MG is a senior air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a notable writer on military history.
The rise of China
The rise of China is the defining issue of the 21st century. There are no two opinions about it. Another point we must bear in mind is that with opportunity comes sizeable risk and potential threat. As things stand, the two biggest powers in the world, China and the United States are on a collision course. Evaluating history will show us that when a rising power meets an aging power, it leads to war.
The Ancient Greek historian Thucydides had stated this explicitly 2000 years back about the Peloponnesian War when a rising Athens struck fear into Sparta.
An interesting point is made by Graham Allison, a well-known historian who says this power shift has played out 16 times over the past 500 years — and on 12 occasions, it has ended in war. Yet, time and again we fail to heed history's lesson.
The question which we have to answer here is how China which was an agrarian society till 1990 suddenly rose to have an economy of close to $15 trillion within a space of three decades. Who is responsible for this, if not are the Chinese people such a big genius that they could transform their economy to the second biggest in the world in so short a time.
The answer to this question is the dubious role of the United States and the decadent democracies of Europe. Right from the time when Richard Nixon threw in the towel and visited Beijing in 1973, the United States think tank decided that they would put their eggs in the China basket because they feared the Soviet Union.
Successive American presidents formulated a policy wherein they would make massive investments in China with the fond hope that China was on their side and the main antagonist was Russia. Apart from pouring billions of dollars of investment into China they also turned a blind eye to their nefarious activities. As is well known China rejected the arbitration award on the South China Sea of the International Court of Justice at the Hague. What did the west and the USA do?
The United States tacitly accepted China's domination of the South China Sea. This prompted the Philippine President to say that if the Americans were serious in negating the Chinese influence in the South China Sea then why they did not send five aircraft carriers there? The advent of Donald Trump saw this trend in favor of China rise exponentially and grandly invited President Xi to his resort in Florida and claimed that he got along "very well "with him. There are many issues from Tibet to Sinkiang which Donald Trump soft-pedaled as far as China is concerned but he didn't know that he was in for a wallop.
China made good use of the billions of dollars invested and with reverse engineering as well as industrial espionage was able to take a quantum leap forward. Politically the Americans were completely taken unaware of a strong Russia- China alliance emerging. Here again, Trump and Obama are to blame for literally driving the Russians into the Chinese embrace by putting all sorts of sanctions on Russia. The USA is faced with a formidable adversary.
It has finally dawned on President Trump that China cannot be trusted. The Chinese aim to dominate the financial market of the world and make the Yen the international currency in place of the dollar. They have gone about their aim methodically and have made deep inroads among countries which at one time were supportive of America.Thanks to the western powers China has become the manufacturing hub of the world. The western democracies short of labor have outsourced all the manufacturing activities to China. The bubble had to burst some time and it came with the China virus.
There is a fair amount of evidence to show that this virus originated in China and had something to do with the laboratory in Wuhan. This laboratory incidentally was receiving grants of millions of dollars from the USA.
There is no direct evidence available because China has not allowed any independent investigation into the China virus but there are enough conjectures from events that show that this was a Chinese game plan. The economy of western European countries has been devastated and America has suffered close to 175,000 deaths. All the countries have shown negative economic growth but China still shows a growth of 3.1%. Besides, the virus has not spread in China as it spread around the world. This itself shows that the virus was controlled by the Chinese and was allowed to spread in a planned manner.
It is not a happy thought that the daughter of the President of the USA was awarded six patents by the Chinese government for her products and she must've made a tidy sum of money. Even Joe Biden doesn't inspire confidence when one thinks about his son who had some association with the Chinese. Though Trump has been blowing hot against China, Joe Biden has not said much against China.
There are portents of a clash between the United States and China but again it's easier said than done. The portents point to an economic crash, and the United States will have to do something superhuman not only to contain China militarily but also to revive the economy minus China. This is not going to be easy as the biggest American corporations have invested heavily in China and I wonder how they can come back.
