Friday, November 13, 2009

The Circling Dragon

If whiskey has an idée fixe about women then I plead guilty to having one about the strategic threat posed by China. That does not negate the fact that I like China, in fact I really like the women, but the government is a real and growing threat.

What can India do to break the iron circle being forged around it? What can Australia and Vietnam do? Should Israel accommodate the rising power and trust the SCO to hold a leash on their Iranian dog or should she forge an alliance with those threatened by the new hegemon and strike the first blow?

China is itself very unstable and vulnerable. Deeply corrupt with its growth based on the same financial shell games that exploded the American economy a year ago it shows that sometimes both sides can be in on a fraud. The social compact is unraveling. Corruption has destroyed the last vestiges of legitimacy for a regime that is now sustained solely by inertia. The divisions between regions, classes, and rural versus urban sectors is larger than ever seen before and cannot be sustained. In this situation a threatened elite either focuses on an explosive grab outwards or faces an implosion.

China is now facing the same choices that Japan faced almost 70 years ago. Unless the moves into the Indian Ocean are an enormous head fake they have made the same decision that Tojo did. They will forgo the easier Strike North against an underpopulated but resource rich Siberia in favor of a Strike South at the resources of Australasia the Middle East and Africa. The riches of Siberia will wait. They can be picked up later when there will be even fewer Russians to worry about. This has been a very long time in coming. Thirty five years ago when my brother visited Kenya the locals told him that Tanzania had been occupied by China during the building of the TanZam Railway.

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