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Thread: China's Emergence as a Superpower (till 2014)

  1. #781
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    What makes a superpower? Nuclear weapons and military capabilities? If so, China is much closer to Russia than to the United States. Economic strength? If so, then we should also consider Japan, Germany, and France for nominations as 'superpowers'.

    From wikipedia:

    Alice Lyman Miller defines a superpower as "a country that has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world, and sometimes, in more than one region of the globe at a time, and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemony."
    What is 'dominating power and influence'? Is it the capability to unilaterally press one's agenda on another state? If that's the case, then it precludes the United States, since the US cannot exert 'dominating power' 'anywhere in the world' (i.e. Crimea). According to realist IR, relative power is more important than absolute power, and therefore thinking in those terms, I think we can come to a better understanding if China (or any other state) is truly a 'superpower'.

    According to a national power index I am developing, the power of the top 3 states (US, China, Russia) is statisically distinct from the next 7 (Japan, France, UK, Germany, India, Brazil, Italy). If we move Japan from the second group to the first one, there is still a major difference, so perhaps we should consider Japan a candidate as a 'superpower' as well.

    It's not until we reach #5, France, that the difference between the top powers and the next tier becomes more similar. So I would say that yes, China is a superpower, insofar it's ranked as the second strongest state on my index and is in the top category of powers that also include the United States (#1), Russia (#3), and Japan (#4). But that should also tell us something about the nature of a 'superpower'; it's not necessarily predicated on one profile of capabilities.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Meanwhile, all's well on the domestic front...

    http://www.worldpropertychannel.com/...gency-8176.php

    SWAT Team Rescues Chinese Developer from Furious Customers
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Another one:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonch...-really-worry/

    Furthermore, some crucial indicators were down for January-February. Residential and commercial property sales were down 3.7%, total property sales by floor area were down 0.1%, and construction starts by area were down 27.4%. This data suggests there will be a decline in the services sector later this year.

    The normally optimistic analyst community was stunned. “This is terrible,” said ANZ ’s Liu Li-Gang.
    So why do we have to worry about a China that will not be able to afford its military? Generals and admirals, who seem to have wide influence in Communist Party circles these days, just might not scale back their plans. They could instead think they have a limited window to achieve long-held goals, both to take territory from neighboring countries and to make the international waters of the South China Sea an internal Chinese lake. China’s “senior commanders,” the Economist reports, “are spoiling to show what their shiny new stuff can do.”

    As the vital signs of the economy have deteriorated, the tempo of the country’s aggressive acts have quickened. In the last few years, the Chinese in the South China Sea seized Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines and are now ringing their vessels around Manila’s Second Thomas Shoal, sent army patrols deep into Indian-controlled territory, and infringed Japanese sovereign waters and airspace around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. China’s craft threatened South Korean fishermen and harassed U.S. Navy ships on patrol. Last October, Beijing, in a coordinated effort across the main state media platforms, boasted about its ability to kill tens of millions of Americans with nuclear-tipped missiles launched from submarines. There was no apparent reason for the incendiary publicity campaign.

    There may be only one thing more dangerous than a strong China—a weak and faltering one.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    I don't want to conjure a SU-style implosion but Yegor Gaidar's book contains a gem of quote:

    When Gerorgy Shakhnazarov, aide to Mikhail Gorbachev asked in the early 80s, "Why do we need to make so many weapons?" Chief of the General Staff Sergei Akhromeyev replied, "Because through enormous sacrifice we have created first-class plants that are no worse than what the Americans have. What, are you going to tell them to stop working and make pots and pans instead? That's simply Utopian."
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default 20% of Chinese farmland is toxic

    Just what drives China's expansion? Well maybe it is this, with my emphasis:
    Unbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China's farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time.

    The report, issued by the ministries of Environmental Protection and Land and Resources, says 16.1 percent of the country's soil in general and 19.4 percent of its farmland is polluted with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and arsenic. It was based on a soil survey of more than 2.4 million square miles of land across China, spanning a period from April 2005 until December 2013. It excluded special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.


    In a dire assessment, the report declares: "The overall condition of the Chinese soil allows no optimism."

    Link:http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...s-contaminated


    There is a link to an offocial PRC news agency report and The Guardian report.


    Might this loss of productive land explain Chinese interest in overseas agricultural land purchase and of course earning foriegn exchange to enter the world food market.
    davidbfpo

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    Several of the recent posts indicate PRC is perhaps rotten to its core internally, and I tend to agree with many that PRC faces significant domestic challenges. Some will likely interpret this as a PRC that is too hamstrung by domestic issues to lash out, while others will see a more dangerous PRC that will seek to mitigate the impact of their domestic challenges by potentially lashing out at one of their neighbors to generate a nationalistic spirit that distracts their citizens from their dissatisfaction with their government. Some member states of the European Union think the U.S. underestimates China as a threat and sees a historical parallel to Nazi Germany's rise.

