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America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

China, Oil, Sudan, Scorched Earth, Genocide

Revised, Sunday April 23
When George II welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House this week, the smiles were on ostentatious display. Many people worry about China, and the Chinese have indeed been engaged in some abominable things, but not the things that American protectionists are concerned about. For instance, a few years ago China bankrolled the Sudan Arab Muslim elite's killing spree against African Christians in the south of the country. Tribes there had the misfortune to live on the oil fields that China has its eyes on. The Chinese government supplied Khartoum with lots of cash and weapons so its forces could run the occupants off their lands, slaughtering the people in the process. It was a nasty campaign, and the Chinese were in the thick of it. The background is here in this Washington Post story from 2004. Some excerpts:
Sudan is China's largest overseas oil project. China is Sudan's largest supplier of arms, according to a former Sudan government minister. Chinese-made tanks, fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades have intensified Sudan's two-decade-old north-south civil war....

In the case of Sudan, Africa's largest country, China is in a lucrative partnership that delivers billions of dollars in investment, oil revenue and weapons -- as well as diplomatic protection -- to a government accused by the United States of genocide in Darfur and cited by human rights groups for systematically massacring civilians and chasing them off ancestral lands to clear oil-producing areas....

Part of a broader push by China to expand trade and influence across the African continent, its relationship with Sudan also demonstrates the intensity of China's quest for energy security and its willingness to do business wherever it must to lock up oil....

The pressure to find new sources of oil has grown as China has swelled into the world's second-largest consumer and as production at the largest of its domestic fields is declining. According to government statistics, China's imports have grown from about 6 percent of its oil needs a decade ago to roughly one-third today and are forecast to rise to rise to 60 percent by 2020.

"China confronts foreign competition," said Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Contemporary International Relations Institute, which is based in Beijing and affiliated with the state security system. "Chinese companies must go places for oil where American [and] European companies are not present. Sudan represents this strategy put into practice." ...

Sudan's bloody north-south conflict began long before China arrived, but oil has dramatically increased the stakes as well as the government's ability to pursue the battle. The war is a struggle over the resources of the south, pitting the mostly Muslim, Arab elite that runs the government in Khartoum against the largely Christian and animist African tribes who live in the lower half of the country....

As the oil began to flow, Sudan relied on Chinese assistance to set up three weapons factories near Khartoum, Ryle said. Human rights groups say oil receipts have helped pay for a government-led scorched-earth campaign to remove mostly ethnic Nuer and Dinka tribes from around the oil installations. The goal is to deprive the rebels of a base of support in their bid to attack the industry and undermine the government's oil revenue.
As an earlier commenter here pointed out, last year the Sudanese government entered into a treaty with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army/Movement, leading, according to Wikipedia, to "the formal recognition of Southern Sudanese autonomy."

Government genocidal violence continues in Darfur in the west, and China remains an ally of Sudan. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) (Jan. 21, 2005), "Most of China's [oil] holdings are in southern Sudan, but some are in the western region of Darfur." HRW adds, "As an emerging power increasingly seeking a global role, Beijing should recognize that its economic concerns must give way to the imperative of stopping the slaughter of the people of Darfur. The alternative—quenching China's thirst for oil with the blood of the people of Darfur—is too awful to contemplate."

Oil from the beginning has been a government-business partnership, not an authentic free-market industry. Much of the modern history of the Middle East is a saga of Britain and the U.S. teaming up with evil local governments, to the prejudice of regular people, in pursuit of oil and money. China carries on this time-honored tradition without the free-enterprise facade. Mercantilism, once again, can be blamed for something horrible.

Postscript: From Sunday's Washington Post:
The China National Petroleum Co. is a big investor in Sudan's oil fields and owns most of an oil field in southern Darfur. CNPC and the Sinopec Corp., another Chinese state-owned firm, helped build a newly opened pipeline from the south -- where much of Sudan's oil is located -- to Port Sudan. China also is a major arms supplier to Sudan and has used its U.N. Security Council clout to protect Sudan from global pressure and weaken threats of oil sanctions.

1 comment:

JoeTKelley said...

Thanks for the info.

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