That the China conversation has yet to enter Black public policy discourse is a fact that is beginning to frustrate this blog. We'll be taking steps to reverse that trend. But, in the meantime, we certainly appreciate the Washington Post's stab at it. There is a growing Chinese economic presence in the African Diaspora that can not be ignored if we are to realize a Diaspora free of political repression, gaping poverty and destructive disease. China's ultimate goal is control of Africa's resources in an effort to feed a voracious domestic appetite and exploding population - encouraged mostly by a subtle liberalization of policies by the Communist regime and the expansion of a stable middle-class. It's not that we oppose a sovereign country's right to grow and prosper on its own terms; it's that we oppose that government's attempt to do so at the expense of others. This is certainly the case in Africa, where repressive and murderous juntas continue to reign unabated in a geopolitical environment where China's obliviousness doesn't help the situation. We are also finding China dabbling in Caribbean affairs as well with little return and gain realized by the poor and dispirited working masses. A recent 6.12.06 Jamaica Observer article reports:
Although Taiwan is self-governing, Beijing considers the island part of China and refuses to have diplomatic relations with some 25 governments that recognise it. In recent years, Caribbean nations, including Grenada and Dominica, have switched to the Chinese camp after Beijing offered them financial aid.
China also established a small military presence in the Caribbean when it deployed 200 troops to Haiti under the auspices of a U.N. peacekeeping force.
That African American policy thinkers and public officials - particularly those who profess an interest in Diaspora affairs and its critical linkage to Black political, social and economic success in the U.S. - have said little, if anything, on the topic is unacceptable. We may have to pull a Lou Dobbs ...
The role of the African American political intelligentsia could be much more significant and two-fold. First: building a stronger movement against the existence of repressive regimes throughout the Diaspora. That will start upon the elimination of cultural denial and embarrassment surrounding the subject. Yet, many African American public figures, prominent thinkers and officials are afraid that acknowledgement of these regimes will reinforce Western stereotypes and perceptions of a backwards people.
Second: an expanded and aggressive foreign policy role could be significant in curbing Chinese exploitation through engineering stronger and more lucrative trade, economic and political ties between the U.S. and countries in Africa and the Caribbean. We understand that's a difficult sell considering the nature of many governments and dictators in these regions. But, lack of discourse on the topic is definitely stifling any collective effort or action.