The Chinese government has sent a working group to Sudan to aid in the rescue of several Chinese nationals who have been abducted in the country, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.
Spokesman Liu Weimin said the working group, which is being led by the ministry and includes officials from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, or China’s cabinet, departed for Sudan on Monday evening. (Global Times)
Allow me to be deliberately provocative with a quick thought experiment. Instead of sending in a team of diplomatic negotiators to deal with the situation, what if China went with Plan B and sent in a crack group of killers to take out the bad guys? This is what President Obama decided to do with a hostage situation in Somalia last week.
Question: what would be the political fallout and media treatment of a similar Chinese operation? I suspect there would be some outrage, concern trolling, and (last but not least) maybe even some cheer leading by some neocons.
Note that in the case of the Somali operation, the legal basis for the U.S. action is confusing. There are compelling arguments on both sides.
Here’s another one. What if these particular Sudanese bad guys, as part of a negotiated release of the hostages, were allowed to walk? And then what if China waited six months and then smoked their asses like the Mossad did with the Munich Olympics terrorists in the 70s or, assuming for a moment that they had the technological capability, rained destruction down on their heads with aerial drones? (The U.S. has been doing the latter in both Somalia and Afghanistan for some time now. Once again the legal basis for such actions is unclear.)
My point here is that I would expect a great deal of criticism if China did in fact decide to emulate the U.S. I would not be at all surprised if those kinds of actions were condemned on various grounds, including state sovereignty and human rights. Heck, I could even see some sort of condemnation introduced via the United Nations.
And yet, in the case of the U.S., not only are aerial drone attacks and special forces strikes reported on as a matter of course, these actions are lauded and rarely questioned. The chest thumping in the U.S. is expected, but I’ve always found the tacit approval of the foreign press a bit odd. My cursory reading of the British press (here’s a sample) and international wire service reports of the Somali raid has uncovered no discussion of territorial sovereignty, the extent of discussions between the U.S. and Somali government, or international (or U.S. national) law implications.
So if it’s OK for SEAL Team Six to take out Somali “criminals,” (not sneer quotes — that is what they were called by the U.S. government), then I assume everything is fine with China doing the same thing when it develops such capabilities and decides to use them?