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The Chinese Mare Nostrum (A Map)

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    Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 04:50


http://temi.repubblica.it/limes-heartland/the-chinese-mare-nostrum/891

Now that the Chinese have launched their first aircraft carrier, questions ought to be asked about what their game plan is with their growing military power, especially for the PLAN. For starters, here is a interesting map that needs no words to explain it. Just to start this off correctly, do others feel it is a accurate description for what is happening and if so, what does it explain about the region's future: A possible flashpoint for war in this region or will there be an intra-regional policy engagement that seeks to reach a peaceful resolution that benefit all involved parties?




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 05:45

- All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
- Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
- All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
- Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.
- Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
- O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
- Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
- Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
- Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
- Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
- Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
- Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.
- Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.

There can only be one numero uno, I rest my case.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 06:02
Yes, but if memory serves, Sun_Tzu (Whose mastery of warfare i've never doubt) was never worried about geopolitical strategy, of coordinating and making more than one country act as a unified whole. The world has greatly changed since Sun_Tzu's time. So outside of war and the possibility of international inertia, what is your take on this, EH?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 07:27
Sun Tzu provides a way to understand Chinese thinking pattern, the corner stone of which is avoidance of conflict, until one has over whelming superiority of force, in which situation, wars can be won even without any fighting, unless of course the weaker party is foolish to provoke hostility.

China is a rising power, it is rising because it can tap into the WTO global trading system and make money in the process. So it will never want to jeopardize its growth. And with continuous growth, ultimately its goal and hope is to unseat the US as the most powerful nation on earth. This is China's strategy in my opinion.

Now, as it is continuously rising, it needs more resources, oil, gas, sea-food etc., so if it can stake out a larger area and call that area its own, that is all good. Problem is that it is stepping on toes of neighbor countries. None of these countries by themselves can stand up to China and in a full scale conflict, except for Japan, they are sure to loose. In a few years or at the latest in a decade, even Japan will not be able to tackle China by itself.

So this is the stark situation in South East and East Asia today. This just goes to show that there cannot be any peaceful rise, it is an oxymoron. I have talked with a Vietnamese friend and he expressed that all Vietnamese are worried, except for some Chinese Vietnamese whose loyalty is more with the Chinese. What he described is that near Vietnam China border, Vietnamese cannot travel freely to China, but the Chinese can go to both sides freely, so they are getting rich with trading and no Vietnamese girls in those areas want to marry poorer Vietnamese men, they rather go for richer Chinese men. I guess we are seeing the first effect of girl shortage in China.

Coming back to the point, China will back down only when the US comes to the picture. But what will happen, when in 20-30 years, even a US will not be enough to calm down China, what will happen then? Should we not start thinking about that future now and make some strategy, plan and road map for that eventuality? I think we should.

China and India, both of which, I believe are a threat, not just for their neighbor nations, but for the world. Just to give an example how China and India are a threat for the world, you can just take a cursory look at current events, both were supporting the butcher Qaddafi, why, because both were making money with him, getting cheap oil and gas and they don't care if some Libyan's die, why should they? Both are supporting Assad, same reason. Amazon forests are being wiped out to grow soya bean for the Chinese, just another example.

The solution is to redesign the global free trade regime and change the rules of the game, nothing short of this will work. Also groups of nations must join in EU like structures, so nations from Eastern side of India, all the way to Japan can be put in one Union, which is what Japan wanted to begin with during WW II, in the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Only obstacle is Burmese Army, which has to be bought off with Japanese and Korean money and cooperation, as an incentive to cutoff with China. Aung San is of no use for now, Burma is not ready for Arab spring. India cannot be used to balance China, because it is nobody's pawn, as GWB thought. It has ambitions to beat China in the long run and be number one. And it is a similar threat by itself, due to its size, just like China.

There are other parts, but I think you have already seen those, if you have seen my other posts in other threads.

The US is now at cross roads, it can lead the world to a win-win situation and confront this twin threat, or it can be asleep at the wheel and loose not just itself, but it will make slaves out of all other smaller nations of the world.

