Monday, April 30, 2012

What Harm Could One Blind Man Do?

Tensions have been rising the past few days among two of the most powerful nations in the world. The United States and China are facing a diplomatic crisis over the actions and escape of a blind Chinese dissident who is seeking U.S. asylum. Chen, who has faced “unsanctioned”, by the national government at least, house arrest escaped last week and made his way to Beijing. During this time, many people helped him to reach the location and avoid capture. None of these people were breaking any laws, yet many of them have been arrested on trumped up charges.

People around the world are in an outcry about the civil rights violations that this case is bringing to light. Many people, including diplomats such as Mitt Romney, are arguing that the United States, as a world power, needs to take a stand against the oppressive nature of the Chinese government. President Obama and Secretary Clinton are currently in talks with the Chinese government to resolve this situation, but the “incident” has already caused backlash. People around the world are using this to show the lack of law and ethics in China, where the Chinese government is using this to question their sovereignty and the right of the United States to interfere in an internal matter.

Obama faces hard choices in promoting the American ideals on the world stage that his grand strategy has focused on, while still maintaining a cordial relationship with China. There has always been a fine line that has been diplomatically taken with China by American politicians; due to the economic ties the United States has with the country. Because of this, and the major power that China has amassed militarily, the United States has been hesitant to push for change or push for “ethical” violations; hoping that the capitalist market will lead to a gradual change.

Unfortunately, this incident puts this relationship into question. With the question of asylum for Chen, the Untied States must choose between ideals and reality. If Chen is given to the Chinese he will end up punished, dead or back under “unsanctioned” house arrest; despite any assurances that the government of China gives. That being said, many Americans will call for the protection of this one man because it is the “right” or “idealist” thing to do.

Two major security and defensive concerns occur because of this problem. Firstly, if the United States loses face with China, and loses the diplomatic connections, then the economy of America stands to take a major hit. China holds a majority of the Untied States debt and produces much of the U.S. goods. If there is any embargo or retaliation made by the Chinese government, then it will lead to major unrest in the nation. Also, there is the possibility that Chinese “gangs” will try and take Chen back from the embassy, causing an international incident and bloodshed that could lead to aggressive action. Right now, China and the US are uneasy friends who have been sizing each other up across the world. Connecting to each other, but preparing for an altercation between the democratic megalith and the great communist bastion present in the world. If this confrontation happens, the economic problems will not be the worst issue, rather it will most likely spill into another world war.
Also, less likely, is that this action causes the Chinese dissidents to rally and another Tienanmen Square incident to occur. With the apparent support of democracies around the world, the dissidents may think they have a chance at causing change in the government. At best this could lead to riots, and at worst civil strife. The disruption caused within China will cause a rippling effect in the world economy that will greatly affect the United States. This unrest will weaken the US' ability to defend against attacks or insurrection, creating an opportunity for enemies of America to take advantage of the chaos. These chaotic times could lead to other terrorist attacks.

Seattle Times
The Atlantic

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