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View Full Version : Beijing Belligerence; Why Vietnam Wants Us Back



Odysseus
06-22-2011, 01:01 PM
Beijing belligerence

By ARTHUR HERMAN

Last Updated: 2:48 AM, June 20, 2011
Posted: 11:28 PM, June 19, 2011

Thirty-six years after chasing the United States out of Vietnam, the com munist rulers in Hanoi now want us back. The ironies of this bizarre turn of events are many, but the reason is simple: China.

Beijing has been flexing its newfound military muscle and geopolitical ambitions in the face of its neighbors. Together with its global cyberhacking offenses, China is looking less like an emerging superpower and more like an out-of-control bully.

The latest run-in with Vietnam -- once China's ally, now its steadfast foe -- is over oil exploration in the South China Sea, where China claims sole sovereignty and where Vietnam has staged live fire naval exercises to protect its rights. China has responded with three days and nights of its own exercises, although it says it won't "resort to force" to resolve the dispute. Still, Vietnam has issued a strong statement welcoming foreign help -- a veiled but unmistakable invitation to the US and its Navy.

There's an opportunity here for US policy, not just to close the circle on our most divisive war but to find a new, more realistic approach in dealing with the rulers in Beijing. Because there's trouble brewing for the Middle Kingdom -- and not just in its dealings with its neighbors.

Over the last several weeks, a serious wave of unrest has roiled China's cities with outbreaks of violence -- even bomb blasts -- against the Beijing regime.

There's no sign of an organized uprising a la the Arab Spring. But the number of what the authorities call "mass incidents" has risen steadily. As many as 127,000 occurred in 2008. They are going to get worse before they get better -- and not just because Beijing authorities still can't get a handle on suppressing dissent on the Internet.

China's phenomenal economic growth is sputtering. Rising oil prices and growing inflation are erasing many economic gains. If the US economy, a major source for exports, doesn't recover soon, it could threaten China's long, unbroken record of growth -- setting the stage for more trouble there.

Yes, this flies in the face of the media image of China as an all-knowing, all-powerful juggernaut. Even many in the Obama administration seem to think China is so big and powerful that we don't dare cross or offend it -- especially when it holds all that US debt.

But, then, Americans have a habit of overestimating their rivals. During the Cold War, the media and even the CIA believed all the propaganda that the Soviet economy was competitive with ours -- that is, until the 1980s showed that it was just another Third World basket case.

Then came fears that Japan Inc. would buy us out along with Rockefeller Center, until the wheels came off the Japanese growth machine in the 1990s. More than a decade of Obama-style stimulus packages have kept Japan second-class ever since.

China's growth has been real enough, about 6.1 percent in GNP per head per year from 1978 to 2003 -- although it's not so impressive compared to Japan (8.2 percent), South Korea (7.6 percent) and Taiwan (7.1 percent) in similar takeoff periods.

But it has created huge problems for a central government trying to control a population that, having enjoyed greater economic freedom, now wants to run its own lives -- as this latest wave of unrest shows.

Fears of losing control at home have helped to breed China's adventurism and arrogance abroad. Vietnam is just the latest case, and the open plea for US help shouldn't be ignored.

The Obama White House has been comatose on how to deal with China, except when throwing obsequious banquets in its leaders' honor. Yet a strong, no-nonsense stance would be welcomed by just about every foreign capital, including India, Japan, and Western Europe. It's not just the United States that Chinese hackers have been going after. They've turned banks and businesses in Britain upside down, and reportedly penetrated the PCs of both Germany's prime minister and Australia's.

Indeed, in the end, standing up to China may be the best thing for the Chinese themselves.

A strong, assertive America might get Beijing to stop being the bully and focus on reforms at home, before her economy slides and the turmoil spreads. That's something the Chinese don't want, and the rest of us can't afford.

Arthur Herman's "Gandhi and Churchill" was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/beijing_belligerence_5o518rYDonQdHpwITPoP2J#ixzz1Q 1VgbZIG

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127,000 mass incidents is 347 riots/protest per day. That's 14 per hour, or one every four minutes. Kudos to China's totalitarian aparatus for keeping that out of the news, and kudos to our totalitarian-enamored media for helping them do so. Who says our media isn't competent? Now, we need to look at what this means.:

The good news is that China is not as stable as we thought.

The bad news is that China is not as stable as we thought.

People tend to think that emerging powers start wars, but in fact, they are more likely to be started by declining powers that are struggling to maintain control, or totalitarian movements with an ideological inclination towards expansion and domination. Communist China's replication of 200 years of industrialization in a few decades has created huge social and economic pressures domestically, and has put the Communist Party in the position of having to maintain levels of growth that no nation has ever been able to sustain in order to keep power. In a two party system, a recession or depression usually means electoral defeat. In a one party state, it means revolution. As China's economy declines over the next few years, expect increasingly desperate attempts by the Party to demonize external elements, whip up nationalistic fervor and send surplus men overseas to fight anyone but the Party.

Our policy towards China must therefore be containment. We do have the tools to do this, much more so than we did with the Soviets.
First, they need our cash as much as we need their products. Anything that impacts their export-driven economy impacts the Party's control of the country. It's in their interest to work with us, especially if we make it clear that we have a stick to use along with the carrot. The stick is reciprocity. Every time China violates a trade deal, we need to punish them by imposing similar restrictions. When they export counterfeit goods, we need to confiscate them and ensure that they see no gains from them. When they steal licensed intellectual properties, we need to demand compensation for the copyright or trademark owners. If we strictly enforce our agreements with China, and make it clear that we won't back off unless we get something in return, they will be forced to play.
Second, we need to ensure that our foreign policy makes sense. In an ideal world, China would make a great trading partner and ally. In the real world, they are, at best, a trading partner and neutral power, but their cyberwar and other policies demonstrate that they see themselves as an adversary. So be it. China has a massive disadvantage that most Americans do not understand, and that is that they have no friendly borders. China borders India, Russia, Korea (the North is a buffer state against the South), Vietnam, Japan and a bunch of smaller states that want nothing to do with China. China's alliance with Pakistan is meant to weaken India, but also to gain access to the Indian Ocean and the oil deposits there. They are already working on a pipeline through the Himalayas and Afghanistan, but it requires port facilities in Pakistan to receive the oil. Russia is currently making nice, but Russia's far East holdings are incredibly rich in natural resources and poor in population. Russian cannot maintain control of them, and China would love to expand there. Russia might wise up and recognize the impossibility of holding the east, as the Czar did with Alaska, but Putin isn't likely to offer Siberia to China on terms that China is willing to pay. Conflict is inevitable there. Regardless, we need to be looking at alliances in the far East above and beyond what we already have. That means rapproachment with Hanoi, renewed commitment to Korea, Taiwan and Japan, a new strategic partnership with India (which must emphasize Indian military modernization and expansion) and maintaining assistance to Thailand and the Philippines to resist their insurgencies.

fettpett
06-22-2011, 01:42 PM
sadly, the Obassiha will fuck this up and not know what kind of gift he was given