Beware another Pearl Harbor: China may start a war when its economy falters


#1

January 20, 2013 12:14 am

By Jack Kelly / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

China has threatened Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam with war over islands in the South China Sea which under international law belong to Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

China has built up its military forces opposite Taiwan, even though the new Taiwanese government seeks closer ties to Beijing.

China is building up military forces along its border with India, India’s intelligence service reported in July.

If that weren’t saber-rattling enough, “China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war,” a Chinese general said last month.

China bullies its neighbors because it can, most analysts think.

“Beijing is deploying superior power in an effort to repeal basic [geography] and clearly written treaty law,” wrote James Holmes, a professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College. He suggests that Southeast Asia “learn to love Big Brother.”

There could be a very different reason for Chinese bellicosity.

“The Chinese leadership could be tempted to galvanize inherent xenophobic fervor to divert domestic attention to an external threat,” said an analysis by India’s intelligence service.

Picking a quarrel abroad to distract a restive populace from troubles at home is a time-honored practice among despots everywhere. No one has played the “foreign devil” card more often than the Chinese.

Nearly all Chinese dynasties have ended violently.

Deng Xiaoping bought the communist dynasty more time with his economic reforms. Political control was kept tight, but he gave China as close to a market economy as a totalitarian system could permit. China escaped from the stagnation that has characterized communist economies everywhere else. Growth hasn’t been as spectacular as the government has claimed, but it’s been enough to lift substantially the standard of living for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

Now, time is running out. Chinese prosperity was based on exports, boosted by currency manipulation. But since Western economies crashed in 2008, neither we nor the Europeans have bought nearly as much. So “China’s economy is sinking like a heavy dumpling in chicken broth,” said one analyst.

To conceal slower growth, China’s rulers inflated a housing bubble much larger than ours, and accumulated enough debt to make our politicians seem frugal. Most of the money went to state-owned enterprises “known mainly for their unique ability to sink perfectly good money into bottomless holes,” wrote professor Minxin Pei of Claremont-McKenna College.

Now the housing bubble is bursting, and what Mr. Pei calls “the mother of all debt bombs” is about to explode. The Chinese economy will contract.

“There will be hell to pay” when that happens, because the people no longer will tolerate the ostentatious corruption of Communist Party officials, Hillsdale College professor Paul Rahe predicts.

What will happen in China will be very much like what happened during the French Revolution, Mr. Rahe believes. In the years leading up to it, things had been getting much better for the French, Alexis de Tocqueville noted in his 1856 book “The Ancien Regime and the Revolution.” Then progress stopped.

“What happened in and after 1789, Tocqueville argued, was a revolution of rising expectations – expectations that eventuated in disappointment,” Mr. Rahe wrote.

Communist Party officials are passing around copies of de Tocqueville’s book, an Australian newspaper reported in November.

Desperate people do desperate things. When, in a year or so, economic contraction becomes too big to hide, China’s rulers may start a war to redirect public ire onto a “foreign devil.”

India’s Research and Analysis Wing thinks the most likely targets for a Chinese attack are the Scarborough Shoal belonging to the Philippines or Tibet. The Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, believes war may start over the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited pile of rocks administered by Japan, because new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe isn’t backing down in the face of Chinese threats.

To make sure America couldn’t interfere with their territorial ambitions in Asia, the Japanese attacked the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. If China starts a war, it may begin the same way, for the same reason.

Read more: post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/jack-kelly/beware-another-pearl-harbor-china-may-start-a-war-when-its-economy-falters-671184/#ixzz2IorjeOTE


#2

:popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn:

I’m certain all of our intelligence assets are watching this very closely. I hate scare tactics. And the Russians had better watch their backs as well. We didn’t have dedicated satellite systems before Pearl Harbor. And unless a billion Chinese troops want to walk across the Pacific Ocean, all of our submarines and other naval assets will be in place.

If you want to get more eyeballs, just scare the people with stupid headlines.

Peace,
Ed


#3

India’s Research and Analysis Wing thinks the most likely targets for a Chinese attack are the Scarborough Shoal belonging to the Philippines or** Tibet.** The Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, believes war may start over the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited pile of rocks administered by Japan, because new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe isn’t backing down in the face of Chinese threats.

