Godfather Helps China! ~ rajinder puri
Iraq is atop a political volcano. Sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites threatens violence reminiscent of what happened in India in 1947. The UN Envoy to Iraq, Mr. Martin Kobler, has warned: “Systemic violence is ready to explode any moment.” How strange that a decade after the US invasion of Iraq amidst this entire turmoil one nation is blissfully promoting its economic prospects. Post-invasion Iraq has emerged as one of the world&’s top oil producers and China is its biggest customer. Before the invasion Iraq&’s oil industry was crippled by sanctions. Saddam Hussein&’s overthrow lifted sanctions and released the nation&’s enormous oil reserves for the global market. Chinese state-owned companies seized the opportunity by investing more than $2 billion annually and injecting hundreds of Chinese workers into Iraq. The New York Times quoted Mr Mike Makowsky, a former Defence Department official of the Bush administration who dealt with oil policy to state: “We lost out. The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it, and our Fifth Fleet and air forces are helping to assure their supply.” Thereby hangs a tale. Recall the sequence of events and connect the dots. The strangest picture emerges. Consider these established facts.
For decades America carried on a heavily adverse balance of trade at one to five with China importing low-tech products owned and manufactured by the People&’s Liberation Army (PLA). So scandalous was the arrangement that America&’s leading journalist the late Abe Rosenthal, the New York Times Editor, accused Democratic and Republican leaders of America of endangering national security because they had been corrupted by China. The PLA managed factories violating all labour laws by employing slave workers bossed over by their army warlords.
For fifteen years, the US authorities pressured China to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to ensure that international labour norms were not violated. Finally the PLA agreed. China consented to sign the WTO agreement on 17/11 2001 that would bring its industry under international purview. Six days earlier on 9/11 2001 China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Afghanistan&’s Taliban government headed by Mullah Omar. The MOU was signed in the presence of Osama bin Laden to establish the telecom network in Afghanistan in return for the assurance that Al Qaida would not interfere in the affairs of Xingjian. On that very same day the terrorist 9/11 attack on the twin towers of the WTO in New York was launched. The attack jolted WTO but did not succeed in preventing China&’s entry into WTO. After 9/11 there occurred a strange sequence of events.
The 9/11 terror attack itself was mired in controversy and conspiracy theories. Despite repeated Intelligence warnings of an impending attack by Al Qaida the US government allowed the attack to occur. It allowed safe passage to members of the Osama bin Laden family camped in America to leave the country. The US government demanded that Osama be surrendered to it for legal proceedings. The Taliban government said that it was willing to surrender Osama to any third country named by the US. The US rejected this offer. The US attack against Afghanistan commenced. But it was never allowed to be clinched. America gave little importance to Al Qaida. Six months after 9/11 while Osama roamed free, President Bush on 13 March 2002 said: “Terror is bigger than one person (Osama). And he&’s just ~ he&’s a person who&’s now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed… I am truly not concerned about him.” Who could have been briefing President Bush?
Osama managed to flee Afghanistan with his family to a safe haven in Pakistan. Instead of eliminating Al Qaida, America diverted to a war against Iraq. The war against Iraq was pre-planned. This becomes clear from the revelations of Mr Richard Clarke who was the National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism and had been warning the administration for years about Al Qaida. He was rebuffed by attention focused on Iraq. He knew that Iraq had no links with jihad terror. Eventually America started its war against Iraq on the false premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Later, this was officially admitted to be a false claim. Nevertheless America embroiled itself in two costly wars heavily expending men and resources. In disgust Clarke resigned from the government and exposed the truth in a book, Against All Enemies.
For over a decade, America blew its resources and manpower in two costly wars. How did it pay for these wars? It continued its adverse trade with China and allowed Beijing to purchase trillions worth of US treasury bonds to make the world&’s leading superpower a huge debtor nation. The irony is that in Afghanistan where American soldiers risk lives in an unpopular war and billions of dollars are spent to attempt maintaining order, it is China that profits hugely by obtaining lucrative mining contracts with mineral-rich Afghanistan. Now it transpires the same is happening in Iraq.
Thereby it might be seen that America&’s inexplicable policy has made the US a huge debtor nation, created enormous unemployment by diverting investment from the domestic market to labour-cheap China, expending considerable resources and lives in two costly wars, and allowed Beijing to hugely profit from the results of these wars without deploying a single Chinese soldier. Therefore, the question must be asked. Are the policies of the world&’s most powerful nation influenced and directed by forces unbelievably stupid or fatally subverted? This is a question that Americans themselves must ponder. But for policymakers in India it should be clear that this nation must deal with America most cautiously. A stupid friend can be more damaging than an intelligent enemy.
The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist. He blogs at www.rajinderpuri.wordpress.com