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Let's catch up a little, on recent Chinese aggression, failures and developments.
Xi is in a hole and hasn't learned to stop digging.
So, TAT followers, an early morning invite to talk about Chinese aggression again with the kind folks at TVP/ Polish State TV, led to writing a relatively brief update about Chinese Aggression and Xi’s uncanny ability to make the very worst, strategic decisions.
For a long list of reasons, Poland has become an influential player in European affairs. They host one of the five US garrisons of troops, in Europe and focused on supporting NATO. Like the rest of Europe and the West in general, Poland has a great deal to lose, should China continue to aggressively assault the RBIO/ Rules-Based, International Order. To make matters worse, China is now in an ever-deepening alliance with Putin, the genocidal aggressor in Ukraine. The Soviet Union’s aggression was the actual reason for forming NATO in the first place. Putin’s longing to recover and expand the Cold War version of Russia, is instinctively a threat to all Europeans and for good reasons.
Putin, like the KGB he served in the Soviet era is hellbent on the global expansion of Russia’s interest, no matter who gets hurt.
To set the scene for my series of discussions with TVP, here’s a little background.
China for decades has fought to become a global power and often with Western support due to their commercial potential. Xi isn’t satisfied with commercial power, he is relentless in pursuit of global dominance. Once Xi came to power in March of 2013, he immediately launched into his strategy for regional domination by 2035 and global domination by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. China isn’t communist in any form and hasn’t been for a very long time but, they retain the name for hard to fathom reasons. The strategy Xi settled on for conquest is called the “China Dream” and the methodology, is the BRI/ Belt and Road. For far more depth on the China’s ascension through a narrative lens, please see this embedded link.
The world, All-Under-Heaven, is one, with China / the “Middle Kingdom” at the center and at the pinnacle, is an Emperor or “Son of Heaven”, the sole interface with heaven with no peer. The Han are the “enlightened” while everyone outside is “barbarian” and seeking a tributary relationship with enlightened China for commerce and protection. Those who do not voluntarily seek tributary status must be persuaded or conquered militarily. This will unify All-Under-Heaven under the Chinese paradigm of world order. - Asia Power Watch - Chinese Ascension through a narrative lens - Cobaugh - October 2020
China’s modern government has more to do with “Legalism,” an ancient, couple of thousand years old, system of beliefs that in its simplest form, says, “humans are flawed and will be corrupt but, so long as the emperor gets his cut and the nation’s administrative functions operate, corruption is okay.” This last line is at the heart of some recent, major investigations into high-ranking Chinese officials. This ancient trait, which is still alive and well in Chinese administration, is in full view of the outside world. You can safely bet that when things go horribly wrong for Xi, he will relaunch his infamous, “anti-corruption campaigns.” In other words, he’s scapegoating officials for his own, micro-managed failures and simultaneously purging his political rivals.
Since shortly before and substantially after COVID began, China’s fortunes have declined considerably and again, all due to Xi’s grievous, strategic miscalculations. Xi understands the world outside of China, even less than how poorly, the West understands China. This is what led to the topic covered today with TVP. The current issue began with the European Commission, roughly the equivalent of the US Executive Branch and the EU’s policy-making and decision-making entity, initiating an investigation into Chinese subsidizing their EVs/ electric vehicles. These subsidies put European automakers at a significant disadvantage in sales with Chinese comparable models being priced roughly 20% lower, than European models.
Much to the surprise of many, the EU responded with a bold pushback against the anticipated Chinese complaints and whining. Like most of China’s now nicknamed, “wolf warrior diplomacy, their bark is now, bigger than their bite. Even though the trend of this style of diplomacy has just started to ease a bit, it still can be seen in responses to the West, when Xi’s interests are endangered. The Chinese response to the EU’s investigation, is emblematic of the aggressiveness of such diplomacy.
