The multi-party dispute between Google Inc., China, and now the U.S.A. has evolved into a Cold War-esque controversy. Neither Google nor China is willing to collaborate with the other, leaving all eyes on the United States, whose eyes are on Iran. Google Inc. is calling for the U.S. to bring a case against China over International trade laws and make sweeping changes in their diplomatic stance towards all the other countries that use censorship, despite the U.S.’s own censorship practices. The United States’ reliance on China as a political ally on the World Stage and International Market is being challenged by a resistance to support their “Asian interests.” Diplomacy may prevent the U.S. to take any action against China because of how crucial they are in bringing sanctions against Iran. And furthermore, the U.S. has been incredibly quiet on all allegations of Chinese human rights violations. China is pressuring the U.S. to ignore the technological power house completely.
True to form, the U.S. is preaching a moral solution to an ideological battle without addressing its own behavior. Similarly, the Chinese Communist Party has shown that it is unwilling to compromise on domestic issues through their relentless commitment to the total governmental control that is symptomatic of a Communist state. Google Inc., who may only be the short-term victor of rounds I and II against China, has proven the scope of their moral compass and will have to chart unknown territory in the Asian market.
Both Google and China entered the conflict with a win-win goal in mind, where Google could function in a Chinese world. In 2006, Google Inc.’s CEO Eric Schmidt claimed that
“China has 5,000 years of history. Google has 5,000 years of patience in China,” promising that “before 7006 Google would become the most popular, successful, useful service in China” (Seatle 2/8/07).
The Google-China relationship, however, was not as healthy behind closed doors as it seemed publicly, which allowed little room for a collaborative solution to their disagreement. China increased its censorship demands, and eventually pushed Google too far. Five years proved to be Google’s patience thresh hold and the company chose to set a bold precedent in the cyber world by publicly accusing China of violating freedoms and obstructing trade on both national and international levels.
The conflict is now at a lose-lose draw, where China may be the only man left standing when the smoke clears. The United States could still join the fight with Google, but for the moment they fight alone. Google may have put a few holes in the Great Firewall of China, but they’ve given up for now.
The fight is returning home.