Archive for the ‘GEOPOLITICS’ Category

CHANGING CHINA’S PREDATORY TRADE PRACTICES

May 4, 2018

Reuters reported on May 3, 2018, that the Trump administration’s top economic officials had arrived in China.

They will try to get the Chinese government to open its markets and give up its predatory trade practicies.

The officials want to bring down the trade deficit by 20 percent or around 100 billion dollars. The also seek to get China to allow U S businesses to operate and sell in China without having to partner with a Chinese company. The existing rules are helping China to transfer U S technology and know-how in a way that is damaging to America.

China has for years been conquering the world’s export markets. This conquest has vaporized manufacturing jobs and driven down wages from the heartland of America. The China wars are fought over everything from decent jobs, livable wages, and leading-edge technologies to strategic resources such as copper and steel.

In an op-ed in a large US daily newspaper, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is writing that the “economic relationship with China that has become increasingly unbalanced — and, over the long term, dangerous — for the U.S.” Rubio announces new legislation to combat intellectual property (IP) theft.

China’s trade policies are two-faced: “One face [that] outwardly offers soaring and seductive promises of an emerging global economic order that will become more open and equitable as nations increase trade and commerce with China. … The other face speaks inwardly to China’s ultimate geopolitical intentions.”

Rubio says China is stealing IP for nearly $600 billion annually from just the U.S. The Florida Senator calls on Congress to support the administration’s efforts to reform trade with China. Next week he will introduce the Fair Trade With China Enforcement Act to “guard the American people against China’s nefarious influence on national and economic security, directly targeting China’s tools of economic aggression.” The legislation would ban the sale of all sensitive technology or intellectual property to Chinese entities and impose a shareholding cap on Chinese investors in American corporations to prevent undue influence in corporate governance.

Comment: This is an excellent initiative. It is time to push back when it comes to the dark side of the rise of China. Other Western countries ought to act now to address the mounting problems of the Beijing challenge.

The rise of China has resulted in efforts along the Asian rimland to balance against the challenge to the established territorial status quo and national interests. China uses geographical proximity, overall strength, offensive capabilities, and offensive intentions. The size and position at the heart of the Asian landmass sends a geopolitical message. The Chinese military is modernizing its navy and air force, investing in anti-access/area denial technologies, and build aircraft carriers. Declarations such as the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone send a troubling message across the region. But China is not the only challenge on the World Island in the geopolitical theory of Halford Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman. The West is presently challenged by the three empires on the rimland of Eurasia: China, Russia and Iran/Persia.

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“MAP WARFARE” – CHINA CLAIMS NEW TERRITORY

May 3, 2018

National Interest on April 30, 2018, reported that China is extending its territorial claims in the South China Sea. A group of Chinese scholars have recently published a ”New Map of the People’s Republic of China”. Excerpts below:

Instead of dotted lines, as reflected in China’s U-shaped Nine-Dash Line claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, the new map [is based on an old map from 1951]…

The Chinese researchers claim that through analysis of historical maps, the 1951 solid-line map “proves” beyond dispute that the “U-boundary line is the border of China’s territorial sea” in the South China Sea.

They also claim that the solid administrative line overlaying the U-boundary “definitely indicated that the sovereignty of the sea” enclosed within the U-boundary “belonged to China.”

The study, edited by the Guanghua and Geosciences Club and published by SDX Joint Publishing Company, has not been formally endorsed by the Chinese government.

…many experts believe that it’s Beijing’s latest effort to recover from a humiliating legal defeat in 2016, when an arbitration body at The Hague constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) struck down much of China’s claims in adjacent waters in a ruling that favored the Philippines.

Last year, China began to introduce a new quasi-legal doctrine in the South China Sea.

According to the new “Four Sha” doctrine, China lays sovereign claims over the Pratas, Paracels and Spratly group of islands, as well as the Macclesfield Bank area (known in Chinese as Dongsha, Xisha, Nansha, and Zhongsha respectively).

Instead of treating them as a collection of disputed land features, each group of islands or land features is treated as an integrated archipelagic body with its own maritime boundaries, sovereign land with a corresponding title to claim an exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The new doctrine was advanced by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials during a closed-door meeting with US State Department officials in Washington last August, according to news reports and Pentagon sources.

The “new map” should thus be understood as yet another attempt to present old wine in a new bottle…the 1951 map presents “the continuous line” of a claim, which was “recognized by the international community in the corresponding historical period.”

They also claim that it provides “appropriate descriptions and drawing-methods for the sea boundary in [the] historical period,” ensuring the “certainty of the integrity, continuity and border of China’s seas.”

