The Indian Defence Review recently published the English translation of a hawkish article “Six Wars China is Sure to Fight in the Next 50 Years” [Note 1] which was first presented by Chinanews.com in Beijing on July 5, 2013 [Note 2]. This article states that China will fight in 2020-60 to regain the territories lost during the period of “Old China”, namely, Taiwan (vs the Nationalist Party or KMT), Spratly Islands (vs Vietnam), Southern Tibet (vs India), Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands (vs Japan), Outer Mongolia (vs Mongolia) and certain areas in the northern border (vs Russia).
While this article is no doubt not in line with the symphony of “Peaceful Rise” conducted by Deng Xiao-ping (1904-97) and his successors, it indicates a high tide of nationalism among certain groups of analysts in Beijing and, perhaps, some regional military barracks. Diplomacy is meaningless without backup of armed forces. Jingoistic talks of this type, to be sure, serve certain diplomatic purposes. The decisive factor to any outcome is how successful the future generations of the American and Chinese leaders can deter each other and make other players believe they mean it.
To the United States, China’s entry into a war is a dreams-come-true scenario. It will cost China not just financially but also reputation on all fronts. A combat defeat to the People’s Liberation Army may even bring down the one-party regime. On the other hand, a diplomatic triumph won by Beijing, say, a good deal for inter- or multi-national commercial exploration of crude or gas under the South China Sea, can be a nightmares-come-true headache to the White House. It will be a challenge to future U.S. presidents to administer the functioning of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a vanguard to push China towards to the edge of war or a pigeon to bring peace. Nevertheless, to play the preventive defense game, both Japan and the ASEAN countries may have difficulties in ascertaining how committed the U.S. would be in the wake of its domestic bi-partisan dissension, political pressure from opinion polls on entry into war and so on.
To prepare for an inevitably genuine need for a battle or a real war, China as an open-yet-authoritarian state is to be administered by a team of helmsman rulers in the war room overseeing risk calculation, logistics management, propaganda direction and resources mobilization, all in long term planning horizons. Take the ‘fight’ for Diaoyu Island (Senkaku) as an example, China’s navy and air force are definitely weaker than those of Japan. The pre-requisite for a near match with the Japanese forces around the island is an ‘unsinkable’ aircraft carrier—not “Liaoning”, but “Taiwan”. Without Taiwan in hand, Beijing will not act ruthlessly. Therefore, most analysts know it clearly that Beijing will endeavor to reunite with Taiwan at all costs with a step-by-step plan to be patiently implemented by generations of the statecraft-trained leaders persistently.
Tactically, the state-owned enterprises in those strategic sectors such as shipping, airlines, agriculture, energy, base metal, finance, communication and information technology will always standby to be unified quickly and organized orderly as sub-units of a highly efficient and effective war machine for serving the national interest. This portrait is nothing new. A review of the Korean War (1950-53) or Vietnam War (1955-75) can re-surface a similar picture. The Chinese Communist Party is well known for its organization and mobilization. The major difference between then and now is that a strenuous and wealthy China with an institutionalized rotational power succession system [Note 3] in the 21st century could be more pertinacious.
There is no doubt that China may merely be a paper tiger. This open-yet-authoritarian state is vulnerable to self-destruction from within—corruption, crony capitalism and nepotism. Nevertheless, with the invisible Wang Qi-shan, the party head of discipline, masterminding the anti-corruption purge behind the scene, Xi Jin-ping as the state president shoulders the arduous task of presenting a formidable image in the world arena more explicitly and assertively. It is a show of his strong leadership, unshakable determination and persistent policy to build up long term and effective deterrence so as to earn more chips for diplomacy before a real war is inevitable.
The more unreliable the U.S. administration dragged or stressed by the diverse mass opinions is (like what Obama acted in the Syria crisis), the more difficult other nations can play the ‘risk’ game against China when the leaders in Beijing can show the world that they execute their long term policies with committed consistency generation after generation. To prepare for the “Six Wars”, both the U.S. and Chinese leaders will administer to win the ‘trust’ of the world, thus shaping the new ‘nomos’ of the earth in the 21st century. It will be a contest not about the military powers, but between two different political succession systems—democracy vs the helmsman ruler system.
[Note 1] Indian Defence Review News Network, “Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years”, Oct 13, 2013 http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/six-wars-china-is-sure-to-fight-in-the-next-50-years/
[Note 2] Chinanews.com, 李秋悅: 曝光中国在未来50年里必打的六场战争 July 5, 2013 http://bbs.chinanews.com/web/mil/65/2013/0705/68242.shtml
[Note 3] International Policy Digest, Keith K C Hui, “China’s rotational ruler model”, July 30, 2013 http://www.internationalpolicydigest.org/2013/07/30/chinas-rotational-ruler-model/
reposted by The 4th Media in Beijing: http://www.4thmedia.org/2013/08/23/chinas-rotational-ruler-model/
TIME magazine online, “Watch: China’s Viral Video on How to be a Leader”, Oct 17,2013: http://world.time.com/2013/10/17/whats-the-secret-to-chinas-incredible-success/
领导人是怎样炼成的 in Putonghua http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjIxNTg1NzI0.html?f=20407034
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