While the Conservatives thus far have governed in a coherent, decisive manner; there is one more major issue that I would love to see them tackle. It was yet another failure of the Liberals and it could become one of the most meaningful decisions that Canada will ever make. I am referring to the rising giant on the other side of the globe, China.
When I think of Canadian foreign policy, it has, until Paul Martin, pretty much been the same as the American one. While many of the dynamics between our two nations have changed, we still share considerable ground with them. For instance, both nations still claim to support democracy, freedom, and transparency in government. We both claim to champion human rights causes and support each other in trade.
Something sinister is happening to this policy. For reasons that I simply cannot comprehend, the free world is, for the first time on this scale, setting aside its belief in freedom and human rights for a piece of an emerging market. To be sure, this will most likely be the largest market on earth.
Much of Asia is just now coming into its own and brings with it huge emerging markets. Those markets pretty much all have the same thing in common; that is us. You see, as the largest consumer group in the world, Asia has pretty much been powered by the free nations of the world. Tell me something that hasn’t been made in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, or China. I can guarantee you that you will have a time of it finding something in your home that wasn’t made in one of those countries.
For the most part, supporting emerging markets is good for all of us. They are a source of cheap labour and commodities; the latter at least being true until the global economy kicked in. While paying foreign workers less than our own people has been criticized, it nonetheless lifted many of those foreigners out of abject poverty. It also provided a steady source of revenue in many countries where it was desperately needed.
There was, however, always one caveat. The nations that we chose to do business with had to meet certain criteria and most of those centered on human rights. It seems, for reasons unknown to myself, that we have forsaken this act of conscience to get into bed with red China.
Why is it that the U.S. can isolate Fidel Castro yet welcome Hu Jintao? Are they not one in the same? They both control the media, they both run communist regimes. Why is it that the world considered Saddam a threat before he invaded Kuwait but China gets a pass? China now boldly proclaims that if the people of Taiwan have any dreams of independence, they will be crushed. How is it that we are in Afghanistan to help free a people from tyranny yet embrace communism in its worst form?
While I don’t suppose to have any of the answers to those questions, I find it troubling that no one else seems to be asking them.
China’s recent history has been no less troubling than that of many of the countries on today’s watch list such as Iran, Cuba, Syria, and North Korea. In fact, China is right now behind attempts in the United Nations security council to stonewall the imposition of sanctions against Iran.
With recorded events such as Tiannamen Square and the callous butchering of protesting students to the recently published accounts of American firms aiding Chinese thought police in the arrest and torture of at least three internet writers, China is about as far from a human rights defender as there could be. Free elections continue to elude the People’s Republic and will probably for our lifetime. Its people are told what they can read, as state censors numbering in the tens of thousands continually filter out what news can get into the country via the internet. Religion is not an option either, with many believers now imprisoned. Recent reports suggest China is harvesting organs from inmates in their prisons. The list goes on and on.
Add to that the massive military buildup, the new ports and bases that China is building globally, and its continued decimation of foreign economies through massive trade deficits caused in part by China’s own actions in regards to its currency, which, I may add, would have been tantamount to charges of trade warfare not so long ago.
The scenario is now very troubling. China is on the rise, and our biggest ally and defender, the United States is on the other end of the see-saw. Where does that leave not only Canada, but the free world?
Perhaps in Canada we, possibly soon to be the owners of the world’s largest oil deposits, can use that new found wealth and much needed commodity as leverage. With China eyeing Canada’s vast oil reserves with a palpable lust, perhaps we can now do what any free and democratic country not only should, but has a responsibility to do, and that is to insist that China become democratic if it wants any part of it. Without significant movement in the area of freedom and human rights, we should make it perfectly clear that they won’t see one drop .
Because if China stays a communist regime and prospers, then we are simply building up our enemy.