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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Guantanamo Bay vs. China


I was at a bus stop in the city with my Dad recently and happened to mention, within earshot of a young woman, that China has no qualms about grinding up the skin of executed prisoners and selling it to plastic surgeons in the west. The Guardian UK broke this story. It was also carried by World Tribune, Taipei Times, The Register UK, Times of India. This bit of trivia was an unwanted and unexpected eye opener for the young lady, as it should be. But it's an essential facet of the China engagement policy that must be considered by anyone trading with China (which includes just about all of us because it seems like almost every artifact found in any store carries the "made in China" sticker).

I'll start by saying that I have no illusions about the intent of the Guantanamo Detention center. It's clearly a Machiavellian beacon of an "ends justifies the means" administration. Nearing the end of that administration the question becomes; What do we do with it now? How best to end this?

I have a strategy that could offset the injustice that's been done:

Get China to call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

Develop, either by covert manipulation or by inept diplomacy, a public opinion in China that influences the government to pick the populist low hanging fruit of demanding the prison's closure.

Then close it.

With great fanfare and public headhanging, cave in to the demands of the Chinese government. The prisoners should be handed over to Chinese/UN troops, "rendered" back to China for the Chinese to give them a fair trial and determine their ultimate destiny.

In hopes that China would continue on the high road and do something honorable with these people (but knowing full well that they could also dispose of them in the usual manor. See above link to Guardian UK story)

Either or any result would highlight the US's ability to show contrition and China's (in)ability to act justly.

As I see it, it's a win win (you'll notice that's China win, US win, but no guarantee in this scenario for detainees to win). The trick would be getting China to take the bait. Once taken, as with any complex situation, the end would be highly unpredictable. But I don't see much of a negative residual for the US.

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