China Accomplishes More With Loans Than Others Do At The Point Of A Gun…


Déjà vu? Maybe, but to those old enough to remem­ber, it sure seems like a sec­ond go-around of testos­terone-laden pos­tur­ing by two mil­i­tary super-pow­ers, and our diminu­tive Jamaica is once again caught in the mid­dle.

As part of his duties as the prac­ti­cal exec­u­tive head of state of Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness over the last few days have been on a 9‑day work­ing vis­it to the peo­ple’s repub­lic of China.
At the same time Admiral Craig Faller, com­man­der of the United States Southern Command, who vis­it­ed Jamaica issued a warn­ing to Jamaica.
Quote: “We see that oth­er exter­nal actors, oth­er regions of the world that do not share the same val­ues, are oper­at­ing in con­junc­tion with [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro for their own good.”
Russia is right there along­side con­tribut­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion, and China is in there as well as part of the dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign.” 

Interestingly, mil­i­tary peo­ple are not allowed to engage in pol­i­tick­ing in the United States. Additionally, Jamaica is not a state, nei­ther is it a ter­ri­to­ry of the United States.
Jamaicans are quite capa­ble of think­ing for them­selves and so Faller’s state­ments were gross­ly unwant­ed, con­de­scend­ing and out of order.

There are sev­er­al the­ses that could be writ­ten about the American-Jamaican expe­ri­ence, not the least of which occurred in the ’70s at the heights of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union in which Jamaica became a pawn.
The idea that Jamaica, and indeed many oth­er poor nations across Africa and Latin-America should be wary of per­ceived Chinese benev­o­lence goes with­out say­ing.
In a con­ver­sa­tion, I had with some friends recent­ly, I likened the Chinese expe­ri­ence to a [Trojan horse], I argued that indeed, Jamaica and Africa should be care­ful of the Chinese gifts and entreaties.
Already there are signs that Chinese mon­ey does come with ter­ri­ble strings many of which are still not vis­i­ble to its debtors.

The Chinese Belt and Road pact, part of a glob­al devel­op­ment ini­tia­tive is des­tined to be suc­cess­ful because like the ini­tia­tives of oth­ers, sup­pos­ed­ly aimed at nation-build­ing, it is not exe­cut­ed at the point of a gun.
In that stealth approach, how­ev­er, the Chinese may be par­tic­u­lar­ly dan­ger­ous to naïve nations in need.
There should be no doubt about Chinese expan­sion­ist ambi­tions not just in Jamaica, but across the globe. There should nev­er be any doubt that the Chinese are spread­ing around mon­ey with ulte­ri­or motives that ben­e­fit China, and sets China up as a glob­al coun­ter­weight to America’s hege­mo­ny.

It is not that Admiral Craig Faller is wrong on the mer­its. His temer­i­ty and gall made him wrong. As a vis­i­tor to Jamaica, Faller had no right to speak on polit­i­cal issues as if Jamaica is Guam, or Puerto Rico.
Jamaica is a small nation 4411 square miles and 2.7 mil­lion peo­ple. If the United States want­ed to use its pow­er and influ­ence for good, Jamaica could be a devel­oped state like Dubai or Singapore today.
Offering that kind of help through loans, grants, and tech­ni­cal exper­tise, the United States would not have to wor­ry about poor Jamaicans try­ing to enter the United States.
The United States has had its chance to be a bet­ter role mod­el to Jamaica, a fledg­ling Democracy mere­ly 57-years old.
After the 1970s which saw many small­er nations being used as pawns between the two com­pet­ing super-pow­ers, Jamaica demon­strat­ed that as a nation she was dia­met­ri­cal­ly opposed to Communism in 1980 when the American backed Edward Seaga of the JLP was elect­ed, win­ning 51 of the then 60 seats in the Legislature.
After eight years of the JLP, the Manley PNP was returned to pow­er. Since then stew­ard­ship of the coun­try has been shared between the two polit­i­cal par­ties.

The cold war end­ed under Ronald Reagan’s pres­i­den­cy which ran simul­ta­ne­ous­ly to Seaga’s stew­ard­ship of Jamaica. Contrary to the hype, the Soviet Union col­lapsed under its own weight rather than any­thing Reagan or any­one else may have done.
In the years ensu­ing since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has enjoyed a total and com­plete hege­mon­ic monop­oly across the globe.
During that time the United States has made tremen­dous strides mil­i­tar­i­ly, tech­no­log­i­cal­ly and oth­er­wise, acquir­ing untold wealth in the pri­vate sec­tor as it spreads its wings as the sole super­pow­er in the world.
At the same time, the tiny Island Nation of Jamaica, a short hop from America’s Florida shores has strug­gled with pover­ty, and crime aggra­vat­ed by the flood of ille­gal American guns.

America had a chance to demon­strate to the world that it stands with those who have stood by her.
Jamaica has always stood stead­fast­ly with the United States, she did so in the ear­ly years of world war two and again in the nine­teen-eight­ies when she resound­ing­ly reject­ed com­mu­nism.
Instead of help­ing Jamaica in a mean­ing­ful way to devel­op her infra­struc­ture, Roadways. Bridges. Water sup­ply. etc, America embarked on wars across the globe, many of which were total­ly unnec­es­sary.
In the mean­time, the United States treat­ed Jamaica as an unwant­ed stepchild. Deportations and dis­en­chant­ment are the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics that per­me­ate the rela­tion­ship between the two.
Still, because of the prospect of a bet­ter life, Jamaicans still line up in Liguanea, try­ing to get a visa to enter the United States. Despite pay­ing tremen­dous sums of mon­ey just to apply for a vis­i­tor visa only a tiny frac­tion of appli­cants are grant­ed a visa. The 90 plus per­cent who are denied a visa do not get their mon­ey back.

In response to Faller’s unso­licit­ed state­ments, the Chinese Embassy in Kingston issued a release in which they said the fol­low­ing. “Facts speak loud­er than words. Sino-Jamaica, Sino-Caribbean, and Sino-Latin American coöper­a­tion, which fea­tures equal­i­ty, trans­paren­cy, and mutu­al ben­e­fit, is con­ducive to region­al peace, sta­bil­i­ty, and devel­op­ment and will not be stopped by any force.”
“Irre­spec­tive of the inten­tions by Admiral Faller mak­ing those irre­spon­si­ble accu­sa­tions, China will con­tin­u­ous­ly and unswerv­ing­ly work togeth­er with Jamaica and oth­er Latin American and Caribbean coun­tries to joint­ly pro­mote the Belt and Road coöper­a­tion for shared ben­e­fits, con­tribut­ing to the build­ing of a com­mu­ni­ty with a shared future for mankind.” 

The inclu­sion of the terms, equal­i­ty and mutu­al ben­e­fit were par­tic­u­lar­ly res­o­nant in my opin­ion.
There is a per­cep­tion that in rela­tion­ships with the United States and small­er nations there is no equal­i­ty, or respect. Many see those rela­tion­ships as a take it or leave it affair.
Those per­cep­tions will, and have great­ly influ­enced the way poor­er nations respond to Chinese entreaties.
Trojan horse or not.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, a busi­ness own­er, avid researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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