Friday, June 24, 2005

Pax Sinica? China Beats U.S. in European Popularity Contest

Wow! According to this survey, China is more popular among the public in 16 Western European countries than the U.S. This proves that anti-Americanism is remarkably widespread and deep in Europe. And it also suggests that the public, even in liberal democratic Western Europe, don't care very much about human rights violations, as long as they occur in other countries far far away or unless they are committed by the U.S.

OK, OK, that last bit is a little unfair. The same survey actually shows some improvement in the U.S.'s image and that the European public is not thrilled about the idea of China becoming a military rival to the U.S. Moreover, it also reflects the effectiveness of China's diplomatic and PR machine.

But the bottom line: China is not a liberal or democratic country. It is currently imprisoning a lot more people indefinitely in its laogai camps than the U.S. could hope to squeeze into Guantanamo. It has missiles pointed at Taiwan and continues to maintain a quasi-military occupation of Tibet. Oh yeah, they have the death penalty and the use it even more frequently and unfairly than Texas. So why do the European publics have such a favorable view of China?

Answer: Because Europeans do not really care all that much about U.S. human rights abuses, etc. What they really resent is American power and dominance and they would prefer anyone, even China, as a counterweight in order to teach those Americans a lesson. This is understandable. But careful what you wish for. Pax Americana may not be much fun, but I'm fairly confident a Pax Sinica would be far worse.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual I concur with Julian's assessment. The EU appears to be heading down the trail of behavior, so common in the middle east and elsewhere (and at times in the U.S. [i.e. hysteria against Japan in the '80s]) when conditions start hitting the skids. If someone is failing they don't mind grabbing at others on the way down. To whit, this interesting fiscal news about the EU:

"Foreign investment in France and Germany, the two largest economies of the European continent, fell sharply in 2004, according to figures released yesterday (23 June) by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. In France, inward investment almost halved last year, falling from $43bn to $24 bn. In the case of Germany, foreign investors actually withdrew about $39bn from the country, reversing the inflow of $27bn recorded in 2003, the OECD said in the report "Trends and recent developments in foreign direct investment". On the other side of the Channel, foreign direct inflows into the UK more than tripled, coming up to $78.5bn in 2004, according to the report.”

With economic reports like that, it's a wonder the EU isn't more frantic.

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