Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Beijing's Great Game

"With breathtaking hypocrisy, US officials criticise China's ties with energy-rich regimes, including those of Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela...'China will not solve its problems by dealing with unsavoury regimes' [one senior US official told the FT]

This is an odd analysis of China's energy ambitions, on several counts. For a start, China almost certainly will solve its energy problems by dealing with unsavoury governments, especially as they include Iran. The US itself hardly has an exemplary record in ethical oil procurement - Saudi Arabia and Angola spring to mind...

US officials are right to declare that Chinese policy on energy and foreign affairs should ideally be based on morality and justice. The vital business of oil procurement, however, is the last place to look for such a change of heart. And the west has barely begun to set a good example".

Financial Times, 24 August

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