First, Happy New Year to all my readers. And some news. Good news for the Uighurs. The EU has signed a massive trade deal with China. Xi Jinping has promised to adhere to International Labor Organization standards, which is proud of its “long-standing partnership” with founding-member China – obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. Crews to dismantle the concentration camp in which the Uighurs work are undoubtedly being assembled. China made similar promises to adhere to World Trade Organization standards when allowed to join, and proceeded for decades to violate WTO rules. It has signed the Paris climate accord and promised to lower its emissions – some day – while financing hundreds of coal-fired generating plants around the world. Xi promised never ever to militarize the islands China was building in the South China Sea, and proceeded to do just that and is threatening to deny access to routes through which 40% of world trade flows.
Of course, China might have some qualms about promises made by the EU: Germany, one of the richest countries in the world, promised America it would devote 2% of its GDP to cover its obligations to NATO, in return for American troops and cash to protect her from any Soviet effort to roll its tanks westward. Germany has never honored that commitment, and has no intention of ever doing so. Angela Merkel promised to make Russia suffer for seizing Crimea and invading Ukraine, and then proceeded to fund Putin’s upgrade of Russia’s military by making massive purchases of Russian natural gas.
All of which undoubtedly has rocked Biden back on his heels. Biden’s team had signaled the EU that a trade deal with China was not a good idea, setting itself up for a snub from countries eager to get the deal done before Biden moved into the White House. Biden now should know that his first trade deal can be with a Brexited Britain, with which it can reliably negotiate the high environmental and labor standards Democrats require in such deals. Or it can try the EU, which finds China’s climate-heating, slave-labor standards acceptable.