Ben Judah writes an interesting entry in the European Council on Foreign Relations site, reporting a Chinese official’s comment on the Libya intervention:
“What we are really angry about is that we have spent a large amount of time trying to convince North Korea that they can give up nuclear weapons and they will not be attacked by the West. We were using the Libyan example. Now we cannot. This is a real blow to East Asian security, thank you very much,”
Another significant observation he makes is that:
“Most analysts in Moscow and Beijing struggle to take Western idealism at face-value. This seems to me only partially due to the grim realities most interventions produced. Chinese and Russian politics itself has been devoid of idealism for almost twenty years, and those that wrap themselves in the flag or any cause are cynically suspected of ulterior motives.”
Perhaps this is a legacy of Communism’s ideological defeat that hasn’t been noted so much before, but which can cause misunderstandings about motives in foreign policy. Despite its weaknesses in some areas, ‘old Europe’ was encouraged by the outcome of the Cold War to continue to see itself as a leader in global ‘values’ and this still feeds into popular and elite ideas on how it should act in the world.
One response to “A Chinese perspective on the Libya intervention”
China might have got upset as they were seeing Libya as their own economic target (as they do in Algeria for gas). When the former Italian finance minister went to China to lobby the Chinese to purchase Italian bonds, the invitation by the Chinese Government was for Italy to include in economic restructuring the sale of golden shares in strategic companies such as Italian oil giant ENI (the biggest oil producer in Libya)… basically a strategic come back from the backdoor!