The academics argue that the new map should serve as the basis of China’s claims in the area, since it “more vividly, accurately, completely and scientifically” characterizes and proves Beijing’s sovereignty in adjacent waters.

If Beijing moves to back the academics’ assertions, it could inflame already boiling tensions with smaller Southeast Asian claimants, which have opposed China’s expanding military footprint and extensive reclamation activities.

What is clearer is that China is still determined to provide quasi-legal cover for its rising domination of the South China Sea.

China Topics on July 25, 2016 reported on an even more aggressive claim of territory by China that claimed that the Pacific Ocean is Chinese. Excerpts below:

The map infers Hawaii belongs to China and [that] Hawaii was stolen from China by the United States, which must give it back of face the consequences.

The map was the work of the person or persons behind a blog called the “Ministry of Harmony”…

The original post in 2014 claimed China’s Ministry of Education had released a new world map where China claims most of the Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii and most of Micronesia.

It said Xinhua, China’s propaganda media machine, reported the ministry issued a directive ordering “all educational facilities and government offices to replace their outdated world maps with the current iteration,”…

Emmanuel Mori, who then was President of the Federated States of Micronesia, reportedly dismissed the map as “absurd” and accused China of “cartographic rape.”

In the map, China also claims Mexico’s Clarion Island and France’s Clipperton Island. The ministry said both islands will be granted full autonomy.

Hawaii and other American territories such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands will be combined to form a new Chinese province called “Xinmeiguo,” …

The ministry defended the new “251-dash map” by pointing to several Qing-era documents that show the Carolines, the Northern Mariana and Marshall Islands were under Chinese control hundreds of years ago.

“The study of what constitutes Chinese territory is ongoing,” said one ministry official.

IRAN AS CHALLENGER TO WESTERN CIVILIZATION

May 2, 2018

Hoover Institution’s The Caravan in December 2017 published an article on Western grand strategy to stop Iran’s strategic offensive in the Middle East. Excerpts below:

The United States, weary from its Cold War exertions, envisioned a “peace dividend,” and elected a domestic-agenda-first president. America would bask in its “unipolar” moment while handling foreign affairs on a case-by-case “just get through the news cycle” mode of operation. The U.S. would begin to ease its burden of leading the world in defense of the established international system.

But in fact, a new world order was taking shape.

…the power centers of three continents were emerging by design and self-defined historical “inevitability” into political-ideological structures intended to transcend the modern international state order and to recreate neo-imperialistic spheres of influence. Russia toyed with the idea of democracy, soon was gripped by kleptocracy, and then in the twenty-first century under a neo-tsarist, neo-commissar ruler would begin a pattern of probing Western European weaknesses while envisioning itself as a transnational “Eurasian” realm. The People’s Republic of China finally bade farewell to Chairman Mao even while the Party would continue to make use of his cultic adoration. China would amass wealth and power from responsible participation the global economy until near the end of the new century’s first decade, it would reveal itself both as seeking an “harmonious” world order even as it assertively began to deconstruct aspects of that order which failed to display “Chinese characteristics.”

The third power center of what may …be imagined as the new century’s dreikaiserbund (Three Emperors’ League) is the Islamic Republic of Iran. By a deft mixture of diplomatic stratagems, support for terrorist agents, military and paramilitary deployment of a variety of militias, and a “foreign legion” in the form of Shia Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as well as a brilliantly-executed nuclear “deal” with the United States, Iran has turned itself in a strikingly short time into the suzerain of the northern swath of the Middle East from western Afghanistan, through Iran itself, Shia Iraq, the satellite Assad regime in Syria, and most of Lebanon to the Mediterranean beaches. Iran is consolidating this after winning the major war for Syria with the decisive intervention of the Russian army and air force (providing Moscow with air, land, and naval bases in the process) while becoming recognized as a “threshold” nuclear weapons power that is reshaping the regional balance of power to its advantage.

This new Iran was launched in 1979 by the Islamist Revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini which overthrew Shah Reza Pahlavi and riveted American emotions by storming the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and taking diplomatic personnel hostage for 444 days. As shocking as this was to Washington, the symbolic power message it carried has still not been fully grasped.

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The admirable and underappreciated foreign affairs intellectual Adda B. Bozeman, professor emerita of Sarah Lawrence College at that time, stepped up to give context to the Iranian upheaval. The revolution, she wrote, should be seen “as a victory for the general cause of Islam and as a defeat not so much for the Pahlavi dynasty as for the Iranian nation-state.”1 The key to understanding would be the ancient “Persian World-State.” The Sassanian Empire of Persia had been conquered by Islamized Arabs in 630 AD, but then would be followed by “Iran’s conquest of Islam” as Arabs came to recognize and adopt Persian statecraft and administrative practices; these would provide a governing structure for the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates as well as those of the Mongols and Turks. Historically, Bozeman said, this Iranization of the Middle East eventually would prove more powerful than later Westernization.

