In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Cameron tries out his Chinese

Posted by seumasach on December 5, 2013

Cailean Bochanan

5th December, 2013

Who said that we Brits are slow when it comes to speaking foreign languages! It’s particularly gratifying for me to see David Cameron in China trying out his Chinese, touting for business for some of his cronies, and pointedly neglecting to mention the Dalai Lama. Could it be that he is finally following my call in these columns for a strategic partnership with China? Are we seeing Britain finally embracing multipolarity in a historic geostrategic compromise? If the Foreign Office are now coming round to my way of thinking let us hope that they embrace it with all the zeal of the belated convert. But will the Chinese reciprocate?
An article in Global Times suggests not:

“We’ve discovered that Britain is easily replaceable in China’s European foreign policy,” said the editorial in the newspaper’s Chinese edition. “Moreover, Britain is no longer any kind of ‘big country,’ but merely a country of old Europe suitable for tourism and overseas study, with a few decent football teams.”

However, I would suggest that China is just playing hard to get and not even that hard judging by the spate of investment already on the way here. What’s in it for China, apart from the endless stream of basement price gold? Geopolitics,silly! I have the impression that the Chinese see the old imperial power as a major influence over the USA and potentially a focus for neo-con deadenders seeking to reverse Obama’s historic shift towards a realist foreign policy. They would then be particularly keen to neutralize it. They also wish to make it quite clear that inward investment comes with strings attached namely, non-intervention in China’s internal affairs.
Cameron I believe understands this. Britain is in no position to maintain it’s right to pontificate on human rights,to go on throwing stones, although he must make an occasional nod to public opinion back home. He has also understood what’s at stake for us:
“Britain, having had some very difficult years, having suffered badly in the crisis, is on a mission to rebuild.”
He appears to have grasped the relationship, which I have been pointing out for some time, between reconstruction at home and strategic partnerships abroad: it’s not just about selling a few sausages from Melton Mowbray.
He has also grasped that Britain’s attractiveness for inward investment depends on continued membership of the EU. This is a difficult question for Cameron. The British oligarchy has long demonized the EU in favor of the Wall Street/City of London axis. But their campaign to knock out the Euro failed and Obama has since signaled the end of the special relationship. Cameron’s pose as a representative of the EU promoting free trade may appear to be just a piece of impertinence but it is a clever way of signaling to China his commitment to Europe without triggering alarm bells back home amongst a still eurosceptic public. Whilst Cameron is busy marginalizing the Labour Party and the left, ably abetted by Alex Salmond and his devo-max agenda which will help keep Scottish radicals out of Westminster, his main problem is to marginalize the right,UKIP and  his own eurosceptic wing, if he is to build on the China partnership.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: