The Gatestone Institute is a counter jihad front website with a history of promoting the very nationalism that Shoebat.com has warned will be used to bring the world to war. But in according to an interesting article from them about China, they note that China’s attempts to expand her sphere of influence are based on a deluded sense of power and do not reflect reality, which is that China has always been at best a regional power who is repeatedly invaded and dominated by others, and will likely be mercilessly squashed in a serious war:
“Be ready for battle.” That’s how the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong newspaper that increasingly reflects the Communist Party line, summarized Xi Jinping’s first order this year to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Xi, in his own words, which were broadcasted nationwide, demanded this: “prepare for a comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point.”
China’s bold leader has been threatening neighbors and the United States with frequency during the last several months. “Xi is not just toying with war,” Victor Mair of the University of Pennsylvania wrote on the Fanell Red Star Rising listserve this month. “He’s daring himself to actually start one. He’s in a dangerous frame of mind.”
Dangerous indeed. From Washington to New Delhi, policymakers wonder whether China will begin history’s next great conflict. Beijing of course wants to “win without fighting,” but the actions Xi Jinping are taking could lead to fighting nonetheless. One particularly disturbing development in this regard is the Chinese military gaining power in Beijing’s political circles.
The PLA, as the Chinese military is known, is arming fast, and that development is triggering alarm. Beijing has always claimed its military is for defensive purposes only, but no country threatens territory under China’s control. The buildup, therefore, looks like preparation for aggression. Much of the equipment the People’s Liberation Army is acquiring — aircraft carriers, amphibious troop carriers, and stealth bombers — is for the projection of power, not homeland defense.
Chinese leaders — not just Xi Jinping — believe their domains should be far larger than they are today. The concern is that, acting on their own rhetoric, they will use shiny new weapons to grab territory and occupy, to the exclusion of others, international water and airspace.
The Chinese — leaders and others — certainly have the world’s worst case of irredentism as they seek to “recover” areas they have in fact never ruled, but they do not necessarily envision military conquest as the means of acquiring vast “lost territories.” They believe they can intimidate and coerce and then take without force.
The fast rearmament also has other objectives. Speaking of China, Arthur Waldron of the University of Pennsylvania told Gatestone Institute:
“I think her goal is to increase her awesomeness in the eyes of the world, so her buildup is therefore to be understood as an attempt to become strong enough to flout the international system without consequences.”
Despite the rhetoric, the Chinese know the “imponderables” of actually going to war. For centuries, they have not been very good at it, enduring defeat after defeat and invasion after invasion.
Their military record during the tenure of the People’s Republic is similarly unimpressive. Yes, the Chinese grabbed control of the Paracel Islands and specks in the Spratlys in the South China Sea in a series of skirmishes with various Vietnamese governments, but these incidents were minor compared to the setbacks.
Mao Zedong sustained perhaps 600,000 killed — including his son, Mao Anying — to obtain a draw in Korea in the early 1950s. His successor, Deng Xiaoping, launched an incursion in 1979 “to teach Vietnam a lesson” and instead suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of his small communist neighbor.
Despite its undistinguished record, China causes grave concern. Xi was already beholden to the generals and admirals, who form the core of his political support in Communist Party circles, and they have gotten even more powerful as the Chinese people have become more restive.
As Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong told Gatestone this month, “the top leadership is paranoid about massive social unrest” and so has given the military and police “extra power to tighten internal security… Xi understands very well that it is the army and the police that are keeping the Party alive.”
Xi has tried to bring the military under control with both “anti-corruption” efforts — in reality a series of political purges — and, as June Teufel Dreyer of the University of Miami told Gatestone, “a sweeping military organization.”
Yet those efforts have not been entirely successful. That is why Xi is trying, in the words of Waldron, to be viewed as the “martial emperor.” He knows the power of the PLA as “kingmaker,” able to back and depose civilian leaders. “The current Chinese focus on the military undoubtedly has internal political roots and is not related to changes in the security environment,” Waldron said. Xi, in order to curry favor, has to accede to the flag officers.
Just because the process is internally driven does not make it less dangerous. Xi has sponsored overly large military budgets and has allowed senior officers to have outsized roles in formulating provocative external policies. The November 2013 declaration of the East China Sea Air-Defense Identification Zone, an audacious attempt to control the skies off its shores, is a clear example of the military influence. The seizure of Scarborough Shoal in early 2012 and the reclamation and militarization of features in the Spratly chain in the South China Sea are other destabilizing events.
Military influence in the Chinese capital means that hostility never goes out of fashion. Twice in December, senior PLA officers publicly threatened unprovoked attacks on the U.S. Navy. “The United States is most afraid of death,” said Rear Admiral Luo Yuan in the second of the outbursts.
“We now have Dong Feng-21D, Dong Feng-26 missiles. These are aircraft carrier killers. We attack and sink one of their aircraft carriers. Let them suffer 5,000 casualties. Attack and sink two carriers, casualties 10,000. Let’s see if the U.S. is afraid or not?”
Everyone, not just the U.S., should be afraid, in part because of the parallels between China’s military today and Japan’s in the 1930s.
In the 1930s, Japan’s military officers, as Dreyer told Gatestone, took “drastic action to force the government into a war footing, even assassinating Japanese politicians who opposed such moves.”
Then, the Japanese military, like the Chinese one today, was emboldened by success and ultra-nationalism. Then, like now, civilians controlled Asia’s biggest army only loosely. Then, like today, Asia’s largest military is full of assertion and belligerence.
Moreover, in the 1930s the media publicized the idea that Japan was being surrounded by hostile powers that wished to prevent its rise. Eri Hotta in Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy writes that the Japanese “talked themselves into believing that they were victims of circumstances rather than aggressors.” That is exactly what the Chinese are doing at this moment.
“If we ask, ‘Did they want war?’ the answer is yes; and if we ask ‘Did they want to avoid war?’ the answer is still yes,” noted Maruyama Masao, a leading postwar political scientist, as recounted by Hotta. “Though wanting war, they tried to avoid it; though wanting to avoid it, they deliberately chose the path that led to it.”
Unfortunately, this tragic pattern is evident today in a Beijing where Chinese, wearing stars on their shoulders, look as if they want to repeat one of the worst mistakes of the last century. (source, source)
China has a powerful military, and it would be wrong to underestimate them. However, China is also weak, divided from within, and prone to a curious combination of being able to barely contain hot-headed attitudes against people she does not like while at the same time viciously indulging in self-destructive tendencies, all of which the US is actively and successfully exploiting.
China is like Russia in that she is surrounded by neighbors she does not like. China’s major enemies are the Turkic peoples which inhabit her western half as well as are prevalent throughout the northern border regions by Mongolia and Russia. China also has tempestuous relations with Southeast Asia, who throughout history she invaded but never succeeded in securing. In modern times, she also has been in considerable territory disputes with India, specifically over territorial boundaries around Arunachal Pradesh and leading up to Jammu and Kashmir. Neither the nations of Southeast Asia nor does the nation of India like China.
Russia is a “nominal” Chinese ally, but the Russians neither trust nor are inclined to help the Chinese in a serious way as they fear Chinese movement into Siberia. The Russians have retained generally good relations with many of the Turkic tribes in Central Asia and Siberia, while the Chinese have not and have openly hated the Turkic peoples. Given the increasing Chinese attempts to move into Central Asia as well as allusions of movement towards Siberia, it is very possible that the Russians may seek to use their strategic alliance with the Turks in combination with the US support of Turkic nationalism to ally against China and subjugate her.
The only other ally that China has in the region is Pakistan. China cannot rely on Pakistan as a serious power, since Pakistan does not possess the capacity to protect China, but rather relies on China for protection. This also explains Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s gestures of friendship to the Chinese, as he is an ally of Pakistan as well and is attempting to secure military and economic alliances with the Chinese in the event of a future war. However, China does not care about either, and will not hesitate to jettison both if she believes it will be in her national interest, and will only defend them if she believes such to be in her direct national interest.
China’s economy is also in serious trouble. She needs to reduce her trade deficit with the US because given that the US is the world’s reserve currency, the US debt is not a weakness to the US but a weapon against China for the reason that no matter what the US does and no matter what the consequences are, they can be used to justify a war against her while also leaving China with worthless promises to pay that cannot be cashed. If the US prints the money to pay her debts, she will both devalue her own dollar so to make it worthless for the Chinese and crash her own currency which she will then blame on China, and which will cause public outrage so as to cause a war. If the US refuses to pay, China can scream all she wants but has no way of taking what is owed to her without by starting a war, at which point the US will say “China attacked us” and will cause an immediate rally of American nationalism and calls from the public to drop nuclear weapons on China. Either way, China loses and she knows it.
If this was not bad enough for China, and a point which the Gatestone Institute’s article does not mention for obvious reason, is that the US has added to this conflict by directly assisting with the re-militarization and now, the transfer of nuclear technology to Japan, China’s oldest and greatest enemy who has a history of conquering and subjugating China. Given that China relies heavily on her manufacturing sector, which is located close to Japan and is always the first area that Japan invades historically speaking, it would not take much to severely cripple China’s economic capabilities.
The US right now is using the historical hatred of the Chinese in Southeast Asia, who she relies on for much of her food, to build diplomatic relations for military operations that will include assistance with cutting off China’s food supply. India, who is another regional power and nationalistic in her worldview, is preparing for a war with Pakistan but will not be averse to keeping China away from her borders.
China can make angry threats about sinking US aircraft carriers and murdering thousands of US military personnel all she wants, but such a hot-headed approach is only going to work against her. If she were to really do such a thing, or even try to, the US would respond immediately with nuclear weapons. Even saying such rhetoric only foments American nationalist sentiments and encourages American militarism, so that such a person from the Chinese military would come out and say this clearly shows a basic lack of understanding American popular psychology, let alone a serious ability to combat the US military. When one places this into the fact that Russia and India want China away from their borders, that Turkic nationalism is rising and hates the Chinese, that the nations of Southeast Asia can both fight off China and would appear to be willing to cut off her food supply, and that the US is preparing Japan’s military to ostensibly invade China, all with US oversight, China is not a powerful as she would seem to be, and just like a bug under a shoe, it would take only a little effort for her to fall miserably.
When one considers that the Turkic people are overwhelmingly Muslim, and that India is a vicious persecutor of Christians as well as how Japan hates Christianity, one can see that the “counter jihad” movement is as much not about stopping Islam as it is about helping Christians, but has no morals or ethics. Its purpose is to foment nationalism that will be used to drive a war around the world, of which China is but one sphere in which said war will inevitably come to.