The Alpha Environmentalist, knowing of my interest in China issues, just alerted me to this op- ed piece from the Arizona Daily Star on the Chinese government’s bid to buy the California based oil company Unocal (don’t know how long the link will be up).
Exactly who– other than, say, the Peoples’ Liberation Army– thinks this is a good idea? Assuming the most benign motives possible, it will doubtless divert oil from us in the future. As the Star states:”…..if the point of this purchase is to increase China’s oil sources, it seems only a matter of time before pressures would build to divert U.S. supplies to China’s domestic use”.
But, worse, what will happen if, down the road, China chooses to confront us over Taiwan, or… well, I can hadly begin to list the possibilities. To quote the Star– quite a liberal paper by the way– again: “There is a contradiction between the communist repression we don’t see and the economic surge we do. It is easy for us to forget that the People’s Republic of China is a repressive, totalitarian government.”
We don’t have time today to go into the Chinese record on the environment (air quality, the Yangtze Dam, animals in traditional medicine, and more). But over the next weeks I will be writing a lot more on China– on John Derbyshire’s novel trilogy, on Mark Elvin’s Retreat of the Elephants (China environmental history) and more.
Oh and– China also wants to acquire IBM’s computer division. Makes me glad I drive a Mac.
Didn’t Lenin say that the last capitalist would sell his executioner the rope with which to hang him?
UPDATE 6 July:
Both conservatives (National Review Online) and liberals (The New Yorker) have now defended the Unocal sale, mostly on the grounds of free trade and the nature of the oill market. The New Yorker adds for the record that we should NOT sell off defense companies like Lockheed Martin. They make some rational points, but I keep seeing that rope…