Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXVII

What if the great Sino-American rivalry for world domination failed to launch? 

What if we are near, or at least within sight of Peak-China?

It is worth pondering. Just like generations have died waiting for Brazil to take its place on the world stage - what if China's t contradictions are just too much for it to take the place so many China hands expect it to?

China isn't a Communist nation anymore. She is a totalitarian quasi-socialist state with Chinese characteristics. That shapes everything.

There were two articles out recently that are worth your attention.

First, Robert Hein over at StrategyBridge;
In 2012, China’s workforce decreased by 3.5 million and is forecast to continue its decline. Some estimates indicate that by 2020 Shanghai, a city with almost 15 million people, will have a population in which fully one-third will be over age 60. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal estimates that by mid-century the population of China will consist of 186 single men for every 100 single women, a recipe for increased crime and dissension, (as well as a continued declining birth-rate). China’s ability to maintain a self-sustaining workforce is waning rapidly.
China has been unable to develop its education infrastructure to meet its requirements. The wealthy are able to send their children overseas, and China sends over a quarter million of its students to US colleges and universities. However their inability to meet educational demand domestically will limit their ability to meet professional domestic requirements, thus limiting their ability to make the transition to an advanced economy. Basically, China is great at making “things,” but how much has China actually developed?
China no longer finds comfort in an infinite event horizon; rather they are coming to a recognition that decline is imminent. China’s power is still rising, but the slope of that line is rapidly flattening, and China knows that if it doesn’t reach its objectives soon the opportunity may be lost. This suggests China is likely to become more aggressive in achieving their objectives in the coming decade. The best answer the West has to prevent Chinese ambitions in the near term is to ensure a level of deterrence strong enough to demonstrate that the additional costs to China just isn’t worth it.
Contain, calm, and wait.

Keeping with the closeted optimist bent of today's post - not unrelated, when reading Wyatt Olsen over at MilitaryTimes bit titled, China Reorganizing Military to Close Gap with US, I wasn't so much taken with this view,
China's armed forces are undergoing a sweeping five-year reorganization aimed at creating central control over the military's nearly autonomous branches and creating a more lethal fighting force to close the gap with US capabilities, analysts say.
"Should the proposed reforms be successfully implemented, the PLA will emerge as a much more capable, lethal and externally oriented fighting force," concluded a status report on the US rebalance to the Pacific by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.,-based think tank.
... but this one,
The reorganization carries political, institutional and operational mandates for the military. 
Politically, Xi appears to be trying to make the military more "red" by re-concentrating power and authority over the armed forces by the Central Military Commission, which Xi chairs, Finkelstein wrote. The military commission is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. 
Unyielding party control of the PLA "is viewed as a prerequisite for pushing through this reorganization and reform because so many institutional and personal interests throughout the military are going to be adversely affected," Finkelstein wrote.
That. That is where my money is going. 

History on occasion throws head fakes, look out for them.

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