Monday, July 25, 2005

Further Thoughts on China

In answer to a bit of skepticism voiced by a frequent and faithful commenter, I thought I’d write out more fully my thoughts about the US-China situation and Max Boot's comments on it. My argument (if indeed that's what it is) is not airtight, but it should give you a sense of where I'm coming from and why, to boot, I didn't give Boot the boot.

I fully own that some of the stuff Boot wrote about seems a bit iffy and smells strongly of what might be conspiracy theorism. But I think that Boot is right about the direction China isheaded. In fact, I think that eventually it's going to come to push and shove between China and the USA. We're talking about the general idea here.

It's not like we haven't seen this kind of conflict, even in recent history. The Soviet Union, anyone? Admittedly, China is a vastly different beast with vastly different intentions. But that doesn’t mean that it won't still be a threat of international proportions. Let me explain.

First, from what I’ve read and been told, China has never really had any designs on empire ...beyond it's own region, that is. Today as yesterday, China is at heart an introspective nation that basically wants to do it's own thing and be left alone. It's been like this for thousands of years and I can't imagine things changing. The problem is that while China hasn't changed, the world around it has. To simplify grossly, China used to have its own sandbox and could do pretty much as it wished without any greater power interfering (or being interfered with, for that matter). When Europe started to project it's power into the region in the 18th and 19th century, Chinese aspirations began to be limited by international actors, and the Middle Kingdom, which since time out of memory had generally been able to maintain it's own sphere of uncontested influence (Mongols, etc. notwithstanding), no longer held total sway its backyard.

Despite the change of international dynamics, China's ambitions today remain as they always have been: regional dominance/empire and a desire to not be bothered by outsiders. Now, couple this deep, traditional aspiration with its growing demand for resources and economic influence with which is can fuel it's recent industrial and economic growth and what you get is an empire hungry country that now must, somewhat paradoxically, look abroad in order to (and before it can) fulfill its domestic dreams.

Right now the United States happens to be, on balance, helpful to China as China seeks to realize its economic and industrial purposes. In fact, until last week, the Yuan was pegged to dollar, meaning that China's economic future was tied to US economic success. While the US is assisting China's growth today, however, it is also in many ways stifling it--especially with regard to empire building (or at least hegemony-retention). Hence, when the US completely outgrows its usefulness to China and China no longer relies on the US as it has in the past, it should be no surprise to anyone that China will desire to eliminate USinternational influence, which by that point will the biggest hurdle between China and it's dreams. When that tipping point comes in the China-US relationship, why should anyone be surprised if the way that China elects to get the US out of its way is to engage in warfare, conventional or otherwise, perhaps even in the way that Boot describes? I, for one, would not be surprised in the least. War has a long and illustrious history in the conflict resolution department.

By all accounts, that tipping point is fast approaching. One of the indications, I think, is the recent change in China’s monetary policy. No longer is the Yuan pegged to the US dollar. Instead, it’s pegged to a “basket” of international currencies. This is an indication that China’s starting to get it’s economic sea legs and feel a bit more independent from the US in terms of economic prosperity. And then there’s China’s major military buildup and increasingly bellicose stance toward the US over the past few years. The news in the past few weeks has been full of the new military threat that China is presenting to the world. Now China’s generals are rattling sabers and polishing the red button. Could it be that China’s getting ready to rumble once the time is right? To me the answer is clear.

I think it high time we face the music and begin to realize it's very, very possible that the dragon is getting ready to turn the tables and slay the knight. China doesn’t want US territory. China doesn’t really want anything beyond its historic sphere of influence, which is to say, East (and some Central) Asia. All it cares about is ending the limitations that the one remaining superpower in the world is creating for China’s Asian empire. Once the US is defeated and sent home licking its wounds, no one (let alone any superpower) would be left to stop China from doing whatever it has a mind to in Asia (goodbye, Taiwan). And the ancient dream of an undisturbed Chinese empire could be fulfilled.

2 Comments:

Blogger IhMongol said...

Speaking of China, there is no need for China to start any wars. China as you rightly pointed out is juxtaposed to USA. It is a super power - nukes, army, billions of foot soldiers, industries, markets, economy, and so forth. And it wants to act as one and be received as one....

Well, China is in the WTO and it got all that it's needed from USA and now that the WTO is under its pillow there is no need to appease the Americans. Oh, yeah, and those US treasury bonds, whose hands are they in .....? Now, China is way wittier, always strategically thinking, and cunningly smarter than the USA. Remember the yuan saga? Now, who got upper hand in that? China has a one clear voice when it comes to dealing with the US or with the rest of the world for that matter. The US on the other hand, forget about one voice, there is no set foreign policy or a policy in dealing with China, and that is all. The americans do not care about foreign policy and they do not hold anybody accountable for the foreign policy blunders. US has no credibility for that matter, you can have one congressman making a statement and another could be making an opposite one, say vis-a-vis China. And it has been known to happen, exactly in this very context. For China, buying out the US companies, the brands, the names ... and more ... it wants is the tip of an iceberg...

We, the mongols, have been dealing with them for centuries, and by luck and wit and by some unknown supreme intervention have been survived with our country, or at least the independent part of what is left of Ih Mongol Empire. We know the Chinese ways of thinking, and that is, the only language that speaks in China and to the Chinese is the "coins" or "zoos" or more widely known as money. And that is how, I predict, China will dominate the rest of the world. Do not be surprised if the US and the west at some point will come all under the Chinese coins. THe US bonds, anyone? Most of south eastern Asia already is. In some such countries, the only thing that the country had were its politicians: gone were the banks, financial institutions, businesses, airports, and all, which were all ruled, managed, and owned by local chinese. Unfortunately, I fear, Mongolia, if not already is, it is coming under the same spell soon.

There are numerous problems within the society of China, but none would jepordize the ability of Chinese people to make money. If the government can keep providing its people this opportunity to make money, China would just keep getting richer and richer and stronger. Now if this government breaks on this delivery, the problems it could face would be HUGE. Well, currently, one of the bigger problems, I see is surge of nationalistic sentiments among chinese along with its horrendous human rights abuse cases and complete lack of regard for laws and regulations. Copyright infringements, legitimized businesses of pirated products, corruption, disregard for law, might catch up with them or not. Not is the case of Taiwan, which has become a prosperous and, mind you at last, a democratic society.

8/15/2005 9:07 PM  
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