Why Can’t China and the U.S. work together?
The Uyghur re-education camps in Xinjiang are nothing new. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if China is honest when it claims they’ve been shut down. The rumor is many Uyghurs remain in them — voluntarily or not, we don’t know . They make solar panels (part of the reason they’re so cheap).
Initially I was happy to see the U.S. media finally report on alleged camps, where many innocent Uyghurs were separated from their families. As time went on, I realized Americans would never be told a simple truth — in the same situation, the U.S. would have done worse.
That is, if a group of Uyghurs flew to JFK Airport in New York City, in 2014, and knifed 35 people to death, Xinjiang would have been smart-bombed into rubble — with or without China’s permission.
Instead, 35 Chinese were knifed to death in the Kunming Railway Station and China put almost every Uyghur in prison until the government could make sure their every move would be tracked when released.
Now, we don’t know for sure who perpetrated the atrocities. This is generally true for most terrorist attacks. Saudi Arabian attacks the U.S. on 9/11 and we attack Iraq. Obama becomes President and rectifies the situation by doubling troops in Afghanistan. Maybe Americans are just bad with maps?
The point is, all governments detest terrorists. And all governments handle them with circuitous logic. There were rational reasons to attack Iraq, which addressed regional instability. There were rational reasons to invade Afghanistan even though Afghanis have never cared about the U.S. one way or another.
Anyway, I’m going out on a limb here to contradict what you may read in the news. China couldn’t give a copper farthing about those Afghanistan copper mines.
China only cares about Afghanistan for the same reasons the U.S. cared about Afghanistan — groups of bearded men with a mind to overthrow super-power friendly governments (or mafias in their mind).
A couple of years ago, when the U.S. did start talking about the Uyghur camps, it was only as a cheap shot taken in the general U.S/China trade war. Before that, the U.S. looked at Xinjiang as another Afghanistan; that is, it blissfully ignored it.
So yeah, when the U.S. brought up Xinjian, China was like, WTF bro.
Both the U.S. and China agree wholeheartedly that terrorist groups should be squashed. The problem is the other country’s handling of a terrorist groups is easy fodder for domestic criticism. The U.S. picks on Xinjiang and China picks on Afghanistan.
The U.S. has always had a distant and formal relationship with China. It’s now a bad relationship.
That aside, the realpolitik question remains. Which is better at combating terrorism, military strikes or prison camps?
Can we ever know?
Perhaps the United States, Russia and China will work together on a solution that meets all their needs. The U.S. can kill terrorist leaders with missiles. Russians can bomb the terrorist rank-and-file so they run right into Chinese re-education camps. In these camps, China will teach the misguided terrorists how to build solar panels and save the world! Win-win.
There’s as good a chance of that happening as fixing climate change any other way.
[this piece is satire]