Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Long Game Worst Case

When it comes to China, the usual discussion devolves to one of a few very comfortable spots; China's peaceful rise; China will get old before it gets rich; or on a dark day, China's rise falters as its internal socio-economic conflicts consume itself.

There are other Courses of Action. The above are from the "Most Likely COA" working group. What comes out of the "Worst Case COA" working group?

Over at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Geoff Wade offers a not unimagible scenario;
In a recent post, I introduced a new PRC book entitled ‘China Is Not Afraid — New Threats to National Security and Our Strategic Responses’, (中国不怕——国防安全新威胁与我们的战略应对). I suggested that the volume is part of a larger PLA strategy to invigorate and bolster the morale of domestic constituencies, both military and otherwise, as well as being intended to serve as a warning to any foreign powers which might seek to constrain or restrict China. It’s perhaps worthwhile further extending this analysis to two other PLA-inspired products, one a film and the other a newsagency article, to explore what sort of agenda these works are promoting.

The Chinese film Silent Contest (较量无声) was controversial as soon as it appeared on Chinese and global websites in October. By the end of that month, the film was being deleted from PRC websites without any official pronouncements as to the reasons for its appearance or disappearance. The film is still available in various iterations (video) on YouTube.

Highly polemical, and set against a rousing soundtrack, the film suggests that the United States is trying to subvert China through five avenues: (1) undermining China politically, (2) engaging in cultural infiltration, (3) warfare in terms of ideas, (4) the training of fifth column agents and (5) the fostering of opposition forces within China. The overall message is that the United States seeks not simply to dismember China but aims to find ways to take it under control.
Yes, you need to read it all, but where is Geoff taking us?
A more troubling example of irredentism can be seen in an article which appeared on the website of the Chinese news agency Zhongguo Xinwenshe (Chinese, English translation here) in July this year. Entitled ‘Revealing the Six Wars China Must Fight in the Coming 50 Years’ (曝光中国在未来50年里必打的六场战争), the article is another manifestation of the hyper-nationalist attitude seen within some parts of the PLA. However, that an article of this nature was carried by a PRC national news agency suggests that it was approved at a very high level.

The six ‘inevitable’ wars suggested in the article’s title are presented in the chronological order in which they will take place:

The war to unify Taiwan (2020–2025)
The war to recover the various islands of the South China Sea (2025–2030)
The war to recover southern Tibet (2035–2040)
The war to recover Diaoyutai and the Ryukyus (2040–2045)
The war to unify Outer Mongolia (2045–2050)
The war to recover the territory seized by Russia (2055–2060)
If I were a Chinese nationalist who wanted his nation to reach its proper place of power and respect, and was willing to use military power to to so, well ... that is about the right list +/-.

Here, brush up on your Mandarin.

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