Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Spy Vs. Spy...US And China In Major Confrontation
China has summoned U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus ( you remember, the guy who admitted in his confirmation hearings he didn't know much about China) over criminal charges the U.S. government filed against five Chinese military officers, accusing them of hacking into American nuclear, metal and solar companies to steal trade secrets.
Formally 'summoning' the ambassador of a foreign country is a fairly serious diplomatic step, signifying major displeasure and designed as a message to the diplomat's country that all is definitely not well.
The fact that Baucus was summoned by the assistant foreign minister, Zheng Zeguang rather than the foreign minister Wang Yi is another message from the face conscious Chinese:
Zheng "protested" the actions by the United States, saying the indictment had seriously harmed relations between both countries, the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.
Zheng told Baucus that depending on the development of the situation, China "will take further action on the so-called charges by the United States".
It was the first criminal hacking charge that the United States has filed against specific foreign officials, and follows a steady increase in public criticism and private confrontation, including at a summit last year between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Zheng also accused the United States of being 'overbearing' and 'hypocritical', which is probably a pretty fair statement given what's come out about the Obama Administration's spying on other nations and even world leaders as well as its own citizens.
China's defense ministry also followed up with a fairly blunt statement denying the accusations and demanding that the charges be dropped.
China has also made its displeasure felt by suspending its cooperation with a joint group working on cyber-security.
The reality is that this was yet another abysmally stupid move by the Obama Administration, although at least no one appears to have gotten killed because of it - yet.
Is China spying on the U.S.? Undoubtedly. Are we spying on them? Of course we are. Great powers, even allies let alone enemies have used spies in all likelihood since the tribal days of the old Stone Age.
It's simply how things have been done for thousands of years.
The normal procedure for most nations when such spies are found out is simply to expel them from the country if they're foreigners or try them under espionage laws if they're citizens of the host country. And it happens all the time, under the euphemism of this or that military attache or diplomat being 'reassigned' or declared 'persona non grata' for whatever reason, or simply by having a foreign national's visa revoked.
Criminal charges, especially against foreign nationals of a nation we're not at war with, who are not in U.S. custody and whom China is certainly not going to extradite is an amateur and futile move that simply ratchets up tension for no good reason. It's especially a bad move when thanks to the debt the Obama Administration has racked up in 5 years, China now holds $1.27 trillion of our U.S. Treasury bonds and is our biggest foreign creditor.
Perhaps someone in the Obama regime will realize how stupid and futile this is and it will be allowed to fade away. One can always hope.