We wanted to take this challenge head–on. People in the West are deeply afraid of the increasingly hostile and bellicose stance that China is taking against many countries. It would seem that somehow we know we need to stand guard against the gigantic Chinese military–driven aggression that is being unleashed on the West. We know so.
Funny isn't it how things get distorted when somebody expresses the truth but not the whole truth and other things in addition to the truth?
It is our core belief that we need to understand a situation as much as possible before issuing an opinion; but that is all it is: an opinion. We do not pretend to judge; in this sense we are only passengers on the history train.
Let's bring back a modicum (a modest amount) of reality into the Chinese situation.
- Chinese military is the largest in the world
- Chinese military budget is growing exponentially fueled by an unstoppable economy
- Chinese military budget will outgrow any other budget in the world by roughly 2035
- Chinese military technology is rapidly approaching cutting edge in terms of capability and quality
- Chinese military technology is as wide and deep as it can possibly be. Since there is almost no financial restraint to the means at their disposal, it is on track to be the most dynamic, varied and flexible in the world
- Chinese military are planning and preparing for all types of war, on all weather, on all conditions and by any means which includes conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical
- Chinese military are acquiring what could be considered first–strike weapons called A2/AD (anti–access/area denial) capable of destroying other countries' military capability from a safe distance without using nuclear weapons.
- Chinese military are one of the most secretive in the world
- Chinese military exports are fourth in the world
Are you frightened yet? You should be.
China has a big problem. There are no natural barriers between China and potential enemies. Russia could easily just walk through its border. The US could easily park one or two fleets in the ocean and attack them. Japan could easily decide to declare war. India may get upset and attack and so on.
Chinese military response to an attack must be immediate because there is nothing else to stop potential aggressors. In military terms, speed counts. Furthermore, Chinese response must be overwhelming because its potential foes already possess gigantic military means. It is pointless to have a defense or a "discouraging" token military force. At the very high strategic level between countries, it is impossible to hide one's military might. Chinese military options are reduced to one: oppose force with force.
Practically speaking, China is a dictatorship of an oligarchy. In China it is important who you know and not so much who you are. Is this network of people "in power" that make all the decisions that matter. As such, they are driven by considerations other than the wellbeing of the Chinese population. Of course they do want wellbeing but this only so because they must. They fully understand that in ultimate analysis, power comes from a powerful economy. Money does indeed make the world go 'round. For a powerful economy, they need capitalism and capitalism invariable lifts standard of living, this is, wellbeing. In addition, they want to stay in power. They cannot do so if people revolts against them for lack of basic human necessities such as food and shelter. Wellbeing provides this.
However, past this point, they are as ruthless as any other dictatorship in the past history of the world. Let's not forget this point. Is this ruthlessness (driven by considerations other than social) that makes them dangerous. Furthermore, is this concentration of power in the hands of the very few that makes the quick to act, react and respond. This is usually a deadly and combination. They have the means, the decision structure and the mind set to act.
Typically we wouldn't bother with this subject, since from our perspective the so–called Human Rights are just like any other a laws or regulations: subjective and arbitrary. However, we will use this term to highlight Chinese disregard against human lives.
- Chinese routinely execute people, even for mild offenses
- Chinese overrun any geographic region they wish to control (Tibet anyone?)
- Chinese have been accused of targeting sub–cultures for organ donation "harvesting"
- Chinese laws and prisons are usually brutal, swift and merciless.
- Chinese control is exercised through secret police by outright oppression methods
These facts point towards a culture (at least at the highest echelons) of maximum utilization of power. The end justifies the means. If they can use raw power to obtain a goal and be successful at it, they will use it.
Chinese people are thought at any and all educational levels that the Chinese "nation" comes first. People have been brainwashed into nationalism. From their point of view it makes a lot of sense. China has been exploited, abused and impoverished throughout its modern life by world powers. Of course, this is nothing different than what previous Chinese monarchs did to their own people, but the difference can be exploited because there is now a "common" enemy.
As such, a deep nationalist belief empowers Chinese people with the drive and the so–called moral justification to take aggressive actions. Basically, it is pay–back time.
The Chinese economy is growing at an incredible rate. Despite all the lengthy and endless economic analysis and the oceans of ink used to explain this phenomenon, it simply boils down to three factors:
- The Chinese economy is rebounding from an utterly destructive communist regime. In economic terms, Chinese people only had one way to go: Up.
- The Chinese economy is fueled by printed money. The Chinese Central Bank has been printing as much money as the Chinese economy can absorb, as fast as possible… and then some.
- The Chinese economy has been shifted from communist (i.e. a non–economy) to a capitalist one by ruthless leaders who understand full well that power comes from economic might.
And that's pretty much it! There really is no secret. Chinese leaders have tasted success and with it comes the reassurance that they are on the right path. Consequently, it is extremely likely that they will accelerate this process.
Of course, we can spend years arguing if the Chinese economy is export–driven, if its internal market is self–sustainable, if consumption levels are too high or too low, and on and on and on. Irrelevant. The point is the net effect and its more likely outcome, not the logistical details.
BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID
So, we have a military growth out of control, coupled with ruthless leaders driven by power–hungry considerations with the means and the will to act supported by a gigantic and growing economy.
Seriously, how do you think this will end?
Of course! China is a threat to the world.
Of course! China will try to become an empire.
Of course! China is and will continue to attempt to reassert its dominance wherever it can.
Only naïve people would argue otherwise.
NOW FOR THE WHOLE TRUTH
The above analysis is correct, but it is not the whole analysis. The truth is that China is just like any other country. They are going through the evolutionary steps of political systems (see Political Systems Lifecycle). They are becoming a world power soon to evolve into a world empire.
There is nothing new here.
There really is no difference between the British, German, French, Russian, US, Roman, Hittite, Egyptian or any other empire you care to name and the will–be Chinese empire. The Chinese path is not special. The Chinese evolution is not special. We only perceive it as special because it is happening to us and we don't like it.
The Chinese empire will not be an evil empire any more than any other empire was in the past. We cannot get on top of the moral ground and point a finger to China and scream: evil, evil!
If we want to do so, we need to measure all the previous empires with the same yardstick… and most people won't like it because history is written by the victors. Never let reality get in the way of proud history or tradition.
Will the new Chinese empire go easy on us? Not likely.
Will the world survive the Chinese empire? Almost certainly.
Can we do something to prevent it from happening? Not likely.
This is reality, as real as it gets. The truth is that many countries will try to stop the Chinese one way or another, and tensions will only grow. It may even evolve into limited wars. In the end, however, it is pointless. The Chinese have learned from history and short of them destroying their own economy, there is no stopping them.
However, the above analysis is also linear thinking. Thinking in terms of inevitable events based on simple extrapolations is almost always wrong. In this case, there is one element that can modify the type of Chinese empire we will get. This element is the free market.
Chinese people have been brainwashed for millennia, however they have never been exposed to a modern free market which requires independence of thought. The final question is this: what will prevail? The control mechanisms of the state or personal initiative and free thinking?
We are betting the latter, however, don't hold your breath. It will take a very long time indeed.
We should be afraid of the inevitable Chinese empire that's coming. But we should also understand that this is nothing new and even this, shall pass. The only thing we can do about it is to prepare for it. The only glimmer of hope is that perhaps, by opening Pandora's Box of capitalism, the ruthless Chinese leaders have unleashed a power that will ultimately destroy them. Perhaps.
Be well. Prepare. Prepare your children. Live long and prosper. Or not. Your choice.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.