China will not conquer the world – OpEd – Eurasia Review
By Joseph Solis-Mullen *
While the United States has its problems, the future Chinese world supremacy will not be one. Far from being in a position of overwhelming strength, China and its Communist leaders face impending national crises on several fronts that will threaten not only the existence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but the existence of the state. Chinese as a unified whole. In addition, there are several insurmountable obstacles that seriously disrupt the fundamental interests of the United States or extend its influence far beyond its own shores before this happens.
First, China’s geography is terrible if power projection is a state goal. Endless plains flowing to Mongolia and Siberia to the north, deserts and mountains to the west, more mountains and dense jungle to the south, while its eastern coast is surrounded by states terrified of expansionist China . Korea, Japan and the Philippines, along with other affected regional players such as Vietnam, Indonesia and India, will work hard to keep China locked up. One of the countries most dependent on trade in the current order, China faces dangerous supply chain access during conflict in the South or East China Sea.
China’s internal geography creates its own problems. On the one hand, he is seriously short of food. A shocking statistic: per capita, it has less arable farmland than Saudi Arabia. The agricultural land available to China requires huge amounts of petrochemical fertilizers and labor to remain even moderately productive. In addition, in the absence of interconnected east-to-west waterways, transporting massive amounts of produce inland is costly and inefficient over the vast distances that locally produced food has to travel to the coastal provinces. is very populated. By far the world’s largest food importer, it relies heavily on the continued stability of global supply chains and market access.
In terms of maintaining its internal stability, China’s vastness also creates ethnic and regional problems. With large populations of Uyghurs and Tibetans poorly located in strategic areas far from Beijing, as well as a variety of much smaller ethnic groups in the mountainous jungles to the south, the CCP faces multiple permanent secessionist dangers far from its core. Moreover, such threats flow directly from the geography of the country, with the wealthier eastern coastal provinces such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang wanting and having much more to do with richer Japan and Korea and the rest of the outside world than they do. ‘with the arid western hinterland of China. These provinces have historically resisted Beijing’s control, and the CCP’s most recent measures against the Shanghai-centric tech sector and its billionaire class must be understood in this light; The same is true of his decision not to attempt to replicate the American Shale Revolution due to the location of the large, rich, and culturally distinct Chinese shale deposits of Sichuan.
Demographically, the CCP’s social engineering projects will add to its problems. From a combination of more or less forced mass urbanization, state-induced famine, and two-child-then-one-child policies, the CCP faces a demographic collapse. More specifically, it will run out of taxpayers, workers and consumers. Worse yet, the shift to a one-child policy in the 1980s not only magnified the severity of the coming crisis, it led to an epidemic of selective sexual abortions. Basically, just as the Chinese economy collapses on itself, tens of millions of young men will be unable to find a job or a girlfriend, while by 2030 China will have four retirees for every two. workers and a child. Ouch.
Regarding this coming economic collapse, due to its unique position over the past twenty years as a mass global exporter, the CCP has managed to avoid any potential economic downturn with unlimited state credit, subsidies to industry and dumping, thus maintaining near-full employment. . However, declining yields on additional debt and continued overproduction, combined with domestic underconsumption and competition from cheap labor in his region, mean the bill is about to go. be payable. It’s going to be huge. Total debt is now three times the annual output of the Chinese economy, and the expansion of debt and credit has accelerated in recent years. Until last year, China’s financial system created five times the Federal Reserve’s money supply per month. According to Citigroup, for example, in 2018 alone, the Chinese financial system accounted for 80% of all private credit creation in the world. Due to bad investments led by the central government, these non-performing loans total about $ 7 trillion. To one perspective, the subprime mortgage crisis that crippled Western financial markets has been saddled with less than a trillion dollars in such bad loans. In addition, much of the debt is short term, which means that it is frequently renewed with new debt. This continuous practice gives increasingly diminishing returns. According to The Economist, three quarters of new loans in China are simply used to pay interest on existing debt. Meanwhile, total factor productivity, which had soared in the first decade of the new century, has more or less stabilized since then.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) only makes matters worse: it generates even more yuan, which is loaned and spent on projects of dubious economic value and equally dubious means of repayment. Once again, however, the CCP’s policies that prioritize employment and state stability over efficiency and productivity mean that China’s industrial overproduction must have somewhere to go.
In short, the BIS does not work, and neither does the much-vaunted China 2025. Xi Jinping has shown repeatedly that the economy cannot be seriously reformed. Most of its high tech has been bought or stolen, and as recent evidence has shown, the CCP absolutely cannot tolerate a vibrant and free Shanghai tech sector. It is facing a demographic collapse and is one of the most order-dependent countries, relying on global supply chains and open access to foreign consumer markets. It is teeming with stubborn minorities, resistant elites, trillions of bad debts lurking in its murky financial system, and at this point it cannot seriously float the yuan as a challenger to US dollar hegemony. – this too has already been tried. and failed.
For all of the CCP’s propaganda, fragmentation rather than unity has defined Chinese history. Spanning about two millennia, only three hundred of those years have been the borders of more or less present-day China united under central Han-dominated political authority. Left on its own, locked in the South and East China Seas, it would likely be at risk of severe collapse and fragmentation by the end of the 2030s.
However, just last week, Biden publicly accused China of being behind a series of high-profile cyber operations and, in the same speech, said such actions in the future could lead to a hot war. In the wake of Biden’s belligerent performance in the EU and amid a series of high-level meetings with China’s regional rivals, the actions and rhetoric of the new administration play directly into the grateful fold of the CCP. . In the face of impending disasters on several fronts, such an openly confrontational attitude by the United States is ultimately only likely to give the CCP its best chance of remaining in power as these crises all reach a collective head: by asserting that only he, the CCP, was able to make China become great again and prevent its exploitation by threatening foreign imperialists, and that only it can protect China from a newly determined United States to subvert and destroy it. dominate.
* About the Author: A graduate of Spring Arbor University, JS Mullen is currently a graduate student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois. Author and blogger, his work is available at http://www.jsmwritings.com.
Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute