I know that the Chinese are supposed to go by something called Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.” I read the book myself and found it quite unimpressive, full of fairly obvious stuff. But decently codified in very few words, which appeals to my taste for brevity. But one thing I can say is that there is nothing in the book about how to lash out like a fool and get completely surrounded from all sides.
When the India-China tension began, I had made one simple observation. If you look at the list of the top 10 economies in the world, China does not have a single country it can count on as an ally. In fact, of the top 10 economies, India might be the only country from which China might have some hope for neutrality in event of armed conflict. Everyone else would openly side with the United States. That is how bad China’s situation is. China may be a superpower on its own, but it does not have a single ally.
And what does China do? It charges at us like a raging bull and turns an entire generation of Indians into hardcore enemies.
Let’s see what China has achieved here. Sooner or later they will have to do a complete disengagement from whatever positions they might have encroached here and there. India is totally uncompromising on that.
Meanwhile, they have turbocharged all countries into forming a military alliance against China.
As if needling India was not enough, the Chinese state even carried out a cyber attack on Australia. The Aussie PM did not name China, but said a “state actor” had carried out the attack. The next day he went and purchased a huge cache of long range missiles, the first ever for Australia.
Who are these missiles going to point at? Everyone knows.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has invited Australia to join the “Malabar” exercise in the Indian Ocean. Previously, it used to be India, Japan and the United States. Now the quad is complete.
Meanwhile, India spoke up and dismissed Chinese claims on the South China sea.
Coming from India, a statement like this is practically unprecedented. India almost *never* gets involved in international matters so far away from our borders. This is a 70 year orthodoxy of the Indian diplomatic establishment. We always mind our own business. And while this policy may have its shortcomings, it hasn’t been so bad overall.
But China forced our hand. They poked us for absolutely no reason in Galwan Valley. Now India has gone into an open and tight embrace of the United States and its allies.
This is the nightmare China wanted to avoid. If you look at the Twitter timeline of the Chief Editor of the Global Times, his entire mandate seems to be to run down two countries: India and the United States. That’s quite prestigious for India, I would say. And specifically on India, Global Times has done like a dozen editorials saying the same thing over and over again: India should not be “fooled” by the US into alliance.
Because even China knows that they simply cannot take on the quad: militarily, strategically, economically. It is not even a contest. They can’t seriously hope to kill 20 Indian soldiers in Galwan Valley and then convince India to stay out of the quad by bombarding us with editorials in the Global Times.
They’ve got exactly what they bargained for and deserve every bit of it.
Sure, China has pulled some levers against India too. From Nepal for example. But, seriously? Nepal as an answer to India’s alliance with Japan and the US? That too, I really doubt how much longer Oli will remain as PM of Nepal. From what I am reading, his govt is shaking like a leaf due to internal squabbles.
The military side to this might even be secondary. On the economic front, Chinese tech companies are taking a beating everywhere. The immediate victim appears to be ByteDance, the company that owns Tik Tok. Now, ByteDance hasn’t had an IPO and so we don’t know what the company is really worth. But there was quite some reporting that private equity investors had valued the company at well over $100 billion. Even Chinese media reported that India’s ban would cost them $6 billion. Worse, India’s ban has set off a cascading effect and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of banning Chinese tech companies. The US is trying to ban them too. Bear in mind that America doesn’t really have the legal framework for implementing bans like we do. They have iron clad protections for personal liberty found nowhere else in the world. But the US is going to figure out a way to ban them in a matter of weeks. You’ll see.
In short, China tripped off a global alarm about its intentions. They got everyone together to form a military and economic alliance against them. The world always suspected the worst about China. Galwan Valley became the flashpoint where all suspicions were confirmed. Big mistake.
Now, Japan has thrown away its 70 year policy of “self-defense” and ordered over 100 F-35 aircraft from the US. The US has sent 3 aircraft carriers into the South China Sea for the first time ever. India is no longer minding only its neighborhood and wants to get involved in the South China sea. Australia has put up long range missiles for the first time ever.
Everyone out there has thrown away 60-70 year old security doctrines and united against China. Sun Tzu would be embarrassed at this performance by China.