I don’t know why Tibet would be mentioned when China already controls Tibet, it seems hardly autonomous and is so remote, I don’t see how Western Powers could come to its aid anyway.

These kinds of headlines have been around for years. I think I agree with the commentator, Chinese, who says in all likelihood, China will only become a more influential nation. It’s unfortunate what happens in China but it is a huge nation and has been really since the days of Christ. They haven’t really caused strife on a widespread basis since their cultural revolution. That’s not to say they still don’t do a lot of wrong.


#4

I agree regarding the unfortunate, attention-grabbing choice of wording in the heading such that we have seen before, although that is what the author wrote so I had to keep it as it is :rolleyes: I think the author is simply trying to highlight the very real dangers of a war in the South China Sea between the Peoples Republic and at the very least Japan and at worst with the Phillipines, Vietnam and other nations also. Its fragile and dangerous at the moment.

Certainly China will become even more influential in the years to come. No doubt about that. It needs, however, to stop being so bellicose towards other Asian nations and thereby risking regional safety. There is a real hyper-nationalism within the country right now that I think is most unhelpful since it rests upon mistaken, premature assumptions that China’s “time has come” to take the lead in world affairs and dictate to other nations where there sovereignity lies. It also misrepresents the qualms of some of its own citizens who, despite being stoutly nationalistic, are dissatisfied with corruption in the party.


#5

A related article (in topic that is) from the New York Times two days ago:

Japan, China struggle to curb tensions

BEIJING — Judging by some of the commentary in the Chinese media, an outside observer might think war with Japan is imminent. “The Chinese military could win a war over the Diaoyu Islands in half an hour,” Major General Zhang Zhaozhong, a Chinese military scholar, was quoted as saying last week.

Chinese hawks are not the only ones raising the spector of a military clash between Asia’s two largest economies. Since Tokyo infuriated Beijing last September by nationalizing some of the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu in China and Taiwan, tensions between the two countries have escalated.

Both militaries regularly fly fighter jets in the airspace above the islands and have scrambled them against each other.

Japan’s coast guard on Monday cited three Chinese vessels in waters near the islands. In response to warnings to leave the area, the Chinese ships broadcast messages over loudspeakers in Japanese and Chinese stating, “This is historically Chinese territory.”

It is the latest in a series of bellicose exchanges that some observers fear could lead to a clash.

“There is indeed a risk of an accident, although the possibility that it could escalate further into a full-scale conflict is very, very small,” said Huang Dahui, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing.

In the U.S., which could see itself dragged into a conflict as Japan’s military ally, diplomacy has moved up a gear in recent days. Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs, said on a visit to Tokyo last week: “We’ve made very clear our desire to see cooler heads prevail.”

The U.S. was criticized by Beijing on Monday after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, argued last week that Washington opposed “any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration” of the islands.

“The U.S. bears undeniable historical responsibility,’’ for the situation, Hong Lei, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying.

Washington, anxious to avoid a confrontation with China so early in the tenure of Xi Jinping, the ruling Communist party’s new leader, has told Japan not to give China an excuse to overreact.

But Japan also has a new leader and both Shinzo Abe, prime minister, and Xi will fear that showing weakness could damage them domestically.

In China, the military and a nationalist public hope that Xi, who is expected to lead the world’s most populous country for the next decade, will assert China’s interests more forcefully than Hu Jintao, his predecessor.

The Chinese government has seized on Tokyo’s nationalization move to cement its own claim to the Senkakus with a series of legal, administrative and military moves.

In Japan, the Liberal Democratic party and its nationalist leader, Abe, won a landslide election in December after a campaign which promised a tougher stance on China.

Abe has quietly dropped a campaign proposal to station civilian government officials on the islands but risks alienating conservative supporters if he fails to respond to perceived Chinese provocation.

Japanese authorities also fear that if they don’t challenge China, Beijing could present Japan’s passivity as evidence of a lack of control over the islands.

