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The New World Order?

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The New World Order? Empty The New World Order?

Post  Panda Tue 3 Dec - 7:26

A Bloomberg News reporter accompanying David Cameron on his trip to China was barred from a joint press appearance with the Chinese premier. No 10 protested - and the Prime Minister reportedly raised the exclusion with China's president, Xi Jinping - but Mr Cameron's three-day trade trip continued otherwise as scheduled: smiles, ceremonial dinners and talk of shared interests.

Banning Bloomberg doesn't tell us much about the Chinese attitude to freedom that we didn't know. But what does it tell us about Beijing's attitude to Mr Cameron and the values of the country he leads? And what about the PM's timid response?

To win permission to visit China, Mr Cameron has already had to abandon any hint of sympathy for the Tibetan people. (This afternoon, he studiously avoided answering whether he had specifically raised the issue of Tibet and the Dalai Lama with Chinese officials.) Now he can only protest behind the scenes as his hosts demonstrate their contempt for press freedom.

Such realpolitik is hardly shocking. British foreign poilicy has almost always been pragmatic rather than principled. But what's significant about the China trip is the balance of power between host and guest.

We know the compromises Mr Cameron has made to make his trip this week (including delaying the Autumn Statement). What have his Chinese hosts given up in return? The answer is far from clear. Yes, there's talk of contracts and investments, notably on HS2. But the Chinese will demand a return on all such deals, as they should. That's a commercial exchange. Where is the exchange of values?

In terms of political principle, Mr Cameron's trip looks like a one-sided deal. Just another sign of Britain's place in the 21st century world order
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