Brahma Chelani is a geo-strategist and author of nine books, including award winning Water: Asia’s new battlefield.
There is an old Chinese proverb: “Kill the chicken to scare away the monkey.” And in the political firefight between Washington and Beijing over the 2018 Canadian arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant, it is clear that to China, Canada has been the hen to America’s monkey.
Relief in Canada on the return of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from nearly three years of arbitrary captivity in China should not obscure the larger implications of the US-arranged deal. It represents a victory for China’s scoffing strategy, and a real shot for President Xi Jinping, whose expansionist policies already pose a growing international challenge.
In recent weeks, US President Joe Biden has gone to extraordinary lengths to de-escalate tensions with China, such as to underline that America’s humiliating defeat He has weakened his hand against his country’s main rival in Afghanistan. During a recent 90-minute phone conversation, Mr. Xi turned down Mr. Biden’s offer for a one-on-one summit, demanding that the U.S. soft at first Lower your China policy and your rhetoric.
As if to comply with Mr. Xi’s demand, Mr. Biden did not utter the word “China” in his speech at the United Nations Last week, he even called out Iran and North Korea. “We are not asking for – I will say it again, we are not asking for – a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs,” he said defensively. In contrast, then President Donald Trump’s 2020 UN. with speech, in which he declared that the world must “hold China accountable” for the COVID-19 pandemic. And in fact, during his phone call with Mr. Xi, Mr. Biden demanded Explain US action towards China “in this way” [is] According to a readout from a senior US official, the misinterpreted…
Such recklessness seems to be out of step with reality, given that China is actively working to displace the US as the pre-eminent power of the world. Yet, since Mr. Biden took office, it is the US that has taken most of the high level talks With China including the latest phone calls.
The Biden administration withdrew fraud charges against Ms Meng after Canada completed its federal election. But, in a surprising contrast, Ms Meng left Canada for home on the day Mr Biden hosted the first face-to-face leaders meeting of the US-India-Japan-Australia coalition Quad. inspired China’s aggressive foreign policy and wicked behavior.
By ending a legal case through a political settlement, Washington may have inadvertently vindicated Chinese propaganda – that Ms. Meng’s arrest was politically motivated and that the US and Canadian judicial systems were not free from political influence. Was. The deal would encourage China to defy international rules and norms and force other states, as it seeks to establish a 21st-century version of the imperial tributary system.
The White House, unfortunately, has overlooked the lesson that boomerangs usually relate to with hostage takers. For example, to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl, a US Army sergeant who had left his unit in Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama. Freed Five Taliban leaders – “the toughest of the hardline”, as the late Senator John McCain called them at the time – from Guantanamo Bay in 2014. An excited Taliban then intensified their attacks in Afghanistan, increasing Afghan and US-NATO forces. Pressure. It eventually turned out to be Mr. Trump’s unilateral withdrawal deal In February, 2020, prompt implementation by Mr. Biden helped the Taliban come to power in August. Today, five former Guantanamo prisoners are senior officials of the Taliban regime who, along with cabinet ministers, are on a list of UN and US terrorism-related sanctions.
Mr Biden’s deal is also likely to prove broadly detrimental to Western interests. By making a deal with the hostage-taking government, the White House has advertised weakness. The fact that China has got its way will inspire other hostage takers, including the Taliban. In fact, to press for sanctions relief and other demands, the Taliban are already hindering the evacuation of remaining Western citizens from Afghanistan, including Afghans who hold US passports or green cards.
Thanks to the US deal, Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor certainly won’t be the last foreigners confiscated by Beijing as bargaining chips. By rewarding China’s hostage diplomacy, the White House has honed a rogue-state strategy that Xi is now certain to employ again.
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