Already, Beijing has called on Tokyo to recognize a change in the status quo. Echoing that stance, Liu Jiangyong, an international relations expert at Tsinghua University, claims that “the Diaoyu islands are by no means exclusively controlled by Japan.”

Since taking office, Abe has called for more defense spending and initiated a program of regional diplomacy that looks aimed squarely at countering China.

At the same time, advisers in Beijing and Tokyo insist the governments want to de-escalate, but are struggling over how to lower tensions.

Kuni Miyake, a former Japanese foreign ministry official and now a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, believes any climbdown would have to be negotiated secretly. “There is a face issue involved, and neither side wants to be the one to initiate [a de-escalation].”

One step Tokyo might take would be to abandon its official position that no territorial dispute exists. People close to the government say Japan might accept adjudication by the International Court of Justice, but only if China requests it.

“The Chinese government will not do that,” said a person who has been advising the government on relations with Japan. “Japan has had actual control of the islands for a long time, and that would not be in China’s favor.”

washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japan-china-struggle-to-curb-tensions/2013/01/21/62e8fe42-63f9-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html


#6

China would probably sell their U.S. Treasuries first.


#7

For China, I often read “The Epoch Times” which seems published by the Falun Gong but often they have real good news, even sports so I don’t know who all their sources and resources are.

Death of Pregnant Woman Sparks Riot in Central China
By Gu Qing’er

Angry protesters in China overturned a police car after a hospital failed to explain the death of a pregnant woman in Hubei Province.

Angry protesters in China overturned a police car after a hospital failed to explain the death of a pregnant woman in Hubei Province.
Chinese Regime in Crisis

A mass protest erupted between police officers and locals in central China over the unexplained death of a pregnant woman in hospital.

The pregnant woman, Li Liuli, was given a Caesarean section by staff at the Jianli County Central Hospital in Hubei Province more than a week ago, but the following day she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on Jan. 17.

Relatives of Li’s family gathered in front of the hospital with her body, demanding to know what caused her death, with a banner that read: “My newborn lost its mother to incompetent doctors.”

theepochtimes.com/n2/china-news/death-of-pregnant-woman-sparks-riot-in-central-china-338413.html

Quite a story. A lot of dissent there. From the Chinese and from the diverse ethnic peoples there.


#8

:thumbsup:

It is indeed quite a story, highlighting the unrest in the country. Thanks!


#9

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. We want some islands and Japan won’t give them to us. So if we seize them by force, it will make us a few hundred Yuan a year. National honor will be saved. Meanwhile, the Chinese peasants still continue to labor on their farms.

Russia is watching this and still has the capability to enter the conflict - if any - and give China a wake-up call. Do you know the city with the most billionaires? Moscow. US intelligence will be closely watching for increases in production of military hardware, the movements of troops and unusual activity.

bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21137144

Peace,
Ed


#10

Thanks for the article Ed :thumbsup:


#11

No problem.

Ed


#12

On the issue of the Chinese military officer warning Australia to stay neutral in any hypothetical Sino-Japanese conflict over the islands, which I brought up in this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=747834, there is also this article from the Sydney Morning Herald (to get the Australians own slant on this):

smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/shun-us-tiger-and-japanese-wolf-chinese-colonel-warns-20130122-2d52d.html

Shun US 'tiger' and Japanese 'wolf', Chinese colonel warns

BEIJING: A Chinese military officer has raised the spectre of nuclear weapons and warned Australia not to side with the United States and Japan as a territorial dispute in the East China Sea continues to escalate.

Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, of the National Defence University, blamed America’s ‘‘orchestration’’ and Japan’s ‘‘militarism’’ for rising tensions over disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

Colonel Liu Mingfu asked that his views be conveyed directly to Julia Gillard.

‘‘America is the global tiger and Japan is Asia’s wolf and both are now madly biting China,’’ Colonel Liu said. ‘‘Of all the animals, Chinese people hate the wolf the most.’’

China was a peaceful nation but it would fight to the death if seriously attacked, he said.

Both sides and the US have in recent days traded strident warnings over alleged territorial incursions, while holding out hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough. Diplomats privately warn of a growing risk of accident or miscalculation.

