THREE EURASIAN EMPIRES CHALLENGING THE WEST

China is the leading predator state on the world island (Eurasia and Africa). Its rise is not peaceful. Instead it is a predator state. The first step is the militarization of islands in the South China Sea. Other predator empires on the world island are Russia and Iran/Persia. Historical examples of predator empires are Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Typical for these empires is territorial aggression – grabbing territory and resources. They claim that nearby territories (both land and maritime) have been ”stolen” from them. They are guided by a philosophy of grievance or victimization by historical injustices. China is a typical example of this tendency. Recently Russia has been claiming territory in Eastern Europe, occupied Crimea and areas in eastern Ukraine. The question now is if Moscow will claim and re-occupy for instance Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia.

Iran is presently seeking to destabilize the Middle East in search of greater influence. Behind this might also be a wish for territorial expansion.

China is involved in a border conflict with India and has a history of controlling tributary states. Some of these were Nepal, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia but also Mongolia and Korea. The doctrine of Confucius stated that the ruler of China was the Son of Heaven. His example drew ”barbarians” from neighbouring states to Chinese civilization. The foreigners admired the superior culture of China and its civilization. Chinese influence and control was the ”tribute system” which comprised all interstate relations. Trade was used for control and it was also an elaborate ritual. Tribute missions were dispatched to the Chinese capital. It was both a sign of subjugation and a profitable privilege.

One sign that the United States is presently taking a tougher stand against China’s and Russia’s attempt to grab resources is that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is becoming more risk-averse since 2017. Chinese and Russian companies and investors now face more roadblocks. However, most of the deals that CFIUS has sought to block since 2017 have not been announced.

Among the companies that have disclosed they have withdrawn their CFIUS applications and canceled their deals are U.S. electronics maker Inseego Corp, which tried to sell its MiFi mobile hotspot business to Chinese smartphone maker TCL Industries Holdings, and Texas oil producer ExL Petroleum Management LLC, which sought to sell its assets to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s L1 Energy.

By comparison, in the entirety of 2014, the last year for which CFIUS has released official data, nine deals were withdrawn after CFIUS began an investigation.

CFIUS has likely reviewed a record-setting 250 to 300 transactions in 2017, according to Anne Salladin, a CFIUS expert with the law firm Stroock and Stroock and Lavan LLP – up sharply from 147 deals in 2014

The European Union Commission has suggested that EU introduces a similar institution to CFIUS.

Another predatory aspect of China policy is the attempt to buy influence in harbors near to what is by the U.S. Navy defined as ”world maritime chokepoints. Among the most important of these in the Indo-Pacific are the Korean Straits, Makassar Strait between Sulawesi and Borneo, the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra and the Strait of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Further west are the Strait of Hormuz and Bab el Mandeb.

Furthermore China cheats in the international trading arena. It uses illegal trade subsidies. Counterfeiting is rampant. The currency manipulation is extensive. The unfair trade practices include lax environmental, health and safety standards.

The U.S. China Commission has urged congress to define in legislation currency manipulation as an illegal export. Such manipulation should be added to other prohibited subsidies. American and European leaders should openly condemn China’s commercial use of its UN veto. It must act responsibly to enjoy the benefits of the international marketplace.

China and Russia have since the Cold War reasserted their influence regionally and globally. Their military capabilities are designed to deny America access in times of crisis and to contest the ability of the United States to operate freely in critical commercial zones during peacetime. In short, they are contesting the American geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor. The latest US National Security Strategy document of December 2017 says that China and Russia seek to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests. In short they want a state-driven world economic model.

It is time to protect and defend the West against the three predator empires in Eurasia. To do this the United States should to a greater extent retain overmatch. This should be recognized in a positive way by Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia.

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