss serious topics. Actually, I don't even really want to discuss this, I just think that subject-joke is too funny to pass up.

According to the Washington Times, "The Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday told the U.S. government not to interfere with a Chinese-controlled company's bid to buy a California energy giant, triggering objections from American officials and lawmakers who oppose the deal."

The Chinese government is asking us not to meddle in economy and business affairs? With a straight face? Isn't this the Communist state that's been manipulating its currency and providing countless export subsidies to its industries to gain an unfair global advantage? Doesn't the Chinese government own about 70 percent of CNOOC, the state-run oil company bidding for Unocal?

It's times like these you have to look these guys right in the dental flossed-blinded eyes and ask 'em, "Where do you get off having tits?"

(For the record, for anyone who has been following this mess, I'm not opposed to the deal and wouldn't suggest our government block the deal. But you'd be a fool to admit there aren't national security concerns in play here.)


At 4:46 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

For hard hitting news, I always go to the moonie paper too.

While China is definitely showing a lot of gall here, isn't the opposite true of us?

Hey you free market people! Stop blocking trade!

I actually don't think it's much of a security concern. The only way I can see it becoming one is if we actually have a war with China, and in that case,

1. We'll have bigger problems, and

2. Force will be necessary to maintain assets anyway. Just because they "own" unocal doesn't mean we can't have it back in the event of a war by moving a platoon a few feet.

In general I think increased trade with China is probably a good idea, and there's nothing all that special about oil.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

It's national security for a few reasons, as I see it:

1. Unocal has key disputed areas of exploration with Japan and Korea. China isn't exactly on good terms with those countries. Now if these flash points turn into wars, you'll have powerful American shareholders and executives involved in these conflicts -- and as we've seen, corporate America runs Congress, so I'm not happy about that possibility.

2. Technology transfer -- Unocal has some of the best underwater mapping technology, which will now be Chinese technology. So if we do ever fight a war versus China, and it will certainly involve water, we will no longer hold any advantage in submarine warfare in that department.

3. China will now have unfettered access to rare-earth minerals that are key to our military/industrial base. Some of these minerals are key ingredients in our cruise missile technology -- do we really want to help the Chinese expand their missile technology while losing access ourselves?

I don't know, like I said, I'm NOT opposed to the deal. Just pointing out some major concerns. These aren't small fries, this is the Biggie Meal.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Good points.

1. Although if Japan and China ever came to blows it's difficult to see a scenario where we don't enter. But it certainly increases the likelihood of a flashpoint, and that's not good.

2. This makes sense. Military technology should not be sold. I have no idea how something like this would be handled, but it seems like a rather large problem. Any chance that this acquisition is more motivated by military concerns?

I suppose this is a risk with any trade with China. The idea is to make them more prosperous, but this also will make them more powerful.

(And I realize that you do not opposing the deal, so I'm only offering this hypothetically)

It is also risky to block trade because it does create anti-American sentiment to do so. We should want China to view us as the country that grew along with them, not the country that kept them in poverty.

3. If these are exceedingly rare I could see it as an issue. If they're fungible at all, it's probably not a big deal. After all, hoarding would be a dead giveaway. I assume that in this instance, as with oil, Unocal is just a drop in the bucket?

I know you're not opposed and we certainly have to be careful with China, but my sense here is that they are acquiring these entities to promote economic growth. If they derive secondary benefits from them, military or not, so be it.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger ethan said...

geez - for all this serious chatter, can you at least link the post to some asian porn star's website?

At 6:57 PM, Blogger ahren said...

we've been at war with china for years.

also, military technology should definitely be sold. it's really frickin' expensive and the US does it better than anyone else. clearly, there should be some control on it, such that we don't lose our considerable edge in the field, but in the long run, it's the future of the american economy (in my opinion), because its the cutting edge of high tech-- which is where we need to start putting more of our workforce if we expect to maintain a higher standard of living than everyone else.

let the mexicans clean the bathrooms, the chinese sew the underwear, and we'll export missile defense shields. seems like a good deal to me.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Well, we definitely need to export something, if we're ever going to to return to trade balance...but I'm not sure military technology is the answer. If you want to expedite the end of the world, that's just like, your opinion, man -- but don't take the rest of us down with you.

If we're gonna sell military secrets to China, then what constitutes "some control," as you put it? Selling this stuff to the Commies isn't exactly some control!

At least we're on the same page, that unless we do something here, our standard of living in America will be worse than the generations that came before us...and that's no gouda.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I'm in favor of free trade except for one situation which I should have remembered. YOu should not sell a gun to a mugger if he is about to mug you. Of course, this is debatably not trade, but theft.

In principle I have no problem with arms dealing. Actually, doing some strategic arms dealing in Africa (and specifically Zimbabwe) would probably go a long way towards helping people. Selling high tech stuff to hostile folks is a bad idea though. Selling missles to Canada, or Japan, or France, or Britain, or several other countries seems fine to me.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

That got a bit off topic. Back to work I go.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger ahren said...

oh yeah, i agree totally. i definitely don't think military technology should be sold to china -- they are our mortal enemy, in my opinion, and we've been in an information/economic war with them for years.

in general, i think the proliferation of weapons actually deters war and "the blowing up of the world" by continually increasing the cost of military action, such that it becomes a really irrational option in almost any situation.

we don't sell weapons to china that i know of, but i believe europe is in the process of considering doing so. (and also, i don't really know anything at all)

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

We don't sell arms to China...but one of our biggest friends does (I'm lookin at you, Jews), Here's the list of sales from 1993-2002:

Russia $11 bln
Ukraine $633 mln
Israel $162 mln
France $122 mln

And I actually agree somewhat with your point about the proliferation of weapons and decreasing the likelihood of the world ending. But, there are some fucked up people and countries out there, and you never know if they consider costs in their logic.


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