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Major Obama Appeasement Offensive Set for China

11:06 AM, Sep 24, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Yesterday Sarah Palin delivered a major speech with what Rogin says "included some of the most critical statements about the Chinese Communist Party by a American political leader in years." She talked bluntly about China's massive military build-up and the threat it poses to America's allies and she alluded to Chinese abuses in Tibet and East Turkestan.

Today we will likely hear a very different message from Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg. Steinberg is speaking at the Center for a New American Security shortly before noon on "China's Arrival: The Long March to Global Power." Though it's not clear how far Steinberg will go in his speech, which comes just 24 hours before he departs for an official visit to China, an authoritative source tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the Obama administration is considering a major reorientation of U.S. policy toward China.

According to this source, the Obama administration views China as "a partner, if not an ally," and plans to open a new era of cooperation rather than competition with the ChiComs. Our source points to Hillary Clinton's July 15 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations as the "foundational document" for this new approach. In her "smart power speech," Clinton said,

"We will also put special emphasis on encouraging major and emerging global powers - China, India, Russia and Brazil, as well as Turkey, Indonesia, and South Africa - to be full partners in tackling the global agenda. I want to underscore the importance of this task, and my personal commitment to it. These states are vital to achieving solutions to the shared problems and advancing our priorities - nonproliferation, counterterrorism, economic growth, climate change, among others. With these states, we will stand firm on our principles even as we seek common ground."

In the case of China, however, it is not at all clear that the administration plans to stand firm on our principles. The president has already refused a meeting with the Dalai Lama (while welcoming the foreign minister of the Burmese junta to the White House), there has been no movement on arms sales to Taiwan despite a very real looming deadline on both sides of the deal, and India is being put back in the AfPak box rather than elevated as a balancing power.

So what's next? The most immediate effect may be a rollback on the defense cooperation initiatives with India and Japan that began during the Bush administration. "Balance of power considerations are a thing of the past," this source said, summing up the view inside the administration. Therefore such initiatives, which sought closer cooperation with the region's two democratic powers in an attempt to balance the growing threat from China, will no longer be necessary -- and will in fact be counterproductive to achieving harmonious cooperation between the United States and China in "tackling the global agenda" (read: climate change, Iran, and North Korea).

But what's to stop the Obama administration at removing minor irritants like stepped up defense cooperation with our allies in the Pacific? If China is a partner -- or even an ally -- then it will be necessary to treat them as an ally. The 2000 National Defense Authorization Act put serious restrictions on military to military cooperation between the United States and China. Will the administration push to rollback certain of those provisions?

Perhaps Obama will go further -- in for a dime, in for a dollar. Stopping arms sales to the "splittists" on Taiwan would be the least we could do for our new friends on the mainland. Ending the EU arms embargo, which remains in place only because of the strong pressure brought to bear by the Bush administration, would be the logical next step. After all, what really defines an alliance is the transfer of defense technology, and if the Obama administration goes down this road, arms deals between Washington and Beijing -- as ridiculous as that sounds -- can't be ruled out.

The foreign policy portion of Palin's speech can be found below. Important excerpts here and here.

So far, I've given you the view from Main Street, USA. But now I'd like to share with you how a Commonsense Conservative sees the world at large.