China: There Is A Way

The 2018 report of the Department of Defense to Congress on China’s military read like a shopping list – a useful compendium of weapons systems.  But reading it gives no insight on when the Chicoms will attack. The more recent 539 pages of the 2018 Report to Congress of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has some of the human detail that helps the reader understand what China is attempting.

For example on page 137,

“In 2017, Laos closed Chinese banana plantations in seven provinces due to excessive pesticide use that caused 63 percent of plantation workers to fall ill.”

Like the Japanese 80 years before them, China takes a casual attitude to human life, and considers the populations of the countries surrounding them as Üntermenschen who will benefit from Chinese guidance and instruction.

Parts of their own country suffer from intense pollution that China could fix readily if they switched resources from weapons systems to putting scrubbers on smoke stacks. But the leadership would rather have the weapons systems than clean air or drinkable water. Or even food that didn’t make you sick -- which the Chinese citizenry must be continually alert to.

In his confirmation hearing for the position of Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson made the call for China to be denied access to the artificial islands it had created in the Spratly Islands of the South  China Sea.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea

(Still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy)

He did not elucidate on how that might be achieved without full scale war with China. Perhaps he had not put in the work to make the progression from wishful thinking to an actionable plan. But Tillerson was a global warming-believing globalist who wanted the US to sign the Paris climate treaty. Which in turn means that he was either evil or stupid. He is gone, almost forgotten and certainly unlamented. It doesn’t matter now if he was evil or just stupid.

But his notion of access denial is back, in a good way, and it could be the start of an actionable plan. On November 9 the United States

“…called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation.”

The United States has already placed tariffs on some Chinese goods in attempt to change China’s predatory behaviour in trade. The reason why the 2018 report of the economic and security commission is 539 pages thick is that there is a lot of predatory Chinese behaviour to report on. The tariffs are having the desired effect, and there is a mad scramble by some firms to shift production from China to Vietnam and other countries. US consumers will benefit too from the quality shift. A relative describes Chinese stuff bought at Walmart as “landfill,” which the buyer temporarilly takes home before it ends up in landfill.

The concept of tariffs to change behaviour has come from the economic side; it is now timely to extend that to security considerations. This would start with another round of tariffs imposed until China withdraws from its artificial islands in the South China Sea. The next stage would be another round of tariffs until China stopped trying to intimidate Japan with incursions in the Senkaku Islands. And then stopped trying to intimidate India with incursions on Indian territory in the Himalayas. And then put a ban on imports of electronics containing rare earth elements sourced or processed in China. That last one would get the rare earths supply chain sorted. Chinese companies are now investing in rare earths mines outside of China. Banning rare earth elements processed in China would simply eliminate the middle man. And then start putting restrictions on mainland Chinese visiting the United States.

The United States and its allies would have the high moral ground in this process. Dictators such as Xi and Putin cannot afford to be mocked or demeaned because that lessens their stature as all-powerful beings, and they might get knocked off by domestic critics. So China can’t back down in this process without losing respect. Which means that its GDP growth will go negative and China will have less to spend on weapons systems.

This scenario would be a rerun of Roosevelt’s ban on oil exports to Japan in response to Japan’s invasion of China. The mood at the time in the United States was isolationist. Both Germany and Japan were wary of drawing the United States into the war, but Roosevelt had to get one of them to attack first to have the high moral ground so that the United States could come to the aid of China.

The Japanese high command did their sums and realised they had to attack before they ran out of oil. The Chinese politburo will make the same calculations on a deteriorating GDP and come to the same conclusion. Roosevelt had to bait Japan into attacking in order to save China. Now we bait China to save Japan, and ourselves.

The good thing is that the war with China will come before they are completely ready. We are going to have a war with China anyway – it is not a matter of our choosing. Bringing it forward increases our chances, partly on the correlation of forces but mostly as per Napoleon’s dictum that in war the moral is to the physical as three to one.  Our cause will be just and righteous and will save the world from being run on the basis of coercion and intimidation.

David Archibald latest book is American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.

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