Against this, US policy has ranged from contradictory to incoherent: from President Obama’s “Deal” which the region has taken to mean “The U.S. looks with favor on the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran to paramount power in the Middle East” to President Trump’s refusal to certify the “deal” while nonetheless keeping to its provisions while threatening to block Iran’s ambitions and expansive neo-imperial actions in unexplained ways.

Taken together, all this makes “Rolling Back Iran” the most perplexing, task in American strategy today…

1 Bozeman, “Iran: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Tradition of Persian Statecraft,” in Orbis, Summer, 1979, pp. 387-402.

Comment: The Hoover article is an important contribution to the view that the main challengers today to the United States and thus the Western world are China, Russia and Iran. Professor Bozeman’s analysis is still one of the best on the ancient Persian statecraft’s role in the imperial aspiration of the present Iranian republic. It has inherited the deception and lies used by the ancient Persian empire against classical Greece. The Orbis journal article of 1979 is not the only work by Bozeman that should be studied by American strategists. She deserves to be studied in Europe as well. She was of Latvian origin.

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL MUST BE FIXED OR NIXED

May 1, 2018

Fox News on April 30, 2018, reported on the American reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombshell news on Iran covert nuclear program. Excerpts below:

President Trump called the Iran nuclear deal a “horrible agreement for the United States” in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombshell allegations about Tehran’s covert activity…

The president said it shows Iran is lying about its nuclear weapons program.

“That is just not an acceptable situation,” Trump said.

Trump said Netanyahu’s claims show Iran is “not sitting back idly.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded, “The United States is aware of the information just released by Israel and continues to examine it carefully. This information provides new and compelling details about Iran’s efforts to develop missile-deliverable nuclear weapons. These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people. The Iranian regime has shown it will use destructive weapons against its neighbors and others. Iran must never have nuclear weapons.”

Trump said: “So we’ll see what happens,” when asked about the announcement. “I’m not telling you what I’m doing. [A lot] of people think they know. And on or before the 12th, we’ll make a decision.”

The president made the comments during a joint press conference with visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Trump said that overall, “what we’ve learned has really shown that I have been 100 percent right.”

Netanyahu said during his earlier presentation that new intelligence shows Iran lied about never having nuclear weapons and lied again by not coming clean under the terms of the 2015 deal. “The Iran deal … is based on lies,” he said.

The information was obtained within the past 10 days, Israeli officials told Fox News. Netanyahu said the files were moved to a “highly secret” location in Tehran, and contained materials spread over 55,000 pages and 55,000 files on 183 CD’s.

“The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to producing an atomic arsenal,” Netanyahu said Monday.

“The Iran Deal was and has always been a foreign policy debacle. But today’s stunning intel presentation [by Netanyahu] provides even more troubling context. All along it was built on a crumbling foundation of lies, deception, and naivete. This ‘deal’ should be shredded,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., tweeted.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday ratcheted up the Trump administration’s rhetoric against Iran and offered warm support to Israel and Saudi Arabia in their standoff with Tehran.

“The United States is with Israel in this fight,” Pompeo said.

The 2015 deal gave Iran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Comment: The Israeli information that Tehran has lied about its program to build nuclear weapons is a stunning feat by Israeli intelligence. Iran’s information offered at the time of the nuclear deal in 2015 was pure deception. The technique of Iran/Persia using lies and deception goes back to the ancient Iranian empire. The Iran deal is based on lies and should be renegotiated or nixed. Iran is a growing strategic threat in the Middle East and its aggression stretches from Syria in the north to Yemen in the south. The Gulf states must be more involved in stopping Iran’s destabilization in the region.

UNITED STATES, INDIA, AUSTRALIA, AND JAPAN: ALIGNING GEOPOLITICALLY

April 9, 2018

Washington Times on April 8, 2018, published an article on how the United States and India can work together to counter communist China’s aggressive economic and military moves across Asia. Excerpts below:

How might the United States and India, the world’s largest democracies, work more effectively together toward countering communist China’s increasingly aggressive economic and military moves across Asia?

That question loomed over a private, in-depth diplomatic conference this weekend on the future of U.S.-Indian relations.

