Thu Nov 29th, 2007 at 09:36:30 AM EST
This goes to the heart of it: Merkel meets the Dalai Lama, China gets all upset and people start complaining that she's upset the big bad Chinese and it might be bad for business:
Yet, in a sign that the standoff between Germany and China is set to worsen, Wen Jiabao, Chinese premier, indicated that the German government needed to “correct” its “mistake” of hosting the Dalai Lama.
“Germany is a friend and partner for strategic co-operation. Friends and partners sometimes do wrong things and make wrong remarks,” Mr Wen said at the end of a European Union-China summit in Beijing.
“But as long as they are aware of their mistakes and correct them, we will always treat them as friends and partners,” Mr Wen said.
In comments aimed at defusing tensions, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, foreign minister, told parliament he would “work to put aside the difficulties that have arisen recently” with China.(FT.com)
You don't pander to that sort of bullying: you explain your different view and politely tell them that they're wrong.
Now, wouldn't it be nice if Merkel and her Atlanticist friends would be as brave with the US?
I keep ranting about how insane the “macho realist” approach to foreign policy is. The basic principles of realism seems to be that narrow national self-interest is the be-all and end-all of foreign policy, that might makes right, that nations have no friends and that ethics and principles have no place in the discussion except as facile justifications for doing whatever you want to do.
The consequences of this sort of policy are obvious across the world: the “free and democratic” West™ prop up repressive anti-Communist dictators across the world in the name of freedom, arrange often bloody coups to overthrow left-wing governments in the name of democracy, support, train and become torturers in the name of human rights and require unfair concessions for our corporations in the name of free-trade. Then we wonder why the world laughs hollowly when we start preaching about Western values.
I believe that it is impossible for a foreign policy predicated on dishonesty and bullying to be effective in the long run: as far as I can tell most of the professional diplomatic corps agrees.