Indian kings were very fond of chess and the present scenario reminds me of a game of chess in which the Chinese are moving in to checkmate the American king. The king will now have to think of something out of the ordinary to get out of the 'check' of the Chinese Queen.
Nobody can forecast the future but history gives us some clues. Civilizations and empires collapsed when they became either too soft and dependent and lost the will to fight. There are numerous examples from history which need not be recounted here but the United States will have to get out of its lethargy. The need of the hour is a strong president who can galvanize America and take willing allies like Japan Australia and India to confront China. He will also have to backtrack on Tibet and ensure that the Chinese are put under pressure for trying to destroy Tibetan culture. The next term of the US president is going to be a very crucial one and it will decide the course of world history. The Americans must realize that they are being faced by a formidable force represented by China joined by Russia and America will have to do better than what are you doing now.
To my way of thinking I do not think any of these two contenders have it in them to snare the Dragon. Reminds me of the tale of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. He was a monster created in a laboratory. China is something similar it has been created by the Western powers and the United States and they will have to think of ways how to bell it. China has many Achilles heels like Tibet, Formosa, and Sinkiang. Who will exploit that?
Many people have asked me whether there would be a hot war, which means a military clash between the USA and China. I don't think this is going to happen but what is likely is an economic invisible war that China has already unleashed on the USA and the West.
What is the urgency of an economic war by China on the USA? The fact is that China has overspent and overbuilt on the mainland and has a hidden debt of almost $ 6 trillion. The economy is not moving forward and the measures taken by the US President have begun to bite. It was in retaliation to this that China unleashed the Wuhan virus. This has had a devastating effect and the unleashing of the China virus has nearly destroyed the US economy.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Small and large businesses have been destroyed. American’s life savings, at their peak a few weeks ago, have vanished. I bring out these figures just to show that America needs a leader who can catch the dragon by the mouth. Trump looks to be the better bet and we will have to wait and see how he goes about in his second term.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 17, 2020:
Colonel are you have written an interesting analysis of the entire scenario.I am convinced China would never have reached this position if the USA and the best had not soft-pedaled everything on China.I wonder what will happen if China continues on the present path and its GDP overtakes the USA, that will be food for thought.It will also mean that China will have greater clout in faraway places like Africa and South America..
Lt Col Parduman Singh on September 13, 2020:
An interesting article. There is no doubt that America facilitates the rise of China by opening its market to goods from China, outsourcing manufacturing activities to China, and investing billions of dollars in that country. The birds have now come home to roost and it is surprising that successive American presidents were so naive and foolish. They have invested in the goodwill of the American people in China. Now they know that China wants to dominate the world and replace the dollar with the yen as the main currency. There are many western nations like Italy and Spain which are totally dependent on China and that is why their criticism of China is so muted. To my mind the EU looks like an old man and nothing can be expected from it Russia is not a big economic power so it is China that now has become not only the manufacturing hub of the world but also a potent force but divisive in the extreme. It will not be easy especially after it engineered the spread of the Wuhan virus and infected the west with it. China itself ensured that the virus did not spread in China and this shows their devious planning. The entire world has shown a negative GDP the Chinese still show a 3% increase. The writing is on the wall, become a slave of China or see that China breaks up into at least four countries like the USSR. It is not difficult if there is a will as the colonies of China like Tibet and Sinkiang can be freed from the clutches of the Dragon.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 13, 2020:
Mike, well written! For the good of the democratic world China has to be caged and it is not impossible to do it. They are vulnerable on a host of issues and if properly tackled there could be an internal implosion in China
Readmikenow on September 13, 2020:
Interesting article. I would like to point out that China's wealth has come because of it having access to the United States market, the largest economy in the world. Without it, China would struggle. ALSO...China is not known for invention its technology. That is where the United States and its allies such as Japan and India hold a huge edge over China. They have to depend on others for their new technology. I agree...China has become a huge problem in the world.