Tuesday, August 10, 2004

China: does our government know what it is doing?

Today's edition of the US online news service, newsmax.com publishes a somewhat alarmist article entitled "China Rapidly Modernizes for War With US".

Arguing that there could be a full-blown war between China and the US as early as 2008, it makes an interesting contrast with the more measured study by the NTI, highlighted in this Blog, but the catalogue of armaments that China is acquiring makes sombre reading - and cannot be dismissed out of hand.

The article also makes it clear just how much EU member states are assisting China in its arm modernisation programme. And, for the first time in a popular US news source, we see an explicit reference to the EU's Galileo satellite positioning system in the context of Chinese military power.

This has been the subject of several Blogs but, apart from the mention in the Booker column, the mainstream media has yet to engage on this subject.

This is one of many issues in which our involvement in an EU project presents a potentially serious threat to US interests, and it is possibly significant that the US media is picking up on this one.

In the UK, however, one gets the impression that the government, aided and abetted by the media, is sleepwalking into a situation that could be highly dangerous. It could find itself on the wrong side of the divide if the balloon goes up and the cold war in the South China Sea suddenly goes hot.

Given the stunning silence on the subject, can we really be sure that our government knows what it is doing?

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