Before either America or China embrace each other, there has to be true mutual respect, as distinguished from politically expedient respect, that is mutually beneficial. This is one critical relationship that cannot flourish by being limited to words alone. It is one that is based and developed on geopolitical and economic facts. The local domestic political reality of each ─ verbal and factual ─ are just the special national sauces each has to get used to, and trust.
China’s heightened technological capabilities were highlighted when it rerouted massive volumes of Internet traffic from both the U.S. government and military networks, including the Senate, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Secretary of Defense’s office, NASA, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and many U.S. companies like Microsoft to China in March and April of 2010. Such actions are anything but confidence builders. The incidents highlight the security vulnerabilities of the public Internet, which uses a trust-based system to route data from one server to another. Information follows the most efficient path, not necessarily the shortest, and servers advertise their ability to handle traffic. There are more than 100,000 routers in the world. Any one of them can be “spooked” to reroute traffic. The majority of Internet traffic in the world is routed through the U.S.
China Telecom sent erroneous messages that led servers around the world to route traffic through China in 2010. The tactic could be used to spy on specific users, disrupt communications or conceal a separate attack.
Wiki leaks release of U.S. State Department highly classified confidential cables didn’t do much to restore the already eroding trust. Accusing China’s Politburo of directing the 2010 cyber intrusions into Google’s computer systems as part of a “coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and internet outlaws,” something I had warned would happen in Custom Maid War and Feasting Dragon, Starving Eagle, is again shifting blame and responsibility from where it belongs ─ Washington and the Pentagon.
Mutual suspicion gets neither anywhere, especially closer to each other. This is not really surprising. After all, with the inherent built in different political systems, one party openly authoritarian, versus two party authoritarian disguised as democratic, there is bound to be mistrust. Both have to change politically and meet each other half way, politically and economically. America more autocratic and China more democratic. Both have to co-operate and reciprocate more ─ and teach each other how.
Positive reinforcement with co-operative positive acts repeatedly reinforced by each other are a lot more constructive and productive than political duplicity where the cheating by one party results in the other responding in kind ─ tit-for-tat.
American arms deals with Taiwan do not exactly motivate China to restrain North Korea, especially just because America the arms supplier wants and says so. After all, if America doesn’t listen, why should China? The fact that Obama has met with Hu more than any other foreign leader since the start of his presidency is meaningless if no trust is developed because of the failure of America to listen. China is not receptive to lectures, especially when America doesn’t listen. To make matters worse, Obama’s visit to the four largest Asian democracies in November ─ India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan ─ and skipping China only begs the question of trust more.