Ruling the South China Sea today – the waves tomorrow


South China Sea.jpg

A map of the South China Sea

Amazingly there is almost no news today from Egypt; every newspaper has stories about Sudan, but no words for Cairo. If I believed in conspiracy theories this would fit the mold of some grand conspiracy – maybe one invented by Al-Jazeerah, the Associated Press or possible Rupert Murdock’s boys in London.  It was the news yesterday,  the demonstration and its meaning to Egypt’s future  – was it just a media construct?  There is one Egyptian story making the rounds today – the government of Egypt is resisting pressure from the Gulf States to put off or cancel a Mubarak trial.  It must fit somewhere in the scheme of things, but I am not sure where in light of yesterday’s events.   The silence makes no sense to me, did nothing happen yesterday, did no one come to Tahrir Square?

Well, it gives an opportunity to sneak in another Chinese update; China and the Philippines have signed an agreement to “make joint efforts to safeguard peace and stability in the region of the South China Sea in accordance with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”  Lately China and Vietnam have been disagreeing about the region – China accused the Vietnamese of being aggressive and violating the peace of the region.   Talk about a change of heart – China is now aligned with the Philippines and is treating Vietnam like an enemy.  The agreement between China and the Philippines also includes investment in each others economies and increased trade – no mention of the United States at all.  The Philippines is clearly declaring its independence and recognizing the place of China as the power of the region.

Last week a deal between Microsoft and a Chinese company was announced and Microsoft caught some flack over the deal; it was accused of caving in to Chinese censorship.  The Chinese are more than a little sensitive on the subject, insisting China has every right to create its owns laws in accordance with Chinese history and culture.  Criticism from the west and the Chinese response are getting to be very predictable.  However, things are changing whether we realize it or not; China is becoming more powerful and influential – as indicated by the agreement with the Philippines as much more than the agreement with Microsoft.  We can complain as much as we want, but there is a growing number of nations, corporations and individuals who want to do business with China and see China as the future.  Some are willing to exchange doing business with China for doing business with the United States.  They may not want to, but if we force them they will. Here is a quote from a Chinese intellectual on the subject and it certainly seems to me that he is right, right not just about companies, there are also countries willing to step in and fill the vacancy.

“Criticizing a country’s regulation has no impact on business development as different countries have different sets of rules in accordance with their own situation. The world is now an open market. If US companies reject China for alleged moral issues, others will fill in the vacancy.”

The world is changing very quickly, we might profit by spending more time thinking about the world as it is and stop acting as if was the same as it was 20 years ago.  Internally, we need to get past the endless polarized political debates over budgets and start to deal with the really important issues in the world.

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