Chinese media seem to be biding their time on responding to Hillary Clinton’s internet-freedom speech in favor of focusing on the US Secretary of Defense today, Robert Gates, who is in India to promote military and cyber-security linkages with that rival to Beijing.
Accordingly, this Huanqiu article seems poised to become a dirge-theme, a drum-beat of sorts, mingling Chinese apprehension toward India, mistrust of the U.S., and angst over the cyber-attacks stories of late. It’s hard to see how the timing could be much worse in terms of ruffling China’s feathers.
Perhaps this is all perplexing to me because, thanks to some smart folks in Duluth, I’m in the process of reading Robert Dallek’s Partners in Power, an expose of the Kissinger-Nixon duo; the primacy of East and Southeast Asia in that period, with a healthy respect for the integrated nature of diplomatic events, seems to shine through this text rather clearly. This makes me wonder:
Is the Obama administration trying to actually mount a provocation to Beijing, having been stung by domestic critiques that they lay down for China’s censorship of the Chief’s visit to Shanghai? Or has the obsession with South and Central Asia gotten to them to the exclusion of everything else? Or (and I hope this is not the case) are they just clueless? It’s easy enough to critique the Chinese leadership for its awkward response to the Google incident, but for Gates to slide into New Delhi and bang the gong of cyber-cooperation with the Indians right on the heels of Hillary’s veiled critiques of Beijing is only going to feed the nationalistic discourse in China and add to the fantasies of a world ganging up unfairly on the PRC.
See also: Huanqiu Shibao, 美印视中国为“网络敌人” 加紧合作制衡中国 [U.S.-India regard China as an ‘Online Enemy’; Emergency Cooperation to Check/Contain China]