China’s hobby is collecting small, weak countries. You collect enough of them, and you’ve got yourself a little sphere of influence. You’re not just an economic and military superpower. You’re a geopolitical superpower, too.
What a nice trinket Portugal will make on China’s mantle, right next to its other beneficiaries, like Sudan.
Sudan is a rogue state; the butcher of Darfur. But it’s also a major source of oil for China, and a growing customer for Chinese weapons. Sudan gives China what it wants. And China returns the favour, by protecting Sudan from criticism at the UN with its permanent veto at the Security Council.
Which brings us back to Portugal. They won the UN vote not because they’re strong, but because they’re weak. The world’s dictators don’t want a strong democracy on the Security Council. A desperate beggar is more pliable. (…) (…)