The second annual U.S.-India forum played out under strict, off-the-record rules on reporting comments to foster what organizers said they hoped would be the most honest dialogue between high-level current and former officials and others from both countries.

But several in attendance spoke openly on the sidelines with The Washington Times about a China-inspired urgency for increased U.S.-Indian military ties and a more robust democracy- and capitalism-driven development and foreign investment plan to counter Beijing’s surging regional influence.

The Trump administration sent Alice G. Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, among others. Ms. Wells voiced concern about China’s fast-moving One Belt One Road initiative, through which Beijing pumps cash into infrastructure projects to buy access to resources around the region.

Ms. Wells told The Times that the initiative — laden with billions of dollars worth of China-funded projects in countries on every side of India, from Sri Lanka to Nepal to Pakistan — “lacks transparency and sustainability” and is saddling those nations with “predatory debt.”

But for all of our concerns about One Belt One Road, we have to have a positive vision,” she said.

“India and the United States and Japan and Australia and others have to stand for something, and we have to be able to provide countries with alternatives, options and sensible financing that meets the highest standards,” she said.

Ms. Wells and others stressed that President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi see eye to eye on the matter.

Several at this weekend’s conference told The Times that the U.S. and India need to get serious about expanding their military-to-military alliance to make clear who controls the Indo-Pacific.

“China’s activities create a large amount of impetus for a more focused and more action-oriented India and U.S. navy-to-navy, maritime-to-maritime, country-to-country engagement,” former Indian Vice Adm. Pradeep Chauhan told The Times.

Nitin Pai, co-founder of an Indian think tank on international policy, went further, telling The Times that there is “no choice. We’ve got to be able to manage China’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean region, including the military aspect of it.”

In Mr. Pai’s mind, a dangerous military strategy undergirds Beijing’s expanding investment in regional seaports, though China presents the investment as purely economic and benevolent.

He argued that India should more deeply engage in operations beyond the Indian Ocean — more toward Chinese-claimed waters near East Asia — through joint exercises with the U.S. and others, including Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.

“India should be sending its naval forces east of Singapore so that we play an active role in the balance of power in the Western Pacific,” he said. “In my view, we have no choice but to do this.”


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Many say Mr. Trump’s popularity here stems from his recent halt on all nonessential U.S. aid to India’s rival, Pakistan. But Mr. Mehta told The Times that Indians were excited about the U.S. president before he cut aid to Pakistan.

Rajan Navani, who manages an organization pushing digital-sector international trade for India, [said]: “It makes complete sense for India and the U.S. to align geopolitically when it comes to China.”

James Carafano, the head of national security and foreign affairs research at The Heritage Foundation, told The Times that he has “misgivings about India’s ability to think as a global power.”

“India knows it can’t live in a world where Beijing is the new London, and basically what Beijing is doing right now is an attempt to re-create the British Empire in reverse,” Mr. Carafano said. “The Indians know they can’t compete with China without technology that only the U.S. is likely to deliver, and they know that’s why they should work us.

“As for why we should work with them, look, the U.S. has to be strong in Europe, the Mideast and in Asia, simultaneously, and we just can’t do that without partners,” he said. “From a military strategic standpoint, the biggest thing we get from partnering with India is geography. It’s control of the Indian Ocean, which most of the world’s stuff travels through. We have a joint notion with India to keep it open to all, while the Chinese want to control it.”

Michael Pillsbury, the head of Chinese strategy at the Hudson Institute, said: …New Delhi realized the gravity of the situation last summer during a standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along a disputed Himalayan border territory after Beijing suddenly begun building a road through the area.

“I predict more U.S. military sales to India very soon,” Mr. Pillsbury said.

Total U.S.-Indian trade continues to rise, hitting nearly $120 billion last year, and Indians are by far the top recipients of H-1B visas, which provide highly skilled, educated Indian labor to the U.S. tech sector.

At the same time, economic expansion in India, whose population of 1.3 billion is projected to soon eclipse China as the world’s largest, presents what many see as a vital growing market for U.S. companies.

Ms. Wells, meanwhile, stressed that the wider alliance known in diplomatic circles as “the Quad” — the U.S., India, Japan and Australia — is suited to grow such a framework but needs to think more creatively about how to increase private investment.

“How do we tap our private sectors, which is a huge asset that we have?” said Ms. Wells. “[We must] work with our private sectors through trade development authority and feasibility studies and provide the private sectors with the information they need to be able to tap into what is a huge demand for infrastructure in this region.”

THREE EURASIAN EMPIRES CHALLENGING THE WEST

April 7, 2018

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.

US NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY AND CLASSICAL GEOPOLITICS

April 6, 2018

On January 9, 2018, leading American geopolitical expert Francis P. Sempa in RealClear Defense argued that geopolitics ought to play a greater role in US National Security Strategies. Excerpts below:

What is crucial is that the nation’s foreign and defense policies be rooted in an appreciation and understanding of classical geopolitics. This means that U.S. policymakers should have a knowledge of history in its geographical settings and a familiarity with the works of the greatest geopolitical scholars: Alfred Thayer Mahan, Halford Mackinder, and Nicholas Spykman.

Alfred Thayer Mahan graduated from the Naval Academy in 1859, served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War, and ended up teaching at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, between the 1880s and his death in 1914. He authored 20 books and hundreds of articles on history and naval strategy. He achieved world renown for his book “The Influence of Sea Power upon History” (1890).

His most important geopolitical work was “The Problem of Asia” (1901), but his geopolitical insights can also be found in “The Influence of Sea Power Upon the French Revolution and Empire” (1892), “The Interest of America in International Conditions” (1910), and “Naval Strategy” (1911).

Mahan understood that the United States was effectively an island or insular continental power with no potential peer competitor in the Western Hemisphere but with several such potential competitors in the Eastern Hemisphere. Because the U.S. was separated from the Old World by two great oceans, sea power was essential to its national security.

Mahan viewed the United States as the geopolitical successor to the British Empire. He studied how insular Britain repeatedly used its sea power and economic might to support coalitions of powers on the Eurasian landmass against potential continental hegemons such as the Austrian-Spanish Hapsburgs, Louis XIV’s France, and Napoleon’s empire.

Halford Mackinder was a British geographer, lecturer, and statesman who wrote three of the most important and influential geopolitical analyses between 1904 and 1943. The first, “The Geographical Pivot of History” (1904), was an address to the Royal Geographical Society in London, which later appeared in the Geographical Journal. The second, “Democratic Ideals and Reality” (1919), was written immediately after the end of the First World War and urged the statesmen of the world to construct a peace based on geopolitical realities rather than utopian ideals. The third, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace,” appeared in Foreign Affairsin 1943 in the midst of the Second World War.

His geopolitical map of the world consisted of the Eurasian-African continent that he called the “World-Island,” because it potentially combined insularity with unmatched population and resources; the surrounding islands, including North America, South America, Great Britain, Japan, Australia and lesser islands; and the world ocean.

The Eurasian landmass or “great continent,” contained most of the world’s people and resources. The “pivot state” or “Heartland” of Eurasia was the inner core region stretching east-to-west from the Lena River in Siberia to the edge of Eastern Europe between the Black and Caspian Seas and north-to-south from just below the arctic circle to Inner Mongolia and the northern Central Asian republics. The Eurasian Heartland was geographically impenetrable to sea power but suitable for mobile land power.

Abutting the Heartland or pivot state on the Eurasian landmass, according to Mackinder, was a vast crescent-shaped region or coastland, which included Western Europe, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, India, China, and the continental nations of the Far East, all of which was accessible to sea power.

Mackinder rounded-out his map with an outer or insular crescent of powers, which included Britain, Japan, Africa south of the Sahara Desert, Australia, Indonesia, North America, and South America.

In 1919, he colorfully suggested that some “airy cherub” should whisper into the ear of Western statesmen: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland: Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island: Who rules the World-Island commands the world.”

In 1943, Mackinder suggested that a Heartland-based power could be contained by a coalition of powers based in the “Midland Ocean,” which included the United States and Canada, Great Britain, and the nations of Western Europe, a remarkable and prescient description of the NATO coalition that formed six years later in response to a Heartland-based Soviet empire’s expansionist policies. In this latter paper, Mackinder hoped for a “balanced globe of human beings, [a]nd happy because balanced and thus free.”

Nicholas Spykman taught international relations at Yale University in the 1930s and 1940s. He wrote two geopolitical masterpieces, “America’s Strategy in World Politics” (1942) and “The Geography of the Peace” (1944), that latter of which was published posthumously. Spykman accepted the geopolitical division of the world as described by Mackinder, but differed with Mackinder about the power potential of the world’s regions.

For Spykman, the world’s most powerful region was not the landlocked Heartland, but the crescent-shaped area bordering the Heartland that he renamed the “Rimland.” In “The Geography of the Peace”, he issued a counter-dictum: “Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia, who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world.”

Spykman nevertheless agreed with Mackinder that the postwar struggle would potentially pit a Heartland-based Russia against the maritime power of the United States for control of the Rimland, and so it turned out to be. Spykman even foresaw that China would one day be a “continental power of huge dimensions,” and her size, geographic position, natural resources and population would force the United States into an alliance with Japan to preserve the Asian balance of power.