    The most dangerous adversaries we have had historically since the American Revolution have been rotten on the inside (domestic/economic issues) (Nazi Germany, USSR, Iraq, Iran, etc.), but that alone doesn't prevent them from being dangerous. In may in fact make them more dangerous.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Some member states of the European Union think the U.S. underestimates China as a threat and sees a historical parallel to Nazi Germany's rise.
    Who's saying that on the European side? Not saying it isn't so, I just haven't heard it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The most dangerous adversaries we have had historically since the American Revolution have been rotten on the inside (domestic/economic issues) (Nazi Germany, USSR, Iraq, Iran, etc.), but that alone doesn't prevent them from being dangerous. In may in fact make them more dangerous.
    It does make them more dangerous. There's no telling what could happen in the event of serious domestic economic upheaval and/or social strife. As much as we dislike the current Chinese order, the last thing we'd want to see would be it's fall, because the most likely successor would be the PLA, in one form or another.

    I do suspect that our fears about China may be misdirected in many ways. We hear way too much talk like "if China keeps growing at it's current rate, by 20__ they will uy us all and have us for breakfast. The danger isn't that China will grow forever and swallow the world, the danger is that China will stop growing and go berserk over it.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Just what drives China's expansion? Well maybe it is this, with my emphasis:
    So. Once again, Lebensraum.

    Also,

    China's seizure of a Japanese cargo ship over a pre-war debt could hit business ties, Japan's top government spokesman has warned.

    Shanghai Maritime Court said it had seized the Baosteel Emotion, owned by Mitsui OSK Lines, on Saturday.

    It said the seizure related to unpaid compensation for two Chinese ships leased in 1936.

    The Chinese ships were later used by the Japanese army and sank at sea, Japan's Kyodo news agency said.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27068466

    See also
    Japan in China: 1937 - 1945
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=14255
    Last edited by AdamG; 04-21-2014 at 02:12 PM.
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  9. #789
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
    So. Once again, Lebensraum.
    Probably not. The Senkakus and the Spratlys combined couldn't accommodate the population of one city block in Beijing or Shanghai, and Beijing isn't showing any interest in any territory that could provide lebensraum. The current efforts seem less aimed at measurable material gain that at fueling jingoism and national pride as a distraction from an increasingly lousy domestic state of affairs. If the Chinese really needed lebensraum it would be easier to move people west to Xinjiang, which has more of it than anyone the Chinese would be likely to conquer, than to go out looking to conquer it.

    Somewhat superficial review:

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...15182434090254

    but this quote caught interest:

    Visiting Manila in February, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert answered a hypothetical question about China seizing Philippine-controlled territory in the Spratlys. "Of course we would help you," he said initially—before adding: "I don't know what that help would be specifically. I mean, we have an obligation because we have a treaty. But I don't know in what capacity that help is."
    That's obviously not a very reassuring statement, but it does raise the question of what the US could or would do if China makes a move on Second Thomas Shoal, the current object of contention.

    Worth noting that China can't exactly "seize" the shoal: there's nothing to seize, it's underwater. The Philippine garrison (8 marines) lives on an ancient LST that was run up on the reef back in the 90s. The current Chinese strategy appears to be to force a Philippine withdrawal by harassing resupply missions and preventing efforts to repair the ship, which is structurally very unsound and at serious risk of collapse. The Chinese could of course take the ship or destroy it with the greatest of ease, but seem more interested in just letting it collapse, which would force a Philippine withdrawal. There's some question over whether the hull will survive another typhoon season; it's apparently in pretty bad shape (the shoal is not in the usual typhoon track but catches heavy seas from typhoons passing north and from the June-Oct SW monsoon). Typhoon season starts in July, so the window for major repair is very short.

    Given those circumstances, how would the US usefully intervene? Possibly by helicoptering in needed materials, equipment, and technicians fpor repairs (large vessels can't get close enough, shallow water)...
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 04-22-2014 at 09:11 AM.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Vulnerabilities

    Once more hat tip to the Australian Lowy Institute e-briefing for its maritime dimension. First
















    Then imported oil (in 2012).
    davidbfpo

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    Default Chinese Navy tries to copy Top Gun

    I am sure holes will be picked in this and it is not clear if the aircraft carrier is fully operational:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...LCC=454764420&
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    The maritime trade graphics are interesting, and illustrative.

    The the percentage of the world's merchandise and commodity trade passing through SE Asia is often interpreted as a threat from China, on the assumption that China could do great damage by interrupting that trade. What that assumption fails to recognize is that the vast majority of that trade is moving in or out of China, and that China is the party most vulnerable to any trade disruption in the area. The graphics above represent less a threat from China than a threat to China: a trade interruption in the Starais of Malacca, or further abroad in the Indian Ocean, where the PLAN has virtually no capacity to project power, would be a problem of staggering dimensions for China, which depends on trade more than any nation in the world.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Interesting...

    https://ph.news.yahoo.com/eu-firms-h...051120343.html

    EU firms help power China's military rise

    As China boosts its military spending, rattling neighbours over territorial disputes at sea, an AFP investigation shows that European countries have approved billions in transfers of weapons and military-ready technology to the Asian giant.

