The United States is pivoting towards the Asian sphere to counter the ever-growing threat of China.
So why do I believe China is dying when the entire United States government is moving toward countering this nation state and most view it as the greatest geopolitical threat to the western democracies?
Let’s look at several items and tie them in together. If we begin with Russia, we can understand what is transpiring in China. Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin is at the helm and as an authoritarian head he makes all of the decisions. Putin has continued to suffer huge military costs and losses to pursue a bad decision in Ukraine.
Why? Putin consolidated power unto himself. He then proceeded to remove any political, economic or military discourse that ran counter to his personal beliefs. This leads to echo chambers that are filled with fear of speaking anything but what the authoritarian head believes.
Xi, the “president” of China has created the very same bubble surrounding himself. Those that disagree with him are banished or worse. Xi has consolidated power to a degree that even Mao Zedong did not and was wise enough not to do. This bubble means only the wishes and beliefs of Xi are pursued and even discussed.
Look at the rampaging Covid issue in China as of the writing of this article. China is back in lockdowns that are crippling its own GDP and exports to enforce a “ZERO Covid” policy. This policy is being lauded even as Covid levels in China hits new records. Why? Because Xi has a policy and no one is allowed to discuss, critique nor voice alternatives to that policy. China is following a failed policy because of the beliefs and ego of a single man.
So let’s go further down this rabbit hole. China is an export nation and relies on the safety and security of the open seas to allow for trade throughout the world. This freedom of navigation was produced by the US and the west post World War II.
China has no ability to extend this worldwide and hence relies on the US to afford this security blanket so the nation can export. Without this Western blanket, the world becomes inherently dangerous and territorial resulting in difficulty conduct trade. The key component of Chinas growth.
China is also not a naturally rich country. The soil in China is not very good thus it cannot feed its own population. China does not have the energy resources to be self sufficient. It does not have the other natural resources that are necessary to remain on top of the heap as a nation. China has tried but has et to be able to move into the high tech areas without steal technology from the west, in particular the US. Taiwan can develop, engineer and produce microchips that China cannot.
To recap so far… China does not have the ability to secure the export markets through freedom of navigation. China is not and can not be energy self sufficient. China is not self sufficient with food production.
China has been lying about its GDP for almost two decades. It has an aging population, one of the fastest on the planet. This matters for three reasons:
#1. The burden on internal resources as a population ages.
#2. The ability to maintain a standing army, as a population ages fewer men are available to recruit or conscript
#3. The ability to maintain economic statuses as a small workforce means labor inflation.
Do the western nations not face similar issues? To a small degree, yes. The worlds population is aging. Every western democracy is facing an aging population and all three of the problems presented above. Keep in mind though, China has the fastest aging population in the world.
Their population cannot handle the effects of labor inflation whereas western nations have been experiencing this since the 1960s. Modern western nations have not only adapted but have been successful at moving through this whereas China does not have the benefit of markets that move business. It has the anchor of politics moving business.
China and Europe have two similar issues; food and energy. The US is uniquely situated; however, we can produce enough food, and we can be energy independent.
Look no further than the rolling blackouts China has experienced in the past four years. Look at the culling of hogs that China has experienced due to viruses in the past year. Look at the feed that it takes to replace that number of animals back to a full capacity commercial farming operation. They do not have the food resources to feed their own population, add to that feeding the number of pigs to raise them to harvest.
Japan, pre-WWII, needed the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere to attain self sufficiency. They saw this and invaded countries in an attempt to bring those resources within their power so they could be a world power. China is in the same boat right now. China is using the Belt and Road to try to sway nations with the promise of modernization into the sphere of China.
This is being done with contracts that will allow China to control these new assets. The country has built islands in specific areas to attempt to protect and claim trade routes that it deems necessary to its survival. They are literally fighting trench warfare and long range missiles. China dictates that ships carrying material: food, energy or other goods are within the reach of its adversaries with or without these forward power projecting islands.
Covid has dealt the greatest blow to China. China MUST HAVE globalization to be a power. Western nations post Covid and post the Russian invasion of Ukraine are slowly realizing that you can not economically tie yourself to an authoritarian regime. Russia, could not be brought into the fold of the West with cooperation and economic incentives.
Economic incentives only work when it benefits the population. Putin nor Xi care if their people eat a handful of rice or a single potato per month, thus wooing them with economic power is not valid. The West is also realizing that you can not have your supply chains spread out all across the world and be safe at home.
It’s time that we move past China and develop our future within the borders of North and Central America.
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