Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Black Swan Tuesday: China's Cataclysm

There are little black swans, and then there are the big ones.

The unexpected always comes around. With all the talk of rising China, island chains, neo-Middle Kingdomism, and the Amerocentric Pacific Pivot - one must wonder? Is this just one of history's head fakes?

Peter Mattis over at TheNationalInterest sketches it out for us;
A couple of weeks ago, AEI scholar Michael Auslin published a column for the Wall Street Journal about a quiet dinner in Washington where a senior China scholar declared the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had reached the final stage before collapse. The political collapse of the world’s second-largest economy and a nuclear power is no small thing. What should Washington do?
I don't know if we should really do anything. We stumbled through the fall of the Soviet Union and didn't get that right. In a way, that isn't too bad of a model. Back up, stay out of the frag pattern, and let the internal forces "work it out."

Watch, plan, contain, adjust. That is the smart thing to do. The only thing worse than getting involved in a land war in Asia, it to involve yourself in a civil war in Asia. If you do too much directly or indirectly in such a xenophobic nation such as China, soon they will forget their internal conflict and will make you the issue.

Harris talks around a concept that the USA should have a plan to help nudge the collapse in a direction we desire. An admirable goal, but one I don't think is realistic.
If Washington is concerned that the CCP is approaching its twilight, then asserting a moral stake in China’s development requires nothing less than a substantial effort to understand China’s political landscape beyond day-to-day policy-making concerns and to influence Chinese leaders before they pull the trigger on their citizens again. Without advance preparation, U.S. and other international leaders will find the prospects of an unstable China distressing, possibly with the view that it is “too big to fail.” They may even watch from the sidelines as in 1989, not knowing the best course of action or how to influence the decisions of Chinese leaders. This may not be wrong, but such a momentous decision should not be left to ignorance, preexisting mental images or scattered information collected as a crisis breaks.
We simply do not have the track record in this area that gives one confidence, but it wouldn't hurt to put some intellectual heft around various courses of action - hopefully that has already been done.

A huge mercantile nation being run by a Communist Party can't go on forever under the stresses that are already in place. Change is coming; the question is how, to what extent, and when.

Before you get all excited about a rising China collapsing under the weight of its own internal structural defects, the second and third order effects will hit our nation nation hard. 

All those Chinese with the anchor babies and 2nd homes in South Florida and the West Coast? They're coming here.

All that USA debt held in China? It's getting sold.

All those repressed minority groups inside China? They're going to war.

So yea, interesting times ... and at a time we have plenty of our own problems to deal with.

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