by David Murrin
In my new book, The Roads to Wars, I outline a ten step process that nations walk before they initiate a war of expansion. Key to that process is the commitment to resource acquisition, economic power and military growth, which are the combined starting point for expansionary policies. China’s execution of this plan of action has been consistent with such ambition.
However, in case the western observer has chosen to turn a blind-eye, he should consider very closely the implication of China’s recent reforms discussed and then formulated during the recent Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, which clearly demonstrates China’s future intentions.
1. The announcement of the relaxing of its one child policy, so that the nation would not experience a demographic brake after 2025. That projected demographic decline after 2025 was the one hope for the world that China’s energy of expansion might weaken, and that global peaceful reconciliation might follow. Unfortunately this is now not the case, the Chinese leadership is intent on becoming a super power and remaining in that position for the foreseeable future.
2. The economic focus of shifting the export driven Chinese economy to one also fueled by internal consumerism is a strategic drive that will give China independence away from western consumers and allow its financial surplus to be used as a material weapon against any opposition. America is especially vulnerable to such future financial strong arm polices. Thus all the statements about increasing the market forces within the domestic economic system are designed to bring about this shift and mobilization of the entire Chinese economy. Statements about the need to ‘de Americanize’ the global economy, are clear challenges to the primary position of the dollar in the world economy. Notably, the Yuan has now moved into second place ahead of the Euro as the most used currency for trade finance.
3. The new sweeping land reforms are designed to give farmers more property rights, to encourage improved agricultural production and to redress the net importation of food into China. Importantly it will also allow farmers to sell their land and move to the cities adding to urbanization and helping to promote this self-fueled consumer society.
4. Only a few days after the party conference the Air Defense Identification Zone was announced. This is an aggressive and flagrant maneuver designed to extend Chinese control to the first and second island chains. Ultimate Chinese control of the waters out to the second island chain would have the following significant advantages:
5a. Control of the significant hydrocarbon resources in the zone.
5b. The ability to control and protect its vital trade routes that pass though a numbers of critical choke points.
5c. The ability to deny the US Navy access to this zone would expose Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam to Chinese military action, as America could no longer protect them. Japan as China’s greatest regional adversary would then be next.
5d. However without a ‘blue water’ navy to protect Chinese trade routes to Middle Eastern oil, China would be vulnerable to trade interdiction. Thus it needs a ‘blue water’ navy that can control the Indian Ocean as a prerequisite, or such an outcome might prevail. The evidence shows this is a key PLN objective.
6. The landing of a Chinese space craft on the moon on Saturday 14th December, and its lunar rover, the Jade Rabbit, is the first exploration of the moon’s surface in since the Americans left nearly four decades ago and is a stark reminder of Chinese super power aspirations, and the lengths it is prepared to go to acquire the vital resources needed to sustain its continued rapid growth.
The potential extent and consequences of these Chinese reforms and milestones are breathtaking. Yet the majority of western leaders remain deeply complacent.
Name one western power that could enact such sweeping reforms for the nation’s benefit as China has just done! The answer is that no western country could do so. To compete, the West needs to find new leadership or change our system of government to keep up in the accelerating power race.
David Murrin is chief executive officer of Emergent Asset Management Ltd, London. A leading China-watcher, he is the author of Breaking the Code of History. He and Ken Feltman have worked together on business and charity projects. Both are fortunate to have worked in South Africa and to have known President Mandela.