China from perspective of South Vietnamese soldier: Part 1
By: Nguyen Tu Son
The Creeping Invasion
Setting the stage and warning signs
The Creeping Invasion
The ultimate goal of Japan in World War II was not the small islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean or the overcrowded Continent of Asia. Actually, Japanese military leaders intended to acquire Australia in order to alleviate the severe overpopulation problem. The attempt failed because they made the fatal mistake of attacking Pearl Harbor. The dream is now cherished by a larger and more dangerous country, China. Taking advantage of the vacuum left behind by the withdrawal of the American Forces from Subic Bay, the emerging Asian power is trying to expand its territory. Having learned from Japan's error, China does not intend to directly confront the US by launching a massive blitzkrieg. Instead, it is creeping toward Australia slowly, step by step through the Paracel Islands and South East Asia. Chinese thinkers, combining hard power with soft power, meticulously designed a mixture of persuasion, economic clout, political subversion and, if necessary, military aggression. They proudly named the strategy "the silkworm munching a mulberry leaf."_________________________________________________________________________________
Setting the stage and warning signs
Under the overwhelming demographic pressure from more than one billion people, China has a burning desire to take over Australia, the immense land full of rice and honey. This continent is one of the few places left on the planet where a new colonialist nation can find spacious, sparsely populated tracts of land in temperate climates, and with practically endless natural resources. Therefore, China is yearning to incorporate it into the Middle Empire in a stealthy manner.
Before September 11, 2001, the derisive term "Afghanistanism" reflected the false impression that problems in exotic faraway places would have no impact on the daily life of the average American citizen and, hence, could be ignored. Likewise, the construction of a Chinese airstrip in the Paracel Islands, the Chinese military links with Papua New Guinea, and a few Sino-Indian border skirmishes did not receive adequate coverage because they were considered insignificant. In reality, they represented the subtle warning signs of the creeping invasion, a long-term, insidious agenda with the obvious potential to threaten the United States. If the US stays on the sidelines, the new colonial power will creep further South, surreptitiously annex other small islands without attracting the international attention. Finally, it will take over Australia in a sweeping terminal assault, or possibly without any assault whatsoever. A slow, legal and peaceful immigration might do the trick.
In addition to encroaching upon neighbors, and annexing small islands, the sneaky hegemonic drive also includes exerting Chinese influence over the world, particularly South America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Chinese attempts in South America and Africa
Chinese attempts in South America and Africa
During the first decade of this century, Chinese trade with South America increased more than tenfold. Nowadays its voracious appetite for markets and raw materials shows no sign of slowing. Oil in Venezuela, iron and copper in the South America's Andean Ridge are among the top items on its shopping list. It has replaced the US as Chile's most important trading partner. The frequent high-level visits during the last few years reflected the strong Chinese desire to obtain markets, natural resources and a platform for power projection.
As in South America, Chinese influence in Africa is now greater than ever. In the past, Western countries controlled most of the lucrative African natural resources. Now, China is replacing them. While Western politicians are distracted by the Middle East, Chinese businessmen seize the opportunity to rush into Africa. China's growing presence is clearly visible throughout Africa. Currently China is the second largest trading partner of Africa after the US. China has acquired raw material sources; ethnic Chinese have flooded Africa. It is estimated that one million Chinese currently live in Africa, and they do not show any intention of leaving. China has spent billions of US dollars building roads, hydroelectric dams, airports, and other infrastructures in exchange for the rights to natural resources. The economic invasion is so massive that some diplomats have called it a tsunami, or the 21st century Wild West.
The phenomenal success can be explained by multiple factors such as low-cost labor, dumping practice, "same boat" slogan, corruption, and long-term planning.
Low-cost and high productivity provide the Asian economic player with an important advantage over Western rivals. It takes raw materials from developing countries and, in return, floods them with inexpensive manufactured products made by laborers who accept low wages and can tolerate sub-optimal working conditions. In the harshest environments, frugal and resilient Han emigrants can survive, and even thrive on a meager diet of rice and soybean. As a result, they prosper in a variety of places such as Tibet, South-East Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa and, of course, Australia. Once reaching these promise lands, they proliferate and refuse to leave. Russians left Afghanistan; resilient Chinese did not quit Tibet. By spending less money on labor, Chinese enterprises usually win the bid for infrastructure constructions in developing countries.
