In pondering Washington’s new toy, a cold war against China, one sees a pattern. China’s approach to influence and prosperity is commercial and longsighted. This does not mean that the Chinese are warm and fuzzy, only intelligent. They advance their interests while turning a profit, which wars don’t. China invests heavily in the infrastructure, both physical and educational, that makes for current and future competitiveness. They are fast, agile, innovative, and imperfectly scrupulous. They seek trade agreements: The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with Europe, The RCEP, Regional comprehensive Economic Partnership, the CPEC, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the huge Iran deal, the development with Russia of the NSR, the Northern Sea Route. They seem good at it, China now being the largest trading partner of something like 165 countries.
Washington’s approach is military, coercive, shortsighted, and commercially dimwitted. It forms military alliances: the Quad in the Indian Ocean, with Japan against China, puts missiles in South Korea, pushes Europe to buy more American weaponry, sends naval forces to the Indian Ocean, Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, Black Sea, and Persian Gulf to intimidate, without much success, China, Russia, and Iran. It wants to get the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO to threaten Russia. It makes as much sense as lug nuts on a birthday cake.
China’s major capital expenditures, as gleaned as best I can from pubs covering these: highways, dams, bridges, very-high-voltage power lines, airports, rail, new high-tech 360 mph rail, five-g implementation, reactors, and semiconductor catchup.
America’s major capital expenditures: the B-21, F-35, Virginia-class subs, , Ford-class aircraft carriers, SSN (x) attack submarine. Biden says he will build infrastructure but, if history is a guide, he will pander to the woke, fight systemic racism, promote LBGQXYZ, become mired in congressional infighting, and the whole thing will devolve into pork. Want to bet?
What are these weapons for? The B-21 is an intercontinental nuclear bomber. What does one do with intercontinental nuclear bombers? Engage in intercontinental nuclear war. Are we sure this is a good idea? There will be no such war unless America starts it. China isn’t going to since (a) its approach to power and influence is commercial, which is working well, and (b) America has so many, many nuclear weapons of all sorts that China would be obliterated. If the US launched a first strike, the bombers would get there hours after the war was over. What would be the point?
The point is to funnel vast amounts of money into a bloated, running-on-autopilot military business so large that it can’t be reduced or controlled. All of this send-money PR assumes that China thinks it needs a nuclear holocaust. Who can doubt it?
It is impossible even to leave the military budget as it is, much less reduce it.
Military industry is so pervasive, providing so many jobs in so many states with so many lobbyists, that the President and his party cannot control it
- China-Africa trade hits record high of $139.1 billion from January to July: MOFCOM
America sends troops (Africom, Africa Command) and builds drone bases. China builds rail lines and buys up resources. Did we say something about a pattern?
What is a Ford-class carrier good for? The Fords are versatile ships, having a three-fold purpose: Funneling lots of money into military industry, killing defenseless peasants, and sticking the Pentagon’s tongue out at China. Killing peasants and soldiers in third-rate armies of bedraggled third-world countries is what the American military does. Think Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Somalia. Getting into big wars with real countries is no longer practical despite the opportunities for profits because big countries depend on each other too much commercially. Even killing peasants begins to lose cache, as witness the comic opera defeat in Afghanistan..
- Congress Pushes for Weapons the Pentagon Doesn’t want
A list of examples from Ohio. When military industry wants to produce a new weapon, it makes sure that components are produced in as many states as possible. But some things should be obvious. A big-ticket carrier creates a huge number of jobs for years at Newport News as well as jobs all over America for parts. When the carrier is completed and sails off to kill its peasants, the town goes into depression and stockholders lose dividends. The Pentagon then discovers an urgent need for another carrier. Congress shares this sense of urgency. Surprise, surprise.
What do I mean in saying that America is “short-sighted”? Try this:
- Oregon Governor Kate Brown quietly signed a bill last month that removed the requirement for graduating high school children in the state to be proficient in reading, writing, and math, in an effort to aid “students of color.”
Wowee, that must terrify them over in China’s engineering departments, where students are years ahead of American in mathematics. This sort of thing goes on across America.
Number of Chinese overseas military bases: 1 (Djibouti) American: Hundreds. Number of Chinese military conflicts: One, a minor border clash with India. American: You know the list as well as I do, with Iran perhaps being groomed for the next war. Which country spends more on the foregoing? What has America gained?
This is long and kind of techy but makes the point that China is leaving the US far behind in five-g. While many think of Five-G as being for use in smart phones, this is actually of negligible importance. Where it counts is in industry, robotics, smart cities, mining with nobody underground, on and on. The United States, unable to compete with Huawei, consigned itself to primitivism by excluding the Chinese. Then it failed in its attempt to prevent China from rolling out five-g within its own borders. So much for bringing manufacturing back to America.
- China Overtakes US in AI Research
And whose fault is this?
- China Passes US in Output of Influential Science Papers
Here is a point worth noting. The Chinese have the engineers, the numbers and the focus to do pretty much anything. They do not always have the machinery. AI takes more brains than machinery.
- CATL goes all in on next-gen sodium-ion EV batteries
CATL Goes All in on Sodium Ion Batteries
Not a game-changer, and other countries look at the same thing but, as so often, China is right up there with the other big boys.
- “Last month, during high-level talks in Honolulu, the US Indo-Pacific Command and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) agreed to build a new base in the island nation.” To contain China.
Military, military, military, military. The assumption in the Five Sided Wind Box seems to be that China is about to come roaring into the Pacific like the Japanese Imperial Naby in full flood, to conquer it. China is more likely to buy it.
- Associated Press: “The politically sensitive goods deficit with China rose to $27.8 billion in June, up 5.8% from the May level. So far this year, the goods deficit with China, the largest that the United States runs with any country, totals $158.5 billion, an increase of 19.2% compared to the same period in 2020.”
Some economists predict America’s first overall trade deficit of a trillion dollars.
“China’s state-owned Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) grabbed the Haifa port contract in 2015 which allows it to operate the commercial shipping facility for 25 years.”
Commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial.
- Moscow Bothered by ‘Uncontrolled, Unrestricted Expansion’ of US Military Biolab Network Near Russia
And here in Mexico, where I live, people swear they see Chinese electric scooters and mini-electric which, they also swear, can be bought online from Alibaba and such. Meanwhile the narcos get assault rifles from the US.
Chronicles of a wild life in biker bars and the fleshpots of Bangkok, of years of solo hitchhiking across America, of a Southern boyhood of drag racing in old wrecks and guns and beer, of Marine Corps boot camp and Moon’s strange church, of scuba diving the deep walls of the Caribbean and cave diving in Mexico, of life on staff at Soldier of Fortune magazine and nine years as police reporter for the Washington Times in the weird, sad, and often unbelievable urban Petri dishes of the big cities. Politically incorrect and evilly funny, Fred takes no prisoners. He skews with murderous wit things he doesn’t like, which are many: pols, talking heads, officious do-gooders. He has a soft spot for things he does like, such as dogs, drunks, bar girls, and ambulance crews, of all of which he has known many. His work has appeared in Playboy, Harper’s, the Washington Post magazine an op-ed pages, and such like stations of the literary cross.