Because in the end, size will win. So its a question of slowing down the rise of these two and consolidate the rest of the world in some loyal sizeable unions that will be able to withstand the threat. But it will be an understatement to say it will not be easy.

Hope that answers your question and concern.


Edited by eventhorizon - 29 Aug 2011 at 07:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RollingWave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 12:24
Because as we know, the USA does not support murderous regimes like Saudi Arabia, Pre-Revolution Egypt, old South Korea and Chang Era Taiwan, Mao Era China, South Vietnam, or ... dare we say... Israel?
 
China's international support rule is pretty clear, it will support who ever is incharge. be they democratic presidents, or loony dictators, or anything in between. it has basically switched over now that the Rebels have Tripoli
 
For the South China sea, one aspect often overlooked is that Taiwan does have actual significant presence there, the only airport in the islands there is owned by the ROC, as is the largest islands. if we're going to go by the "who actually hold those island" claims then the Chinese (the PRC and ROC have the same claims) would hold up pretty well anyway. This have been one of the main reasons why this issue is suddenly comming up again big time recently anyway . because Vietnam realize the China and Taiwan actually have a much bigger real stake there then they do, and are rushing to counter this by occuping some islands themself .
 
 
Maritime disputes happen all the time, should I even meantion that recently Korea barred many Japanese legislator visas for their claims on a disputed island between the two sides? (of course Korea also few a big arse plane over it which also irked Japan which told it's public servants to not take any Korean airline flights) Taiwan every year have a dozen fishermens literally kidnapped for ransom by the Phillipine government (And some by Japan as well) due to these disputes.
 
 
As for China and India's rise. The real issue is the same issue we've known for many years, that the world's resources are fairly limited and we're pretty close to the limit, thus the rise of new countries in terms of wealth almost surely will come to some extend at the expenses of others. and those others are likely going to be the already wealthy west. who's development have reached a pleatue phase and  will only get relatively less wealthy when other people increase in wealth.
 
As for military rise, it's not likely at all, just take a look at US deployment / bases around the world, espeically consider where it has went in in recent decades and you see a pretty obvious picture that the net around China (and India to some extend as well) have only grown, not decreased.  power projection today is much wider then it was even in WW2. let alone eras before that. you notice that everytime China makes any sort of noise a carrier group do exercsises on their doorsteps.  that's hardly news. the odds of  China being able to break this net is very low, espeically if it plans on doing it without catastrophic damage to themself
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 16:16
It's interesting that the pessimists seem to have won, by their own reckoning. So much for Nurse Cavell.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 20:00
Graham, if you don't mind, please clarify that statement, who are these pessimists and what does Nurse Cavell (Edith Cavell? who was executed by Germans before WW I?) have to do with this issue?

Japan and Korea has the Dokdo/Takeshima island issue, but this is part of the work that has to be done to resolve these internal conflicts in the region, so PRC can be confronted in a united front. Give it a few years and they will quickly see the light and fall in line, considering what is at stake and what they are up against.

I find it ironic that the British and French, the status quo powers in WWI, broke apart the Ottoman, the British also oversaw the Partition of India after WW II - both of these created instabilities which we are still dealing with today. Similarly after loosing the war, Japan had to dissolve the Co-prosperity sphere in East Asia, that it built with a lot of blood and sweat. Not all the Union of nations that has to be rebuilt will look the same like before, specially the ones in Central/West Asia and Africa, but the East Asian one will be strikingly similar to Japan's wartime creation, minus Manchukuo, which China and Russia have taken over as spoils of the war.

Maritime imbalance is just a symptom of the general imbalance of power that is getting worse, as China is rising, similar is the situation around India's neighborhood as well, I am sure. So it fits the pattern.

Transfer of wealth is a continuing trend, from West to East and and South, so it is a well known zero sum game, but that is not the issue at hand, the issue here is that because of size of population, it concentrates too much power at the hand of China and India, which is dangerous for their neighbors and the world. So this eventually should be pushed as far back in time as possible for the sake of world community, so other nations can rise, consolidate and be ready to confront this twin threat. Empty words are not going to change the ground realities. What is, is, unfortunately.

