Jonathan Ray of the National Interest examines the question of how China builds weapons that it declares are immoral. “Why does China develop weapons systems that it opposes? China criticizes U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems, but conducted three BMD tests of its own from 2010 to 2014. China regularly supports a treaty to ban space weapons, but has repeatedly tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) system.”
Why? Because the Chinese have realized that given a choice between what is real and what is depicted on paper, Western leaders always believe the paper. Incredulously, unbelieving at first but with growing confidence they realized they can treat Western leaders with the same contempt that European traders once showed to primitive tribesmen in the Amazon or Congo rain forests.
The canny Fidel Castro, Putin or ISIS, like the Chinese understand that the Western elites have degenerated into a kind of superstition-ridden clique, as much in bondage to political correctness as those inhabitants of the Congo or Amazon were to their inchoate ideas which the European explorers ruthlessly exploited. Except now the situation is reversed. Today it is the inhabitants of great Western capitals who can be held at bay by nothing more than a few televised dramatics or a hashtag on Twitter, by a little sleight of hand.
For example, the Taliban have convinced the White House they are no longer terrorists, not by changing their deeds, but by simply intoning words.
“They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism. They do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained today, but “they have a different classification.”
Was there ever such a magic? Words are incredibly powerful in the West. Local shamans called lawyers can use sacred objects called precedents to achieve all manner of astounding things. With this supernatural fetish in hand, even ISIS may soon make demands on Western powers.
A debate is now ensuing on whether the United States started a precedent of cutting deals with terrorist organizations when they traded the “Taliban Five” for Bowe Bergdahl last summer.
“We traded five senior ranking Taliban commanders for Bergdahl, and now we’ve kind of set this precedent,” former Navy SEAL Dan O’Shea said. “The U.S. has a hard time to tell other countries to stick by our no concessions policy when we violated a policy in place for many, many years. So I see this as a challenging development and another slippery slide on the dangerous slope of making acquiescence to the demands of terrorist groups. You can expect more of this to follow.”
Pashtun tribesmen or Pakistani bureaucrats learned a piece of paper marked “Agreement” or “Memorandum of Understanding” can make European and American warriors as docile as sheep. Mark how the US has left Afghanistan, at times under fire, without a peep.