Press TV has conducted an interview with Jeff Steinberg, with the Executive Intelligence Review, in Leesburg about China rejecting US espionage accusations.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: It’s the first of its kind the move that’s been made by the US indicting Chinese military officers. Why do you think the US went ahead with this move? What are the implications?
Steinberg: I think the implications are complex because just last week General Dempsey the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hosted his Chinese counterpart on a reciprocal visit to the United States and General Fang was given tours of some very selective US military facilities that no Chinese military officials had visited before.
They had lengthy very frank discussions at the Pentagon and US / Chinese military cooperation was moving forward and yet at the same time the Justice Department carried out this completely unnecessary action and I find the timing itself very suspect
You’ve got some elements in this administration that want to provoke at least minimally a kind of Cold War atmosphere targeting both Russia and China while others understand that it’s vital that US relations with both Russia and China are on a positive footing because global peace and security is really anchored in this tri-lateral relationship.
So I think it’s indicative of a deep split inside the US policy making institutions and even between the Pentagon on the one side and Obama and the White House on the other.
Press TV: We’re hearing the Chinese reaction; they’re saying the US is applying double standards, that it’s hypocritical and of course that’s a reference to the fact that the US itself has been accused of or has been spying very extensively even on its allies.
But some observers have been analyzing this saying the US wants to give a message to China that when it’s spying for national security concerns for instance it’s acceptable, but when you’re spying for economic advantage that’s not going to be defendable. Do you agree with that analysis?
Steinberg: Let’s put it this way, I’ve heard that analysis repeatedly from former NSA directors. I heard that presented in a conference in Washington by General Michael Hayden, but I think there is also a lot of merit to the Chinese statements that the US is clearly applying a double standard.
The idea that the NSA was conducting massive spying inside the US against American citizens, against foreign countries both adversaries as well as allies raises the very strong likelihood that some of that spying was being done for industrial and commercial methods.
Why for example hasn’t there been also indictments against the number of Israeli companies and individuals in the Israeli military because there have been briefings in Congress recently that Israel is the number one industrial espionage nation targeting the United States?
So I think there is hypocrisy; there are double standards abounding here and that it would be far better to pursue the kind of track that General Dempsey pursued with General Fang, which is open discussion, transparent exchanges even where there are disagreements if the disagreements can be aired in the proper kinds of venues then that’s the way to solve problems and not provoke confrontation.
Remember President Obama is already a lame duck, he has the worst approval ratings of any president at this point in a second term; he’s desperate for a legacy… and those kinds of factors can drive a president to take very desperate and provocative actions and I’m afraid that’s another factor to consider in this situation as well.