We tend to see China as very powerful. And they certainly are a superpower, while we are not. But if you look at the world through a Chinese lens, you will realize that they are the weakest, most vulnerable superpower in history.
(Sorry about the map, btw. It’s what I found on Wikipedia)
Look at China’s eastern seaboard, with Beijing and Shanghai. What do you see off the coast? Three red circles around Korea, Taiwan and Japan. That’s where the United States reigns supreme. And China can do nothing about it. Perhaps never in history has a superpower so helplessly lacked control a few miles off its coast. Remember that China imports half its oil from outside.
Meanwhile, China even getting within 3000 km off the US mainland seems laughable.
Landwise, China is caught between India and Russia. And neither country likes them very much. Russia may not have much economic power, but it is a big military. And Russia has huge leverage on global oil prices.
On the other hand, on the entire continent of America, there isn’t a single challenger to the United States. Unless you are in the mood for jokes and you want to bring up Cuba or Venezuela.
To understand China’s third problem, you just need to look at the world’s top 10 economies : USA, China, Japan, Germany, India, Britain, France, Italy, Brazil and Canada.
Two of the top 3 are outright enemies of China. The remaining 7 are all close US allies. In fact, if push came to shove, there is only one other country in the top 10 from which China has some hope. They could beg with India to stay “neutral.” LOL!
China is actually in a very precarious position. Surprisingly few people realize that.
So how does China maintain its super scary image? By bluffing, that is. If you ask me, that’s what they are doing on the LAC right now.
What is really different about the current round of Chinese incursions? China has come to scare us because they are scared themselves. India is ramping up its own infrastructure in Ladakh and the Chinese want to scare us away. This is different from say Doklam, where Chinese troops intruded into Bhutan and started building up stuff.
All India has to do is hold firm and refuse to back off. The Chinese are bound to disengage and retreat.
Right now, China is under immense pressure across the world. For decades, the West has let them build up their power. The policy elites in the west were caught up with their business interests and thought nothing of their strategic interests. And the common people went along, because everyone likes cheap stuff.
But Coronavirus has changed everything. The common people and the elite everywhere has realized how badly things can go wrong when you deal with China. The elites may love their money, but Coronavirus literally put their lives on the line. The virus did not spare anyone, rich or poor. In fact, the elites found themselves at slightly higher risk due to their higher mobility. Common people never liked China anyway. And these are all democratic countries. Somebody will grab the huge anti-China political constituency that has just been created.
There is a reason Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is suddenly making samosas. In case you don’t know, Australia is absolutely crucial to China’s geopolitical ambitions. In fact, China has always aimed for a very fundamental change in Australia. They have wanted Australians to see themselves as an Asian country rather than a Western one.
Towards this end, the Chinese attitude towards Australia has almost become one of colonization. The Australians have, for the most part, gone along with it. Who cares, they thought? Canadians are polite. Aussies are cool. Everyone knows.
I bet nobody in Australia feels that way about China any more. And Australia has just kicked off a deep new strategic partnership with India.
Australia is sending a message to China. Japan has become even more openly hostile. Trump is breathing fire at them. And India is obviously not a friend. Who is left for China in the Indian Ocean Region?
Those eight countries include the US, Germany, Australia, Japan and Canada. Even tiny Norway and Sweden want to come along.
I should point out these are not maverick lawmakers. In the US, the two Senators are Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Both are hardcore establishment guys. In fact, Marco Rubio was the Republican establishment candidate for President of the United States. The German guy in the alliance is the official spokesperson for Merkel’s party, the CDU. This anti-China alliance is serious and it has open support at the highest level in participating countries.
Like I said, there is now serious concern about China’s designs on world peace. And a huge political constituency in every democracy that is very worried about China. It’s all beginning to come together.
China has made too many powerful enemies. And they are only making the situation worse by what everyone is now calling their “wolf warrior diplomacy.”
So far, India has firmly stood its ground in Ladakh. We have not blinked. We have not stopped building our infrastructure. In fact, India has speeded up road construction by the BRO. Just to emphasize that we are not scared.
Take that, China! In fact, BRO recruiters are in Jharkhand right now, looking for workers to take to Ladakh.
In fact, two BJP MPs “attended” (virtually, of course) the swearing in of the new President of Taiwan.
In other words, we are going to stand our ground.
The Chinese know this as well. Unlike Doklam, Chinese state run media is not breathing fire at all. They are talking constantly of peace.
Another thing that India has done is kept lines of communication open with the US. You know, like the time the US Defense Secretary spoke to our Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on strategies to fight …. Coronavirus.
It is all about calling their bluff. The Chinese have come to test our nerves once again. There are Lt. Gen level talks scheduled between the two countries tomorrow. I don’t know what will come of it. Maybe they will disengage. Maybe they wont. But what I do know for sure is that China will have to disengage eventually. It is just a matter of time.