Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chomsky on US/China relations

It's just an aside, really, in his article, 'Who owns the world?' at TomDispatch, but it is so very right, and beautifully sarcastic.
There is also much concern about the growing Chinese military threat. A recent Pentagon study warned that China's military budget is approaching "one-fifth of what the Pentagon spent to operate and carry out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," a fraction of the U.S. military budget, of course. China's expansion of military forces might "deny the ability of American warships to operate in international waters off its coast," the New York Times added.

Off the coast of China, that is; it has yet to be proposed that the U.S. should eliminate military forces that deny the Caribbean to Chinese warships. China's lack of understanding of rules of international civility is illustrated further by its objections to plans for the advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington to join naval exercises a few miles off China's coast, with alleged capacity to strike Beijing.

In contrast, the West understands that such U.S. operations are all undertaken to defend stability and its own security. The liberal New Republic expresses its concern that "China sent ten warships through international waters just off the Japanese island of Okinawa." That is indeed a provocation -- unlike the fact, unmentioned, that Washington has converted the island into a major military base in defiance of vehement protests by the people of Okinawa. That is not a provocation, on the standard principle that we own the world.

Addendum: Also on today's reading list, Lewis Shiner's Black and White, in which I find this:
“Who owns the world?” Robert’s father asked suddenly.

Robert looked at him in confusion.“I don’t know what you’re asking. The rich and powerful, I suppose?”

Robert’s father nodded.“I suppose. I would like to think that we all own it, in common.
– from p. 140 of the pdf version.

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