I congratulate the EU’s firm stance and would hope that they understand that there is no other option. The moment to stand firm is well chosen, as that Xi’s economy is in tatters, his and India’s shared weapons systems of Russian design, have demonstrated disastrous failure against the Western weapons increasingly being shared with Ukraine and his poor decision-making, gives RBIO unity the best chance to date for success. As we learned from Chamberlain’s pre-WW II debacle with Hitler, appeasement only serves the aggressor. His utterance of the phrase, “peace for our time” not only came back to haunt him but contributed to the onset of the second world war.
As noted, China under Xi is an extreme national security threat, for the world. His bromance with Putin, another nuclear armed power and his leverage over victims of his BRI strategy, make for a powerful bloc, commercially and militarily. Like the EU, the US has also been slow to develop a strategy that can take a bite out of Xi’s strategy. While that our newest approach is the best we’ve seen to date, it won’t matter unless the RBIO, continues to stand united against all aggression. Xi’s failure, based on past performance within the RBIO, the EU and Entities like NATO was to misunderstand the impact of his alliance with Russia and the impressive firm stance by NATO in the face of Putin’s genocidal invasion of Ukraine. The current stance against aggression is best seen as, “better late than never.” The EU’s stance over EVs, is part of the current trend to not only say, RBIO, but to enforce it as well.
There are plenty of economic hurdles ahead for Europe, NATO, the US and our Asian allies like Australia, Japan and others. I currently don’t include India due to Modi’s determination, to refuse to criticize Russia or Putin. Modi also operates more like Xi and Putin than he does as a democratic leader. In fact, Indian democracy is under as much strain as is the US, in the face of Trump and MAGA.
NATO’s unity in supporting Ukraine is not only the right thing to do, but it is a clear message to Xi that he’s up against a challenge that he cannot win militarily. This is one reason that he is still aggressive in his commercial endeavors. Up until 2016, Chinese FDI in Europe grew to enormous heights. Since, it has declined precipitously. His insistence on a trade war during the Trump administration, which hurt China as much as it did US citizens who paid the price, was substantial. His self-inflicted wounds from COVID, made everything far worse, for Chinese commercial interests which translates into more failure in his bid for global domination.
In today’s segment, which included a national security expert from Poland who specializes in economic factors, she explained in detail the potential economic pitfalls. She is correct. Trouble lies ahead for everyone aligned against Xi’s merciless ambition. Still, standing against aggression, is very much a “pay me now or pay me later” conundrum. Xi won’t stop and the longer he goes on with the expansion of BRICS, a bromance with Putin, the more expensive it will be to stop his greedy, selfish and very dangerous pursuits.
Now as promised, I will wrap this up as a shorter than normal piece. Please do see the embedded links for more depth, if you wish. They all hail from excellent sources. Remember, we’re not trying to drive China into the ground. We are intentionally seeking, “behavior modification” from China. The Chinese people are suffering as much as the outside world under assault from Xi. They are not the problem. China also has an important, symbiotic relationship with most of the globe’s commercial sectors. There is no reason, after the economic catastrophes of COVID, to sink the global economy again.
The answer is not only in creating and sustaining the RBIO, but in enforcing it. This is where we failed in years past. Like NATO’s unity against Putin, we all must remain united in seeing that Pooh (Xi’s unwelcome nickname in China) and his evil ambitions are hobbled. The lessons Putin is learning from his intransigence are beginning to show signs of China rethinking their approach to the China dream. This rethinking is more of an evolving strategy of conquest, not the rejection of his ultimate goals. We must be prepared for what that evolution looks like and evolve, ahead of, not retroactively to Xi’s threat.
We, NATO, the EU, ASEAN, Organizacion de los Estados Americanos, the African Union etc. are the key players to equitable global relationships. Friends make great allies. Post the Trump administration, the most important thing we can do, is rebuild relationships. We’ve made a good start the past couple of years, but we must sustain our efforts… along with our friends.
My very best for the rest of your week,