“China is a bully,” says Scottish journalist Stephen Daisley, writing in The Spectator, and “the sooner the West understands that, the sooner we can begin to push back.“
I think that much, even most of the West does understand that. The evidence has been mounting for years, starting with China’s push into the contested waters of the South China Seas and including China’s use of ‘hostage diplomacy’ against Canada. Perhaps the extent of China’s bullying is more obvious to most people than Mr Daisley thinks.
Certainly, here in Canada, many respected commentators seem to get it. For example, Terry Glavin, writing in the Ottawa Citizen notes that “Well, here we all are, nearly half way through the Year of the Plague, and owing to the dreariness of any survey of the so-called world stage – with its cast of blood-soaked tyrants, buffoons and mediocrities, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comically vain estimation of his own exalted and rightful place among them – some good news would be welcome …[and, he says, there is some and ] … we should take at least some small measure of courage and comfort from the one unambiguously cheery event that occurred this week. It was a modest but strangely moving inauguration ceremony, in Taipei, at the former palace of the Japanese imperial governor-general. While Xi Jinping and his generals across the Taiwan Strait were wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth, Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s incumbent president, formally embarked upon her second term as the most courageous, principled and competent leader of any country on the face of the Earth.” Much of the world celebrated. meanwhile, in
cloud-cukoo-land Trudeau-land, the foreign minister was forbidden to even say the name Taiwan as he struggled to gracelessly express some gratitude to that country for donating personal protective equipment that actually worked, unlike that which the Trudeau regime purchased from China.
Over in the Globe and Mail, Andrew Coyne says that “When it comes to relations with China, there would appear to be two choices. On the one hand, there is the position of the Liberal government and certain corners of the business community: a hazy mix of complacency, denial and appeasement … [while] … On the other hand, there is the position associated with Donald Trump and his advisers, but increasingly taken up by more respectable sections of conservative opinion. In this view, it is not sufficient indictment of China’s dictatorship that it imprisons and tortures dissidents, that it threatens Taiwan or interferes in Hong Kong, or interns its own Muslim-minority Uyghurs.” It’s important to note that, as dumb as he is ~ and I assert that President Trump is a truly stupid man, albeit an incredibly sly, crafty one, who makes that proverbial bag of hammers look smart ~ he can, like a stopped clock, be right now and again. On how China lied to the world about the novel-coronavirus, President Tump is very likely mostly right. Justin Trudeau, on the other hand is a simpering, sycophantic simpleton who is on his knees in front of Xi Jinping, hoping that he will not foil Trudeau’s bid for a worthless, temporary, second class seat on the United Nations Security Council.
In the first choice, the Trudeau view, Mr Coyne explains “China is either the next global hegemon or a useful counterweight to American dominance, or at any rate a mouthwatering business opportunity. It is also in a position to do us one or two favours, such as supporting our bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council … [therefore] … it won’t do to make too much of a fuss over China’s repression of dissent at home or adventurism abroad. Far better to understand and engage this emerging giant than to risk alienating it … [and he explains, very correctly, that] … This is the age-old position of the China hands at Global Affairs. It remains the position, even now, of certain of this government’s advisers. It is how you get a Foreign Affairs Minister who cannot even say the word “Taiwan” in public, a Health Minister who dismisses suggestions that China is fudging its COVID-19 numbers as conspiracy theories and a Prime Minister who soft-pedals criticism of China on everything from its cover-up in the pandemic’s early stages to its long history of espionage in this country to its more recent campaign of intimidation against Chinese-Canadian human-rights activists.“
While, Amdew Coyne says, a few Trump cronies, like insider Peter Navarro, float nearly insane conspiracy theories, “even more temperate China hawks seem to have concluded, with Mr. Trump, that the answer to China’s outrages and abuses is to raise barriers to its exports, or that the lesson of the pandemic is not that we should have been better prepared but that we should not have been so exposed – as if China’s manufactured goods themselves carried a kind of virus.” Those “more temperate China hawks” would include …
… Australia’s Scott Morrison, the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen and Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, all of whom have called for an international investigation into the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including China’s (perceived, possible) role in failing to contain that spread.
Here in Canada, at least two political leaders have got things right:
… Alberta Premier Jason Kenney formally and very publicly thanked Taiwan ~ he didn’t have any trouble saying the name Taiwan ~ for providing useful aid (personal protective equipment) to Canada and Conservative Party leadership hopeful Erin O’Toole has promised to get tough on China.
IF Premier Kenney continues to play a string leadership role in Canadian politics and IF Mr O’Toole becomes Conservative leader and, eventually, prime minister, and IF both continue on their current courses then there will be repurcusions: China will punish Canada if, as should happen, Huawei is banned from our 5G network; China will punish Canada if leaders continue to support Taiwan; China will punish Canada if Meng Wanzhou is extradited to the USA. It will not just be trade sanctions ~ they’re tricky for China because it needs oil and pork and grain and so on ~ and it will not just be hostage diplomacy , but if Canada bans Wuawei I expect the two Michaels …
… Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to disappear and more innocent Canadians may follow them into Chinese prisons. The Chinese can and will make Canada’s life difficult in the world. Canada will almost never get to sit at the “top table” in inyernational organiatiosn where, for 75 years and moe, we have played leadership roles. As Terry Glavin says, “China’s candidates have taken the top jobs at the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN Industrial Development Organization” and at the Food and Agrigulture Organization. I’m not suggesting that Houlin Zhao, the ITU’s Secetay General, is not well qualified. I know for a fact that he is a well regarded “old hand” in the global telecom community … but he is still a Chinese official and the reach of the old men in the Zhongnanhai, the walled compound in. Beijing from which Xi Jinping and his inner circle operates, is long and their grip is firm.
Canada, as a global and (relatively) free trading nation relies upon international organizations to manage the world order. Canada is used to be being heard and Canada has worked hard to make the liberal world order work to Canada’s advantage. Justin Trudeau wants to keep it that way. He is willing to bow and sacrape to Xi Jinping in e]return for some Chinese table scraps in terms of trade and that worthless UNSC seat.
I hope that the principled opposition in Canada …
… will unite behind the traditional, principled, bipartisan policies that served Canada for 50 of the last 75 years and will unite FOR freedom, FOR democracy, FOR liberty and FOR Canada … not for China and not for short-term, ephemeral political goals.
The whole process starts with the recognition of one simple fact: China is a bully. Most of us learned, as kids and/or as parents, that see can and should, indeed must stand up to bullies. Apparently its a lesson that Chrystia Freeland, François-Philippe Champagne, Ahmed Hussen, and Patty Hajdu never learned or have been told to forget by Justin Trudeau, the puppet who is being manipulated by the gang that gave us Jean Chrétien, Kathleen Wynne and Denis Coderre.
Canadians know what to do … but they need to be confident that they can have leaders who will do the right things and do things right, too.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about restoring confidence in Canada.