Asked about the People’s Liberation Army fighting capability, Colonel Liu referred to the PLA department that houses China’s strategic missile and nuclear arsenal. He raised a hypothetical scenario that he said would justify a nuclear attack, while clarifying that he was not calling upon China to take such measures.

‘‘If this Japanese wolf again attacks America’s Pearl Harbour or Australia’s Darwin, how do you know it wouldn’t receive another nuclear bomb?’’ Colonel Liu said. ‘‘The world would hail if Japan receives such a blow.

‘‘I don’t want to mention China here, as it is sensitive,’’ he added.

Colonel Liu is one of a group of outspoken hawkish PLA officers who do not claim to speak on behalf of the leadership but are given licence to speak stridently on some issues at certain times.

Foreign diplomats say they can serve to provide unofficial warnings, test foreign reactions and rally nationalistic support for the Communist Party or sections of it.
They can also complicate China’s diplomatic objectives and place leaders under pressure to demonstrate their nationalistic credentials.

Colonel Liu directly warned Australia not to follow the US or Japan into any military conflict with China. He said Australia should play the role of a ‘‘kind-hearted lamb’’ and China would discourage it from being led astray.

‘‘Australia should never play the jackal for the tiger or dance with the wolf,’’ he said.
Colonel Liu asked that his message be conveyed directly to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as she prepares to deliver a major speech on national security.

Like her predecessors, Ms Gillard has maintained that Australia will not have to choose between its economic and security interests.

‘‘American hegemony is not at its dawn and not at its zenith,’’ Colonel Liu said. ‘‘It is at its sunset and night is coming.’’

A consultant to the US Pentagon and author of The Rise of China Versus The Logic of Containment, Edward Luttwak, said China was ‘‘grossly overestimating’’ its military capability and underestimating the regional response.

He said deep geopolitical forces were at work that could be managed but not reversed.
‘‘Militant nationalism is the only possible substitute for ex-communists who seek to retain power,’’ Mr Luttwak said.

‘‘And for the US, its entire political culture mandates the containment of China’s new territorial revisionism.’’

Colonel Liu and other military figures have been buoyed by the ascension of the new Communist Party and PLA boss, Xi Jinping. One of Mr Xi’s new political mottoes, the ‘‘China Dream’’, echoes the title of a best-selling book by Colonel Liu, which has had sales restrictions removed since Mr Xi’s arrival.

Colonel Liu said his views did not represent Chinese government policy, but were consistent with what mainstream political and military leaders think, if not what they say.

In separate written comments he said the US was building ‘‘a mini-NATO’’ to contain China, with the US and Japan at its core and Australia within its orbit.

Read more: smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/shun-us-tiger-and-japanese-wolf-chinese-colonel-warns-20130122-2d52d.html#ixzz2Ip92zIU3


#13

But in ways, the US is remiss of some of our foreign policy dealings. This much is so.


#14

Some parts of the colonel’s words that interest me:

"…‘‘America is the global tiger and Japan is Asia’s wolf and both are now madly biting China,’’ Colonel Liu said. ‘‘Of all the animals, Chinese people hate the wolf the most.’’

He raised a hypothetical scenario that he said would justify a nuclear attack, while clarifying that he was not calling upon China to take such measures.

Colonel Liu directly warned Australia not to follow the US or Japan into any military conflict with China. He said Australia should play the role of a ‘‘kind-hearted lamb’’ and China would discourage it from being led astray.

‘‘Australia should never play the jackal for the tiger or dance with the wolf,’’ he said.
Colonel Liu asked that his message be conveyed directly to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as she prepares to deliver a major speech on national security

‘‘American hegemony is not at its dawn and not at its zenith,’’ Colonel Liu said. ‘‘It is at its sunset and night is coming.’’…"

This is the kind of rhetoric that one often sees from Chinese military leaders and officials - not to mention many civilians - that exaggerates China’s “rise” and America’s supposed fragility. I do not think that it is based wholly in reality. China is powerful, yes, but it is not yet the world’s superpower.


