TOKYO: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has begun messing around with China's head. Recently his comment that there had been signs of "a disconnect" between China's military and civilian leadership caused tremendous indigestion. Of course he cleverly added the caveat that President Hu Jintao still appears to be "in command and in charge".
For all its bombast and bluster China still suffers from an excessive inferiority complex. On the one hand it tries to rule the roost at the Security Council by deliberately not living up to its obligations as a P-5 member. One the other it continues to whine that it is still an emerging nation. Such silly-bugger game-playing speaks to a schizophrenic mindset.
Gates was right when he openly referred to the disconnect between civilian and military leaderships, especially in troubling times such as these when China is merrily bribing failing nations and dictatorships with economic support in return for looting all natural resources. In Chinese parlance this is the precursor to eventual occupation and hegemonic expansion. From Pak, to Nepal to Bhutan to Indian states of Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, Chinese lust breathes hot and heavy in South Asia.
But with the US, China has a genuine sense of fearfulness.
Case in point: Just last week, as Gates was to meet with Hu and other top officials the Chinese state media published photos of the so-called debut flight of the J-20, the country's first radar-evading combat aircraft. However, a senior US defence official said Hu and other top civilians apparently were unaware of the test flight. Go figure. Is the Chinese tail wagging the dog?
As America starts to put the squeeze, China has begun squirming. So it was no wonder that the silly old waxworks grins were out in full force as China Pahty officials, who normally do not communicate in English, having discovered the wonders of tweeting sent this message of peace and love:
"America. China is not your enema".