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China posturing to become leading superpower

By ZACHARY HUBBARD, The Tribune-Democrat
March 27, 2009

All eyes are on Capitol Hill, where Congress is keeping the public’s attention sidetracked by defending corporate bailouts and sniveling about executive bonuses at AIG. Meanwhile, China has been quietly maneuvering to secure its position as the world’s leading superpower.

The ancient Chinese warrior-philosopher Sun Tzu said, “Loot a burning house.”

By this he meant you should kick your enemies when they’re down. The Chinese leadership understands this. It has been kicking Americans in our collective behinds for some time now.

Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the media pays it much attention.

Congress is fiddling while our economy burns, planning more bailouts for its friends and mortgaging our economic future. Meanwhile, China has been gobbling up American debt faster than Pac-Man gobbles up power pills. Near the end of 2008, China quietly overtook Japan as the largest foreign holder of U.S. national debt instruments.

When it comes to America’s relationship with the Chinese giant, remember this golden rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” China owns more than $1 trillion of America’s national debt and is superbly positioned to dominate our economic future.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a repossessed car, foreclosed mortgage or a rubber check, then you might have a slight understanding of what will happen when China decides to call in its markers on the United States. Think it can’t happen? Think again.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao recently expressed concern that a weakening dollar will harm his country’s economy. On March 18, Reuters reported a U.N. panel is prepared to recommend that the world drop the dollar as the global reserve currency, favoring, instead, a collection of common currencies. On March 19, Reuters reported that China is backing Russia’s call to hold discussions to find an alternative to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

China has taken advantage of the global economic slump to buy strategic assets needed to fuel its growth, such as oil, minerals and metals. The Washington Post reported on March 17 that, “Chinese companies have been on a shopping spree in the past month, snapping up tens of billions of dollars worth of key assets in Iran, Brazil, Russia, Venezuela, Australia and France in a global fire sale set off by the financial crisis.”

To undergird its global quest for resources, China will need a capability to project power globally. On Nov. 17, the BBC reported China may soon be building aircraft carriers to strengthen its already substantial naval capability.

The article quoted Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua of the Chinese Defense Ministry’s Foreign Affairs staff, who said if China develops aircraft carriers, they will not be used for “global reach.” Maybe the Chinese short-term goals do not include global reach, but its navy must eventually move in that direction to ensure that its flow of critical economic resources remains uninterrupted.

If China’s short-term goals for aircraft carriers do not include global reach, then why build them now? Recent events may hold a clue. On March 8, five Chinese naval vessels harassed a U.S. Navy surveillance ship in the South China Sea. American officials said the American ship was in international waters, but the Chinese claimed it violated Chinese territorial waters.

What’s this all about? China may be slowly positioning itself to assert hegemony over the entire South China Sea region. Its goal – establish the conditions for reclaiming possession of Taiwan.

The scenario would require three phases. First, establish a degree of control over the U.S. economy. This phase is nearly complete, thanks to assistance from Congress.

Second, a continuation of the first phase, would be to replace the dollar as the global reserve currency.

Third, seize control of Taiwan.

China is currently positioning itself for this final move.

The China-Taiwan war scenario is a nightmare for the United States. The Strait of Taiwan, which at the narrowest point is less than 80 miles wide, has no strategic depth.

A Chinese attack might employ aerial and missile bombardment, electronic warfare to disable Taiwanese command and control communications, amphibious and airborne landings to seize and control strategic objectives, and computer network attacks to disrupt critical infrastructures. An invasion could be executed with such speed and surprise that the United States would have insufficient time to respond.

China’s success would demonstrate that the United States is impotent. With American credibility de- stroyed, China would easily replace our nation as the leading superpower, relegating America to a status similar to Russia’s.

Nazi Germany instigated a war with Poland by staging a fake attack on a German radio station at Gleiwitz, near the German-Poland border. Germany blamed Poland for the bogus attack and used it to justify its invasion of Poland.

The China-Taiwan scenario could play out similarly.

If China succeeds in having the dollar replaced as the global reserve currency, the United States must be vigilant. Not long thereafter, China’s leaders could claim Taiwan had performed acts of aggression against their country, providing justification for China to retaliate. A lightning-quick invasion would follow.

What would this mean for America? We can only guess.

However, one surefire remedy to help prevent our nation’s demise is term limits.

It’s time to clean out Washington, D.C., of the rotten apples on both sides of the aisle. They got us into this mess, and they need to go.

The next American Revolution must sweep away every incumbent in the U.S. Senate and House. Such purification is an essential first step toward ensuring our future.

Zachary Hubbard is a freelance writer residing in Upper Yoder Township. He is a member of The Tribune-Democrat Readership Advisory Committee.

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