An alternative view about the threat China presents
Yesterday, I wrote that China is giving every indication that it intends to go on the attack in the Pacific, against Taiwan, and even against America. However, two things that I read provide a different way of looking at China's huffing and puffing. It may not actually be able to blow the world's house down — although it still wins if the world responds as if China were, in fact, capable of that kind of destruction.
Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute (one of my favorite think-tanks), has written an intriguing essay at The American Conservative arguing that China is weaker than Xi's positions would indicate:
China's first weakness is strongman Xi himself. Instead of selling off inefficient state-owned industries and banks, which still make up a significant portion of the Chinese economy, he is trying to recentralize power. He has done away with the improvement of Hu Jintao, his predecessor as Party leader, which set the expectation that CPP leaders would step down after two five-year terms. This was Hu's attempt to begin to modernize Communist Party governance by trying to regularize changes of leadership. Instead, Xi is trying to return China to the bad old days of succession struggles after a political strongman (now Xi) dies or is incapacitated. In addition, the private economy continuing to carry the burden of sclerotic state-owned "key" industries and banks will slow Chinese economic growth.
Also likely to slow economic growth is China's demographic crisis. As countries develop and industrialize, they have fewer children because less labor is needed in the agricultural sector and greater numbers of children raise costs to individual families. Thus, many developed countries around the world have declining birthrates. However, China's problem is much worse because of the Communist Party's disastrous "one-child policy," which was revoked only after it had exacerbated the demographic crisis.
Furthermore, China has restive ethnic inhabitants of Xinjiang and Tibet and a politically unruly pro-democracy population in Hong Kong, which China is suppressing in violation of its promise to allow a "One China, Two Systems" approach. Such fractious populations weaken China internally.
There's more, and I encourage you to read it all.
Our own Joe Strader, in a letter to me regarding my post yesterday, had a different and equally interesting point:
I do not think China wants a hot war. I think the Chinese want their enemies to surrender preemptively thinking they are willing to pursue a hot war. China makes very little precision machinery that works reliably. If their military is equipped with Chinese made arms, they are unreliable and mostly junk. The Chinese are good at making junk and environmentally damaging sub-components, but you can go to every factory in the USA and you will find zero manufacturing machinery from China. The important precision stuff is all made in America, Europe, and Israel.
Moreover, while the Chinese certainly have a huge military, it's made up of conscripts (which the American military avoids because conscripts too often make poor soldiers). And again, the conscripts are armed with those shoddy Chinese-made weapons.
If China has to battle the world with the stuff they make, the USA would beat it handily. However, if the Chinese can threaten their neighbors — and, currently, the neighbors know that the USA, with its superior machines, will not be there to help.
At the end of the day, Chinese junk is superior to no response. The wars need not go hot. The enemies will fold. That is the Chinese plan as I see it.
The Chinese are ruthless, and, as they've shown with COVID, they have no moral compunction about engaging in biological warfare. In fact, COVID is the perfect example of both sides of the Chinese: either they deliberately released the virus, which is evil and a violation of the Geneva convention, or they carelessly released the virus, and promptly capitalized on that, which is what Joe Strader is arguing.
Ultimately, whether China is bluffing or plans to follow through on its threats, the only thing that will deter it from action is knowing that America will respond with a vengeful fury equal to its response when Japan attacked and Hitler declared war on America. Now you just need to ask yourself if that response is ever going to come from Joe Biden and the Democrat party, all of whom have already been bought and paid for by China. Still, if it's all a bluff, at least it will be a bloodless takeover...
Image: Chinese communist party centenary. YouTube screen grab.
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