#15

Russia had recently conducted overflights of northern Europe and gotten the “Hey. What the heck? Don’t fly your warplanes over our country.” Everybody in the region wants to show it’s aware and awake and capable of fending off any threats. Plus, it keeps soldiers and pilots in the ‘right frame of mind.’ You don’t want your men to be complacent.

Watching the professional military writings in the US, especially from the Navy, the constant repetition is “China. China. China.” However, as the global situation changes, the military draws up response scenarios and a list of trigger events. On the diplomatic front, our voice gets expressed to those involved.

Besides, China has too many Wal-Marts. The economic loss would be… I can’t even say it :slight_smile:

Peace,
Ed


#16

Nope. Not to worry about China. They still smoke cigarettes over there. Also their one child only policy is going to have astounding subsequent consequences. Then there is the fact that they fundamentally are not a Christian Nation. The only real moral rules they have is the rule of Law. And what ever remains of confuscianism, buddhism, etc. Ergo - how can they hold together? The Christian movement is gaining some ground over there tho…

That said, and if I were a secularist, I would indeed **tremble **at all the televised News that is thrown about in terms of the world’s position being quite precarious. :cool:


#17

I have my doubts about this.

China has not historically been an expansionist power in the normal sense of that. If the Chinese economy craters, about which i have serious doubts, the Chinese people will be mollified by a foreign adventure, particularly over a few piles of rocks in the Pacific?

Just doesn’t seem terribly likely to me.


#18

[quote="Ridgerunner, post:17, topic:312336"]
I have my doubts about this.

China has not historically been an expansionist power in the normal sense of that. If the Chinese economy craters, about which i have serious doubts, the Chinese people will be mollified by a foreign adventure, particularly over a few piles of rocks in the Pacific?

Just doesn't seem terribly likely to me.

[/quote]

Well, China has invaded other nations since its Communist revolution in 1949. It invaded India in 1962, for example. In 1988, China occupied the disputed Johnson Reef in the Spratlys. And in 1995, China seized Mischief Reef. It invaded Vietnam in 1979 and has been occupying Tibet for decades. Read this on the 1962 India war:

At sunrise on October 20, 1962, China’s People’s Liberation Army invaded India with overwhelming force on two separate flanks – in the west in Ladakh, and in the east across the McMahon Line in the then North-East Frontier Agency. The Chinese aggression, and the defeat and humiliation it wreaked on an unprepared India, remain deeply embedded in the Indian psyche. India was taken completely unawares by the invasion. This reflected political naivete on its part...The first political objective was to humiliate India, China’s Asian rival. Mao was determined to cut India to size and to undermine what India represented – a pluralistic, democratic model for the developing world that seemingly threatened China’s totalitarian political system.

The PLA’s military adventure against India was clearly punitive in nature, a judgement reinforced by Premier Zhou Enlai’s ready admission that it was intended “to teach India a lesson” – a lesson India has not forgotten to this day. The second wave of assaults was designed to heap ignominy by soundly thrashing India

chellaney.net/2007/04/02/when-china-invaded-india/

the Chinese began withdrawing from the areas they had penetrated on India’s eastern flank, between Bhutan and Burma, but they kept their territorial gains in the West—part of the original princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. India had suffered a humiliating rout, and China’s international stature had grown substantially.

Read this article which explains what we can learn from the Sino-Indian war of 1962: thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/28/how-china-fights-lessons-from-the-1962-sino-indian-war.html

It is thus no virgin when it comes to territorial disputes and the acquisition of land from other countries. In fact the border dispute with India has been resurrected since 2006. See this article in "The Economist": economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/05/indian_pakistani_and_chinese_border_disputes


#19

A prolonged war with lots of casualties solves many of their “one child” issues. Our nation has gone broke fighting the War on Poverty and sending a small military expedition to the Middle East. What do you think a medium sized regional war against the US’s second biggest creditor will do to the US economy?


#20

Everyone here is missing the real big picture. You forget the Roman rape of the Sabine women.

There is a woeful lack of eligible brides because of the one child law. Female abortion and infanticide has skewed the ratio of male/female. If the People’s Army marches it is to get women. That is scarier then any old uninhabited piles of rock. Or it will be just to have somebody get rid of their excess male population. Still scary.


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