    China's air force relies on French-designed helicopters, while submarines and frigates involved in Beijing's physical assertion of its claim to vast swathes of the South China Sea are powered by German and French engines -- part of a separate trade in "dual use" technology to Beijing's armed forces...
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Probably exaggerated to some extent, but worth considering:

    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/8a12e8ef7edc

    The Chinese Military Is a Paper Dragon

    ...China’s military buildup, along with an aggressive foreign policy, has inspired a fair amount of alarm in the West. Some American policymakers consider Beijing to be Washington’s only “near-peer competitor”—in other words, the only country with the military might to actually beat the U.S. military in certain circumstances.

    But they’re wrong. Even after decades of expensive rearmament, China is a paper dragon—a version of what Mao Zedong wrongly claimed the United States was … in 1956.

    China’s military budget has grown by double-digits year after year, but inflation has eaten away at the increases. China’s army, navy, air force and missile command are wracked by corruption—and their weapons are, by and large, still greatly inferior to Western equivalents...
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Chinese Navy developments & operations

    This looks like a good starting place for a dedicated thread -
    The History of the Twenty-First-Century Chinese Navy

    The strategic direction of the People’s Liberation Army Navy has evolved rapidly since the end of the Cold War and China’s rise as an economic power. Yet, as Bernard Cole reminds us, the Chinese Navy being built today may owe as much to its past as to its future.

    By Bernard Cole for US Naval War College

    This article first appeared in the Naval War College Review (Summer 2014, Vol. 67, No. 3) published by the U.S. Naval War College.
    http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Libra...g=en&id=181186

    See also http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...209#post153209
    Last edited by AdamG; 07-03-2014 at 03:21 PM. Reason: Cross-threading for simulations
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The Danger Zone in Naval Arms Races

    China’s naval advantages are wasting assets, giving Beijing ever more reason to seize the initiative.
    and the money shot;

    I believe China and the United States inhabit a danger zone of a different sort today. In this case, the stronger contender let its margin of military supremacy dip temporarily. Shipwrights, aeronautical engineers, and weapons scientists are working to restore that margin. But while they do so, the lesser contender holds certain advantages and enjoys time and maneuvering space. It also understands that today’s opportunity could prove fleeting. A now-or-never mentality may prevail in Beijing.
    http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/the-d...al-arms-races/
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    China's navy will be part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare drill for the first time ever. In a press conference after a welcoming and opening ceremony, more details of the month long biennial war games have been revealed.

    The 2014 RIMPAC is officially on, after the U.S. Navy held a welcoming ceremony for the participants of the month long multinational naval drill

    A total of 22 nations will take part in this year’s drill, which is organized by the US navy.
    http://english.cntv.cn/2014/07/03/VI...25303111.shtml
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    China's military is investing heavily in advanced submarines, including both ballistic and cruise missile firing vessels and attack subs.

    Recently, Beijing showed off what appears to be a mock-up of its next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine, according to veteran military analyst Rick Fisher.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...#ixzz36bkv6a7e
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    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


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    Default Protecting China's investments and people abroad

    Moderator's Note

    Until 25th October 2014 this thread had the title 'Chinese infantry arrive in South Sudan', it has now been changed to 'Protecting China's investments and people abroad'. A smaller thread has been merged in (ends).


    SWC has discussed China's increasing role in Africa and elsewhere, primarily as economic relationships develop into influence and power.

    Now we learn via the WSJ:
    China began deploying 700 soldiers (an infantry battallion) to a United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan to help guard the country's embattled oil fields and protect Chinese workers and installations.....While Beijing's troops will operate under U.N. command, their posting to South Sudan marks a sharp escalation of China's efforts to ensure the safety of its workers and assets in Africa and guarantee a steady flow of energy for domestic consumption. The deployment marks the first time Beijing has contributed a battalion to a U.N. peacekeeping force, U.N. officials said.
    Access maybe behind a wall:http://online.wsj.com/articles/china...ers-1410275041

    A quick search found reports in June 2014 that China would deploy; I don't recall that SWC spotted that.

    There are relevant threads for context:

    1) UN peacekeeping:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8209

    2) South Sudan has two recent threads, the crisis in 2013:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=19678 and an older thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16026

    3) China's expanding role in Africa:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2164

    Somehow I doubt these Chinese soldiers will be leaving until the oil runs out or South Sudan, even the AU, demand they leave.

    China contributed in August 2014 to ten UN peacekeeping missions, a total of 2,192 personnel (1,984 soldiers and 172 police), this makes them one of the mid-range contributors:http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/co...14/aug14_1.pdf

    Where? Soldiers are present in formed units in six missions (three are military experts aka observers) and in formed units (military & police):

    MINUSMA in Mali 389
    MONUSCO in DRC 209
    UNAMID in Darfur 333
    UNIFIL in South Lebanon 210
    UNMIL in Liberia 689
    UNMISS in South Sudan 337

    See:http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/co...14/aug14_3.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-25-2014 at 08:04 PM. Reason: Add Mods NOte
    davidbfpo

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    There to bring peace or guard Chinese interests?

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