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OPINION: President Ali in China: the PPP breathes life into the PNC

Last Updated on Monday, 31 July 2023, 16:43 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

I had repeatedly warned the top leadership in the PPP Government, President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo.  The message was the same: beware the Chinese Dragon.  Embedded in that message was another: beware even more the American Eagle.  Both leaders, especially brother Barry, responded with the cold shoulder, the back of their hands, a foot raised.  Now, President Ali in this present chapter of his ongoing Chinese safari threw all cautions to the wind, and embraced the Chinese Way (“Guyana forges ahead with China’s Road and Belt Initiative” -Demerara Waves, July 30).  How could this be, Dr. President?  America is watching.  The Opposition is salivating.

His Excellency Ali may be green in years, but he is no friend of ignorance.  President Ali has to be familiar with that old, commonplace reality: there cannot be two women (or men) in a kitchen, and both desirous of controlling the show and the flow.  In the workplace, President Ali has to be most familiar with the difficulties, the divided loyalties, when there are two bosses; or, to cut a real fine point on this, in the ruling political fraternity, when there are two leaders.  The illustration is simple: there cannot be two superpowers operating in the same waters, for then dire straits and rocky shoals merge.  As the PPP pushes on with China, the PNC lifts up with America.

Maybe His Excellency and his people will understand this better if I reset the words.  Guyana is too small, too poor, too low to the ground, and two weak to believe that it can deal with America and China at the same time in the same space.  Not when both are in a race to carveout the bigger footprint here, get the upper hand.  To Excellency Ali and his fancy people, I humbly tender this sliver from history.  The blood brotherhood, that Anglo-American alliance, had trouble with the toes (and ideas) of the other protruding into their turf.  Churchill had his visions at the end of the Second Great War about British ongoing world leadership, despite being indebted to America, and tottering close to bankruptcy.  Then, President Eisenhower had to slap Prime Minister Eden’s ears over Suez, when they the US and the UK were tighter than twins.  Imagine the situation here, with this oil, and with these two Komodo reptiles both wanting to be top dog.  With some further mangling of metaphors, there would be no grass left to shield us or cover us should the two oversized elephants’ wrestle.  They will; trust me.  They are not allies.  They are adversaries competing for global hegemony.  Dr. Ali, is there any listening?  The PNC is watching, calculating, positioning.

My concern is for Guyanese hegemony, and this country becoming part of their turf wars.  Bluntly, Americans have no use for the Chinese here, including association in the Atlantic around our oilfields.  They will work that out between themselves.  For their part, the Chinese prefer to lie low, and push its own flow.   President Ali may think that the Chinese are his best friends, he should talk to Pakistan.  As heard, the youthful president in the orchestrating was a good cricketer.  I recommend, therefore, a conversation with Imran Khan about the Chinese, and their roping in Pakistan and then hanging it aloft.

In my little way, I urged President Ali to leave the Chinese Way alone, and go the American Way, though raggedy and rancid.  He thinks he can do what has brought others down.  That is, please both China and America, and coexist happily ever after.  I am sorry, Dr. President, but the news is not good.  When the Chinese are happy, the Americans are unhappy.  When the American are unhappy, the major political Opposition (it can only be the PNC) suddenly takes on a new, alluring beauty: a viable alternative.  America can be done with this vexing Chinese question, this Chinese nuisance, perpetrated by the PPP Government.  The PPP takes all sides of the coin, speaks across the span of its mouth: friend of all, friend to all.  Even Jesus, Gautama, and the Prophet had their enemies.

Meanwhile, Mr. Norton plays his cards closely: the PNC is a friend of longstanding to the US, a faithful one.  There is no uncertainty about China, where the PNC is concerned.  There is no doublespeak nor double-dealing involving China from PNC leadership circles.  There is no hesitation nor lack of conviction, no fighting with feathers, on a choice between America or China in Guyana.  It is America hands down and bottoms up.  China is not shown the door, only that it has to operate in a smaller space, be less visible, less eyebrow raising.  When President Ali in his unsullied perspicacity gets too close to the Chinese and their road and belt business, he picks the wrong road for his American backed PPP, and wraps the toughest cord around his government’s neck.

Out of the blue, and without blue chips of its own, the PNC has been given an infusion of potential, made to look good, compliments of the PPP’s President Ali.  What are friends for, if not gifts like these?  How about that one from the same President Ali himself, about not taking a side, or getting too close to the bosom of anybody?  Well, he took a different position before, but now insist that this is his Chinese condition.  From American eyes, it is the most pathetic one.  Suddenly, Mr. Norton looks like a genius.  An All-American one.  The PPP doesn’t know what to do with itself, besides being its own worst enemy.  Carry on, at own lethal peril.

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July 2023