Re: Strings Attached?

David Dollar: You know I think any big country that's providing assistance has its own national interests. That's true for China. It's  true for the United States. It's true for France and other countries. I don't mean to just pick on those. So I think the recipient governments are aware of this. Personally I think it's a little bit patronizing to be worried that African countries cannot manage Chinese assistance. It's  like somehow big brother from the United States and Europe has to keep an eye on the Africans. I don't accept that. I think African countries can mange this relationship. I am sure the Chinese will make some mistakes in Africa, but it really depends on African governments, African societies to try to manage that. Now having said that, it is clear the Chinese are trying to establish ties with a number of countries that have oil and gas reserves some of which, from my point of view, have rather poor governance, such as Sudan, Angola. I am not sure Zimbabwe has oil and gas, but certainly it's  an important partner for China. And as a friendly observer, I tell my Chinese friends that I don't think trying to lock in oil and gas supplies from some of these countries is a very smart strategy for any country. They all possess rather minor amounts of oil and gas compared to the whole world set of reserves. They're only a few countries that really have major reserves. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait. Almost everybody else is a small player. So locking in supply from a small player doesn't have any big effect on the equation. And I think the whole notion of locking in supplies is a little bit illusory. If the government changes in any of these countries, then the fact that the Chinese supported the previous government may very well come back to haunt them. So I see China perhaps making some of the mistakes that France, and the United States, and other big powers have made. And my own personal view is you don't get security of supply by trying to lock in a relationship with some of these unstable governments. I think real security of supply comes from well-functioning markets, and it'sin the interest of all the big economic powers to have well functioning markets in oil and gas. That's the best hope for security in world energy markets over the next couple of decades.

Recorded on: 7/3/07

 

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