According to Reuters, yesterday , US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the Manufacturing Council (what Reuters calls a private sector advisory group) that China must help pay for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming:
"They've got to step up. They've got to pay for the cost of complying with global climate change. They've got to invest in energy efficiency and conversation, but also [take] very definitive steps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions" Locke decreed.
I must have missed it -- when did the US Army occupy Beijing? When does Hu Jintao go on trial? What else do we want from China besides their "stepping up" on global warming? Cancellation of our debts, maybe? Dream on.
Mr. Locke is not alone on the homily circuit. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when in India recently, was telling that country to step up also: “It is essential for major developing countries like India to also lead because over 80 percent of the growth in future emissions will be from developing countries."
The Indians have been unimpressed with US arguments, but the Chinese have been making cooperative noises on global warming lately. Since the present depression has hit their manufacturing sector rather hard, it could well be that the Chinese leadership is simply making happy talk that costs them (at present) absolutely nothing.
But, seriously, just what are Mr. Locke, Ms. Clinton and their pals thinking? Mr. Locke and Ms. Clinton aren't newspaper columnists, bloggers, actors or other nobodies, they are cabinet members of the United States government, speaking for that government -- making public demands of the sovereign governments of great powers; of the type normally made only at bayonet-point, after an unconditional surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship? This is particularly pertinent in the case of China, which has its own dire internal problems, and is apt to stand very much on its dignity when it comes to being ordered about in its own house by foreigners.
Is it any wonder that on so many issues, the Chinese are telling us, in diplo-speak, to piss-off? Is it any wonder that the Indians, aware that we need their help on Iran, and other matters, are somewhat dismayed at the talk coming out of Washington? Hopefully the government's representatives moderate their public tone somewhat; and we should hope, also, that the government which they represent moderates its fantasyland objectives.