November 15, 2011

China, Libya, and Political Bullshittery from The Economist

The Economist, my favorite newspaper, has been engaging in its own peculiar style of political bullshit reporting about Chinese foreign policy nowadays. Take a look at this:
It is not just in Sri Lanka that the hypocrisy of Western attitudes has rankled. In China, a commentary in Global Times, a Beijing newspaper, highlighted another aspect of it: “The more urgent question is why the countries that led a righteous crusade against Qaddafi, and rightly or wrongly are now triumphing in his defeat, are the very same that up until recently were busy trying to be his friends?”  So, of course, was China. But two hypocrites do not make a right.

Now this is interesting. Banyan calls China a hypocrite. Which means that China, along with all the other Western nations that were involved, "led a righteous crusade against Qaddafi" and is now "triumphing at Qaddafi's defeat", and "up until recently was busy trying to be his friend". However, what the stupid correspondent does not realize is that China has never been a "friend" of Qaddafi in the same way that the Western powers have. 

China did NOT lead any sort of crusade against Qaddafi - in any sense of the word, and is most certainly NOT triumphing at his defeat. As a matter of fact, Libya's change of government caused a serious upheaval and a major disturbance of Chinese interests in Libya - most importantly the evacuation of 35,000 Chinese workers, and an appalling loss of oil interests. 

As John Pilger and others have correctly argued (here and here, for example), the US/NATO intervention in Libya was undertaken more for countering China's interests there than for anything else. Lumping China in the same group as other Western powers makes one wonder how much the correspondent actually knows about Chinese Foreign Policy.

The Economist once dashingly remarked that China "does not want to send signals at home that rebellion can ever be justified". If that is indeed the case, why would it "triumph" Qaddafi's defeat?