Indeed, Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman all understood that China’s geographical position, resources, immense population, and access to the sea made her potentially a formidable power on the Eurasian landmass. All three scholars understood that American and Western national security depended on the political pluralism of Eurasia—what Mackinder called a “balanced globe of human beings.”

President Trump’s first formal National Security Strategy speaks of the need to preserve a favorable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East, which roughly approximates Spykman’s Rimland. It recognizes that the two most likely global competitors of the United States are China and Russia, both continental-sized powers situated in or near Mackinder’s Heartland. It expresses the need for greater investment in naval power in order to maintain and increase our access to allies and bases on the Eurasian landmass, consistent with the teachings of Mahan. In these ways, it reflects an understanding of classical geopolitics.

History and experience always trump theory…An understanding of classical geopolitics will not enable U.S. policymakers to shape the world to their liking, but it may enable them to, in Bismarck’s words, “float with and steer” the “current of events.” The best we can and should hope for is a prudent National Security Strategy that seeks geopolitical balance based on the political pluralism of Eurasia.

American Francis P. Sempa is the author of “Geopolitics: From the Cold War to the 21stCentury”, “America’s Global Role: Essays and Reviews on National Security, Geopolitics and War”,…. He has written lengthy introductions to two of Mahan’s books, and has written on historical and foreign policy topics for [various journals and magazines]. He is an attorney, an adjunct professor of political science at Wilkes University…

Comment: Sempa is correct in his view that classical geopolitics should be the basis of US national strategy. Varldsinbordeskriget has since 2009 numerous times pointed out the importance of meeting the challenge of China, Russia and Iran/Persia poses to the United States and the rest of the West. These totalitarian and authoritarian empires are based on Mackinder’s World Island. If they combine the challenge would be even graver. From time to time Russia and China declare that they will cooperate to challenge American influence. At present it seems as if Russia, Iran/Persia and Turkey is forming an alliance to guide the future of Syria. Sempa correctly argues in his article that the Trump administration recognizes China and Russia as the two most likely comnpetitors. He should have added Iran/Persia.

PROTECTING THE UNITED STATES AND THE REST OF THE WEST

April 4, 2018

Washington Times on April 3, 2018 published a commentary by Jed Babbin, a former US deputy undersecretary of defense, on a new foreign policy agenda for the United States. Excerpts below:

There are at least four policy matters that could comprise an initial agenda for Mr. John Bolton, each of which would significantly assist the president in bolstering our national security.

In August 2016 Mr. Trump,…, said, “Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”

Mr. Trump was right and strategically so. Radical Islamic terrorism is motivated by a religiously-based ideology. It can only be won by the defeat of that evil ideology.

[Mr. Bolton] will be able to assemble the best psychological warfare…to craft and commence the campaign. He will be able to guide the president and other government leaders, to play their critical roles in defeating the Islamist ideology.

The ideological fight will take many years, perhaps decades, to win but there is no prospect of defeating this enemy unless it is won.

The next big item on Mr. Bolton’s agenda should be Mr. Obama’s 2015 nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Mr. Bolton, from the outset highly critical of the deal, can be expected to press the president to do the right thing and cancel the deal in May.

[The new national security advisor] steps into his new job at an opportune moment to address a third item on his agenda. The president is supposed to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the next few weeks. Mr. Bolton will be able to advise the president on the pitfalls of any proposed agreement with Mr. Kim. When the meeting ends, as it almost certainly will with no agreement other than to talk again, he will be able to convince the president to do far more than has been done to improve our defenses against ballistic missile attacks.

One of the ways to improve our ballistic missile defenses is a space-based system called “Brilliant Pebbles” first unveiled in the 1990s. It is a system of small interceptor missiles, linked to our satellite missile tracking systems, which — even with 1990s technology — would have made America almost penetration-proof against such attacks. Modern technology would make the system even more effective depriving many adversaries, not just North Korea, of a “first strike” capability.

The fourth item on Mr. Bolton’s agenda should be to recommence sending captured terrorists to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gitmo, isolated and secure, is a place where terrorists can be interrogated at length. Such interrogations, which take place over months and even years, have proven to be a consistent source of actionable intelligence.

Under the law of war, we can hold prisoners until the conflict is over. It has never been demonstrated that Gitmo benefits terrorist recruitment, but so what if it does? Gitmo — and the fact that no prisoners are tortured there, a fact that is verified by frequent inspections by international groups — is another weapon we should use in the ideological war.

