Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Re: Belmont Club "Thinking About China"

Count - “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

China is a real long term strategic rival. We should have responded much more decisively when they forced down the Navy EP-3 in 2001. Essentially they are in the a similar strategic situation to that Japan was in 1940. They are dependent on foreign resources and tempted by the weakly guarded assets to the North in Siberia and to the South in the South China Sea, Indonesia and Australia. All their neighbors are scared to death but given the defeatism that is being broadcast from America the temptation is to appease. Essentially it is similar to the demoralized elite accommodation to the challenge of Islam but in a much more traditional way. The Australians have agreed to the Chinese purchase of major mineral resources. The current Australian Prime Minister is a Sinologist who is committed to turning his country from the US to an alliance with China. That is not simply a contract to purchase production or a supervised minority investment scheme but a selling of the physical integrity of the nation. It is essentially the opposite of what happened to oil supplies over the last 40 years when producing nations asserted sovereignty. China does face real problems and may implode. Historically the case for keeping it a single unified empire is pretty weak. We should vastly increase our naval and air assets and work with the Australians and ASEAN to build a solid long term alliance. One thing I would do is give the Australians the remaining B-52 airframes and air to surface missiles so they can control their surrounding sea lanes.

Jul 1, 2008 - 12:33 am

Well it didn’t take long for the wingnut right to blend into the moonbat left over here. The very term Ex-republican has become a cliche on the web for trolls manufactured by koss kiddies and DU.

Mr Murphy saying that the economy in OZ is becoming dependent on China is to acknowledge that there might be a problem. The problem is the nature of the regime and the long term implications for the stability of the west and our shared civilization. No one wants war or an implosion of China. The fact is that much of the growth of China may be a bubble and much may be a matter of false accounting. The system is deeply corrupt. Numbers that are reported are much less reliable than those in the west. Enron was an aberration in the west, not the normal way business was done.

Technically China fits the definition of a corporatist fascist state. Most strategic investments are made by front companies that are owned by the army and used to channel funds to the children of a party oligarchy. This system is very unstable and is sustained by access to external raw materials and capital investment. This is the flip side of the problem of the Russian economy being sustained by artificially high oil prices. Eventually the wheels may come off this contraption. Hopefully by then the veneer of an educated modern elite that is developing in the coastal cities will have put down roots deep enough to permit a soft landing.

Jul 1, 2008 - 5:08 am

anon, To a point I agree with you. The caveats are three fold. First prudence should not devolve into lethargy. Patience and a long term approach should not be allowed to become an excuse for passivity and kicking the can down the road. Second there is a risk in overestimating the benefits of trade. The world’s largest trading partners in 1914 were Germany and England. A belief that others are paralyzed by trade dependence could encourage aggressive elements in the Chinese regime. Third is a matter of moral clarity. China is not a democracy now and when, I do not say if, it attempts to threaten or bully neighbors who are, such as Japan, India and Taiwan, we must stand firmly at the side of her neighbors. A credible American umbrella will we hope keep the peace but if it fails to do so then we must accept the conflict. The threat that China’s client North Korea poses extends this possible instability. It is in Beijing’s interest to ease that nasty little historical relic off stage.

Jul 1, 2008 - 5:28 am

Three at a time!

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