What is military power, it is a function of economic and technological prowess, I would say it is a direct function of GDP, it has no direct co-relation with how many carriers, destroyers or fighters one has or how much deployment one has at any particular point in time, a country can always crank up the factories and shipyards to churn out what is needed in a few years, when the time is right. Japan and Korea both have size able economy and tech prowess, but because they are under US security umbrella, they do not build up their defense, it does not mean that they cannot re-arm when there is a need, in a relatively few short years. Similarly China and India will deliberately try to show to the world that they are not aggressive power, harp about peaceful rise etc., but nothing changes the fundamental law of nature. Power imbalance due to difference in size is just that, an imbalance that cannot be corrected in any other way, other than creating other units of similar size and then allowing them to rise faster, with higher collective GDP than China or India.

It is better to be safe than sorry. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. World peace is the result of meticulous hard work and balancing act, it also means aggressive use of all resources at hand, when there is a need. All hands on deck as they say. I think the situation have allowed to be drifted for too long. Some clarity and direction is badly needed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 20:24
Originally posted by eventhorizon eventhorizon wrote:

Graham, if you don't mind, please clarify that statement, who are these pessimists and what does Nurse Cavell (Edith Cavell? who was executed by Germans before WW I?) have to do with this issue?
(a) the people who assume that countries, or blocs, will always be antagonistic and nationalist.
(b) she is famous for her dying denunciation of nationalism: "Patriotism is not enough".
 
I don't disagree with you, in fact I fully agree with building international blocs with common interests, but I do find what you and others write pessimistic. The point of building such blocs is that they should be roughly equal partners not roughly equal antagonists.
Quote
I find it ironic that the British and French, the status quo powers in WWI, broke apart the Ottoman, the British also oversaw the Partition of India after WW II - both of these created instabilities which we are still dealing with today.
If you're looking for irony, consider that after ww1 Yugoslavia was created in order to form such a bloc as you describe. And then consider that with the end of the Cold War it turned out to be not such a good idea after all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2011 at 21:04
Pessimist yes, guilty as charged, but as they say, it is better to plan for the worst, just in case and then hope for the best.

I guess my barb at the British, French and the US, all status quo powers at the time, for breaking up existing large systems, unions, spheres or empires, is not fair on closer examination, it is clear that those unions were not voluntary as there was no democracy in medieval times when they took shape. Yugoslavia is a unique more recent case, which you have pointed out. All of them later broke apart, because of internal fault lines, that is population there did not want to be in such unions, where they were most likely being wronged by or fearful of a powerful entrenched usually numerical majority group as it was in case of British India and minority in case of Ottoman Turks. In case of Yugoslavia, the breaking apart did not cause much negative consequence in the long run, as all parts are now on their way to become part of EU, other than the fact that it caused wars, disruptions and some major loss of lives. So breaking apart to become a part of a larger system is definitely positive, despite the cost in the short term.

The cooperative and democratic nature of today's unions, I believe, is fundamentally different than yesterdays empires or spheres, that were usually imposed from the top, often against the will of the populace. So in a voluntary union, a group or unit has the option, to break apart, if they find it against their interest, or choose not to take part. That distinction makes it different than forced unions, such as the situations we have in case of both China and India:

Xinjiang, Tibet, Claims on Taiwan, Kashmir and North East India


Edited by eventhorizon - 29 Aug 2011 at 23:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote erkut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2011 at 00:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2011 at 01:36
One aircraft carrier cannot achieve strategic objectives. It takes a long time to build a navy, and the Chinese don't have it. The Amercians control the waterways and there is no getting around that fact. Plus, the Chinese are just too busy quelming internal unrest to worry about broader strategic objectives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2011 at 02:34
Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, lets pin them down with Xinjiang, Tibet and internal unrest and with a new trade regime lets bring down their growth rate to 3% or lower and make sure they stay where they are.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2011 at 13:42
Is China enforcing or thinking of enforcing a Monroe-like Doctine in its own front yard? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2011 at 14:11
It might be salutory to consider how 'mare nostrum' became part of the 20th century political vocabulary.
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