Comment: In addition to the war against terrorism the West is at present facing three major imperial challengers: China, Iran/Persia and Russia. Of Mr Babbin’s policy recommendations two deal with the war on terrorism, one with Iran and one with the threat of missile attacks by North Korea, China and Russia. The two latter recommendations are helpful in the case of the challenges the West is today facing from empires in the rimland of Eurasia and the Russian heartland.

US WILL WIN TRADE WAR WITH CHINA SAYS EXPERT

April 3, 2018

Daily Beast on March 26, 2018 published an article by leading China expert Gordon G. Chang. Chang said that China would risk the falling apart of their economy and political system if opposing the United States. Excerpts below:

…President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from various countries, including China, pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

…he has signed a memorandum that will soon lead, pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, to the levying of tariffs on perhaps $60 billion of Chinese goods. At the same time, he directed the Treasury Department to consider the imposition of curbs on Chinese investment.

It certainly looks like a trade war is brewing. China’s Ministry of Commerce [has] announced tariffs of 15 percent and 25 percent on almost $3 billion of American products in 128 categories, retaliation for Trump’s Section 232 tariffs.

At the same time, Chinese officials have been making threats, especially promising to not buy American agricultural products or to reduce purchases of U.S. Treasury debt.

[USA holds the winning cards.] First, [China] is growing more dependent on access to the American market. In 2016, a stunning 68.0 percent of China’s overall merchandise trade surplus related to sales to the U.S. In 2017, that figure increased to 88.8 percent. Trade-surplus countries, as history shows, generally suffer more in trade wars.

Beijing, therefore, is generally vulnerable to being pushed around by Washington.

Second, the American economy is far bigger than the Chinese one. Beijing claimed gross domestic product of $12.84 trillion in 2017. America’s economy, by way of contrast, clocked in at $19.39 trillion last year.

China’s GDP numbers are surely overstated because, especially during the last two years, the country’s growth was less than half that reported by the official National Bureau of Statistics. America’s larger economy is, at the moment, in fact growing at a faster clip than China’s.

Third, the American economy, for all its faults, is stable, and China’s, by most accounts, is on the verge of a debt crisis. China’s debt-to-GDP ratio looks like it is somewhere, depending on the amount of so-called hidden debt, between 350 percent and 400 percent.

Chinese concern about the state of the economy led to extraordinary capital flight in 2015 and 2016, with net capital outflow probably reaching $2.1 trillion in the two-year period. Only the imposition of draconian capital-control measures beginning in the fall of 2016 stopped the outbound torrent of capital.

In this regard, Beijing has been, on balance, selling American Treasury obligations since the middle of 2014 in order to defend its currency, the renminbi, and this has not caused any noticeable effect on the ability of the U.S. to finance deficits.

In addition to ignoring the fundamental balance of power between China and the U.S., experts in recent days have been making specific arguments that are particularly unconvincing.

[A false argument is] when American retailers, politicians, and others contend that Trump’s tariffs will punish Americans, who have become accustomed to buying cheap goods.

Yet China, as its promoters have told us for a half-decade, is no longer the lowest-cost producer of many items. Take… [the]example of apparel. At the beginning of this century, about 90 percent of apparel sold at Walmarts was made in China. By the end of 2012, that balance between China and the rest of the world essentially reversed.

Trump’s tariffs on apparel or other items, even if they make Chinese goods more expensive or unavailable, will not result in significant cost increases beyond a month or two. Americans will soon be buying their low-cost items from other producers, which are already, if I may use the phrase, beating the pants off China.

…consumption is ultimately not the driver of growth in China. The ultimate driver remains investment. Consumption in China falls whenever Beijing reduces the flow of state-directed investment. And because of debt concerns, Chinese technocrats are losing the ability to create growth by investing.

For decades, Chinese leaders have staked their legitimacy primarily on the continual delivery of prosperity. Trump not only threatens the Chinese economy but also the Communist Party’s political system. That gives China’s leaders great incentive to hold back retaliatory moves.

Boeing executives and American soybean producers are right to be nervous [about Chinese moves], but they surely know how global markets work. If China does not buy soybeans from the American heartland and purchases them from Brazil instead, American producers will sell soy to Brazil’s customers.

There are only so many soybeans in the world at the moment, and the same principle generally holds for commercial aircraft. Airlines and leasing companies are unlikely to wait years longer because Airbus’ production has been diverted to China to fill orders that would have gone to Boeing. In most cases, Airbus customers will opt for Boeing craft to fill needs.

