Monday, August 16, 2010

One Step Up, Two Back

Since the initial engagement with China in 1979, the argument that our engagement will benefit them socially and culturally has been trumpeted as part of the intangible benefits that will accrue from mutual engagement. A generation later, and most folks are still waiting for real social and cultural change.

This article offers part of the same, tired nonsense. This is not to suggest that we shouldn't have formal relations with communist China. On the contrary, ignoring them for thirty years was insanity. All the same, we shouldn't kid ourselves that a society as old and deeply averse to change, in particular change coming from outside the cultural boundaries of China, will be open to non-Chinese social and cultural norms.

Furthermore, I have always been of the opinion that we should formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation-state, supporting their presence in the UN. Also, we should open formal diplomatic relations with Cuba, lifting the generations old embargo (the sugar lobby isn't a big fan of the open market competition from Cuban sugar). If engagement can lead to change in China, why not Cuba? After all, it isn't like the embargo has succeeded in Cuba, right?

Holding up a change in one particular practice of domestic justice in China as indicative of a sea-change is the kind of thing that people who want to see change grasp without any real thought.

Virtual Tin Cup

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