Sunday, June 26, 2005


This can't be good:

WASHINGTON, June 25 - President Bush's initial response to the proposed takeover of a major American oil company by a Chinese rival has been to duck. It is not hard to see why.

The $18.5 billion offer by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation for Unocal,
which had already made a deal to be acquired by the American oil giant, Chevron,
is forcing the administration to confront its own internal rifts over whether China should be viewed as friend, foe or something in between.

It is putting a spotlight on a host of related economic and foreign-policy issues - from North Korea's nuclear program to America's growing dependence on foreign capital and the upward pressure on gasoline prices caused by China's thirst for oil - that defy easy solutions.

Hardly a week goes by without Mr. Bush vowing to make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy, so any deal that increases that dependence - or is even perceived as doing so - would create a problem for him.

Especially in view of this from Bill Gertz:

China is building its military forces faster than U.S. intelligence and military analysts expected, prompting fears that Beijing will attack Taiwan in the next two years, according to Pentagon officials.

U.S. defense and intelligence officials say all the signs point in one troubling direction: Beijing then will be forced to go to war with the United States, which has vowed to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.

China's military buildup includes an array of new high-technology weapons, such as warships, submarines, missiles and a maneuverable warhead designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Recent intelligence reports also show that China has stepped up military exercises involving amphibious assaults, viewed as another sign that it is preparing for an attack on Taiwan.

"There's a growing consensus that at some point in the mid-to-late '90s, there was a fundamental shift in the sophistication, breadth and re-sorting of Chinese defense planning," said Richard Lawless, a senior China-policy maker in the Pentagon. "And what we're seeing now is a manifestation of that change in the number of new systems that are being deployed, the sophistication of those systems and the interoperability of the systems."

China's economy has been growing at a rate of at least 10 percent for each of the past 10 years, providing the country's military with the needed funds for modernization.

While the New York Times tends to couch such things in political terms, I would like to think that the administation sees this deal as exactly what it is - incompatable with national security.

While we must deal with China economically at some level, to let them control a major oil company would be sheer madness.

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