Dumping is manifested by low-rate loans and, sometimes, debt write-offs in exchange for preferential relations and exclusive access to natural resources. When a bank loses money, it receives support from the Chinese government. Of course, China is not doing this out of the kindness of its heart. For China, market penetration and influence are more important than short-term profits. The government owns or controls almost all Chinese enterprises currently doing business in Africa. In many ways, these companies act like subsidiaries of a colossal parent, the government of China. Therefore, low-rate loans represent variants of dumping, a method of securing monopolies for other subsidiaries. As a result, government-backed Chinese enterprises are more likely to succeed than independent Western competitors.
In addition to low-cost labor and dumping practice, the "same boat" catchphrase is used to win markets and friends. When addressing an African audience, tactful Chinese diplomats would say: "Just a few years ago, Westerners colonized Africa, Hong Kong and Macao. Being our former bosses, they will always act like our bosses. On the contrary, African countries and China are in the same boat because they have been all victims of Western imperialism. We are in a better position to understand and help one another." The "same boat" slogan will certainly strike a sympathetic chord with an African audience.
Some human right organizations have criticized China for supporting dictatorial regimes and tolerating corruption. The Asian autocratic nation, also a sufferer from endemic corruption, does not want to stir up a sensitive issue. Instead, its creative negotiators have turned shortcomings into effective assets. In response to disproving remarks, they hide behind the so-called non-interference principles which provide trade partners with win-win relations. Western agencies constantly ask embarrassing questions about democracy and human rights while less demanding Chinese agencies, adopting a corruption friendly approach, do not insist on transparent accounting, or compliance on a battery of restrictions. In this amicable and tolerant ambiance, authoritarian and corrupted leaders in developing countries are more willing to do business with corrupted counterparts, feeling more comfortable with people who are also authoritarian and corrupted. Fellow sufferers usually empathize with each other.
Offering low interest loans with few strings attached, China is pouring out money in return for natural resources and a strong foothold in local markets. Furthermore, whenever leaders of developing countries visit Beijing, Chinese officials lavishly welcome them with all diplomatic pomp and circumstance, giving them legitimacy regardless of their ethical standing. In many countries, democratic and communist alike, corruption is a normal state of affairs; accepting hush money is as natural as accepting fees for services. In a sense, special treatments are services offered to whoever wants to pay for. Some Chinese negotiators demonstrate a refined ability to bribe without embarrassing the recipients. For example, an apparently cheap teddy bear, given to a leader's daughter on her birthday, might have a collar made of diamond studded gold.
Beside bribing, China has elegantly demonstrated that a prosperous economy can exist in a corrupted and dictatorial environment. Leaders of developing countries are eager to learn the Chinese secret way of achieving success. By doing business with China, they can get good economy, strong grip on power, high reputation, and a lot of soft money. What else are they waiting for?
Other characteristics of the Asian culture have also contributed to the seemingly unremitting course of the expansion. Instead of adopting the colorful motto "get in, get done, get out," the Beijing regime prefers a low-key, protracted strategy intended to outlast the Western patience. Its policy makers do not think in term of years, but decades or, even centuries. The Middle Empire has been built over thousands of years.
Long term planning and short term planning make sense on paper. It's interesting that some people spend more time on the future than they do on the present -- it's a luxury of dreamers that not all of us can afford in today's volitile economy.ReplyDelete
I'm sure that inidividual Chineese citizens -- daily workers -- are not the one's interested in the great Australian Out-back. It's enough to focus on existence in the here and now. The same is here and elsewhere.
Some of the best of plans never materialize because facts and attitudes change with current necessities that become our priorities.
Who knows? Maybe there will be more gays in China and the population will shrink, making the move to Australia unnecessary.