Page 1 of 2 THE ROVING EYE Welcome, comrade Maobama
By Pepe Escobar
BEIJING - Dear comrade Maobama,
It's such an honor to receive you here in the northern capital of the Middle
Kingdom as you pay tribute to the hub of the already developing 21st-century
Excuse us if we may diverge for a while from the outlines of established
diplomatic finesse, but as we fully admire your integrity, honesty and
magnificent intellectual accomplishments, allow us to address you with a
measured degree of frankness.
First of all, we congratulate you for the auspicious sales of The Audacity of
Hope in the Chinese market - 140,000 to date, and counting. But please
excuse us as you won't be able to bask in
the glow of wide-eyed, "audacity of hope" crowds as in Berlin, Ghana, Cairo,
London or Paris. Certainly Sasha and Malia would be thrilled if you had the
chance to snap up a commemorative comrade Maobama T-shirt in Houhai for a few
undervalued yuan. You'd definitely look handsome in an olive-green Cultural
Revolution suit and cap.
We are otherwise very pleased that you have just described yourself as
"America's first Pacific president" - even boasting a half-brother living in
our gloriously booming special economic zone, Shenzhen.
We find a remarkable convergence between "Pacific" and our own doctrine of heping
jueqi - "sudden peaceful emergence". We are all pacifists at heart; if
you're familiar with our doctrine you will know how it fully spells out why
China is not a "threat" to the US. After all, our military budget is less than
20% of your military budget, and much less than the combined military budgets
of Japan, India and Russia.
About our pacifist strain, President Hu Jintao - with whom you will have very
detailed discussions - made it all very clear already during the administration
of your predecessor George W Bush, when he announced his "four Nos" (no to
hegemony; no to the politics of force; no to the politics of blocks; no to an
arms race) and his "four Yes's" (yes to building trust; yes to attenuating
difficulties; yes to developing cooperation; yes to avoiding confrontation).
We noticed you have also chosen to define us as "an essential partner" as well
as a "competitor". Yes, we are very competitive. It's kind of built into your
DNA when you have been a major economic power in the world for 18 of the past
20 centuries. If the "strategic reassurance" doctrine devised by your
think-tanks works in the sense of respecting our competitive spirit as well as
our views and customs, we certainly have no problems with that.
By the way, we're extremely pleased that you chose Tokyo, Japan, this past
Saturday to finally reassure us that "the United States does not seek to
contain China". But we were just wondering whether your generals - avid
practitioners of the full spectrum dominance doctrine - were listening.
Dear comrade, there are some things that we must clarify at once. We definitely
won't bow to US pressure on our currency policy. Please listen to Liu Mingkang,
chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. He has just pressed the
fact at a forum here in Beijing that the very weak US dollar and low US
interest rates are creating "unavoidable risks for the recovery of the global
economy, especially emerging economies", and this is "seriously impacting
global asset prices and encouraging speculation in stock and property markets".
We're afraid you're more part of the problem than the solution. If you had the
chance to meet average Chinese in the streets of Beijing - oh, those pesky
security arrangements - they would ask you why China should listen to US
hectoring, when the US prints dollars like crazy and expects China to prop them
For our part of the world, we hope you have the opportunity to appreciate how
sound are our economic fundamentals - with rising industrial production, retail
sales and investments in fixed capital, and moderate deflation, as outlined by
Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics. Our economy will
grow by 8% in 2009. Why? Because we have spent the past 11 months working
24-hours a day, investing productively in our economy, honing up our monetary
policy and launching fiscal measures to support selected industrial sectors. We
are forecasting a consumer boom lasting up to the next Chinese New Year on
February 14, 2010. So our priority is to keep on growing; later we may think
about devaluing the yuan.
Dear comrade, we're sure you'd marvel at the power of our three main industrial
clusters. It's a pity you won't have time to visit the Pearl River Delta, the
factory of the world, our hub of manufacturing and endless assembly lines. You
might catch a glimpse of the Yang-Tze Delta - the hub of our capital-intensive
industry and production of cars, semiconductors and computers. But if only you
had enough time for a stroll in Zhongguancun, just outside of Beijing - our
A glimpse of just one of our immense info-tech malls, bursting with small
businesses and eager, industrious, very well-educated youth, would imprint to
you how technology has become China's new opium (without a war attached, as the
British Empire imposed it on us in the 19th century). It makes us dream of a
time when technological innovations originate in China and then swarm the
world. Yes, we may have a cheap workforce - but most of all we have an
extraordinarily motivated workforce, which is regimented under good health and
education standards, has immense self-discipline and is fully mobilized for
non-stop productive ends.
Dear comrade, now onwards to some more controversial matters. About that little
war of yours in Afghanistan. You may have realized by now that it was China
that actually won the "war on terror". And that explains in great measure why
China is so much more influential now in East Asia - and around many parts of
the world - than the US.
You may realize that as long as the Pentagon is fully deployed in West Asia we
must be extremely careful. We closely follow the strategies deployed by your
think-tanks. We are particularly amused by the strategy of our old friend Dr
Henry Kissinger, who proposes to integrate China in a reformed world order
still revolving around a US axis - after all, this still translates as US
hegemony. There are far more worrying aspects inbuilt in the encircling of
China by a system of military bases and a strategic military alliance
controlled by the US - a new cold war in fact. We cannot abide by it, as it
will only lead to the fragmentation of Asia and the global South.
Rest assured that we can deal with both North Korea and Iran on our own - not
confrontationally but harmoniously. And coming back to Afghanistan, we believe
the best solution should be worked out within the cadre of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) - of which ourselves and Russia are the key
co-founders. This is an Asian problem - in terms of drug trafficking as much as
religious fundamentalism - that should be debated and solved among Asian