In short, Trump holds the high cards when it comes to China, and, unlike his predecessors, he knows it.

GROWING CHINESE THREAT TO US NATIONAL INTERESTS

March 31, 2018

CHINESE TRADE AND INVESTMENT PRACTICES HARMFUL TO UNITED STATES
The Diplomat on March 29, 2018 reported on growing American concern about Chinese harm to national interests in the trade and investment area. Excerpts below:

[President Donald] Trump’s increasing anti-Chinese turn on U.S. industrial policy [has largely gone unnoticed].

Over the last five years, Chinese acquisitions in the United States boomed. As reported by the Rhodium Group, during this period Chinese companies invested $116 billion in the United States, raising the overall investments in the country to $138 billion. This sharp increase has produced several concerns in Washington, leaving many questioning the real intentions of the investors and their possible connections to the Chinese government.

A good share of these investments, indeed, have been directed toward strategic sectors with a high concentration of advanced technologies. Concerns stemmed from the possibility that these acquisitions could enable China to transfer cutting-edge technologies to its own companies, reinforce its high-tech industry, and pose a significant challenge to Washington’s technological supremacy.

Central to the reshaping of the relationship is the Committee on Foreign Investment of the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee tasked with reviewing inbound investments for national security concerns. Among its members, CFIUS includes the heads of the Department of Treasury (who chairs it), Commerce, Energy, State, Homeland Security, Defense, and other offices. Although usually working behind closed doors, it has the power to block multibillion dollar deals if they are judged detrimental to national interests.

The first evidence of the administration’s change of approach came last September, when CFIUS did not approve the acquisition of U.S. chipmaker Lattice by Canyon Bridge, a semiconductor investment fund sponsored by a Chinese state-owned asset manager.

Since December, the administration made its stance even more clear regarding the high-tech industry. The National Security Strategy document released that month labeled China as a “strategic competitor”and fixed as a priority the protection of the U.S. “innovation base” from IP theft by the Chinese in order to preserve the United States’ long-term competitive advantage.

Therefore, since January, a string of interventions highlighted this new outlook. First, the deal for Moneygram, the second biggest money transfer provider globally, came under fire. The acquisition for $1.2 billion had been agreed with Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba specializing in internet and mobile payments. Alex Holmes, director general of Moneygram, acknowledged the changes in the geopolitical environment as one of the reasons behind CFIUS’ refusal to give the green light.

Shortly after, CFIUS discreetly raised its voice once more when it put on hold two investments by the Chinese conglomerate HNA into U.S. hedge fund SkyBridge Capital and miner Glencore until the the buyer provided adequate information about its shareholding structure.

A month later, the committee intervened again in order to make clear that it was unlikely that it could approve the acquisition of Xcerra, a U.S. semiconductor testing company.

Only a few days after the Moneygram deal collapse, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei was going to announce a deal with U.S. telecom carrier AT&T, marking a breakthrough for its penetration into the U.S. market, when suddenly the partner company backed away.

Indeed, Washington has a long record of mistrust toward Huawei and the last move appears motivated by concerns over Beijing’s espionage and presence in a strategic sector like telecommunications.

…the most prominent chapter of this saga occurred this month, when CFIUS took some unusual steps to kill the biggest deal ever in the technology industry. Broadcom, a Singapore-based formerly U.S. tech company, offered $117 billion for the acquisition of rival Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers and a prominent developer in the race for the next-generation high-speed wireless network known as 5G. Before the deal was even concluded, CFIUS made clear that it might not let the acquisition go through and soon Trump, building on the committee’s decision, issued an order to block the takeover.

This is probably the most interesting case to date because it shows a shift in how CFIUS thinks about the protection of national security.

After all, the massive bank borrowing required for the deal did anything but assuage that concern. Against that backdrop, CFIUS warned that China would be able to fill any void left by a “hostile” Qualcomm takeover: reducing its competitiveness and its standard-setting abilities, the committee said, would have a negative impact on U.S. national interests as Chinese companies such as Huawei would finally be able to take the lead in the development of the most advanced technologies. This, of course, could bear great military implications.

Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to reinforce CFIUS’ scrutiny powers. The reform, which appears to have bipartisan backing, would expand its jurisdiction to outbound investments from U.S. companies in order to fight China’s practices of forcing foreign enterprises to share their technologies in exchange for market access.

…economic tensions between Washington and Beijing are heightening. Despite Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s latest endeavors to reassure his counterparts, the U.S. perception that Chinese trade and investment practices are unfair and harmful for national interests is highly unlikely to go away and Trump’s announcement of a new round of tariffs last week proves that.