Who’s on China’s side?
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Because sides are forming.
In one corner, America and our allies… Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and India. A ring around half of China if not more.
In the other, China’s friends and strategic partners… Russia, Pakistan, and Iran.
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And that’s just Asia.
Further afield, the picture grows murky… with Chinese influence and cash and property stretching across Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
Nobody wants a shooting war. That’s why criticism of the trade war has ultimately been so muted. The trade war has been working… as a substitute for real war… or the kinds of posturing and projecting that can tumble anxious powers into a sudden conflagration.
But now the trade war is ratcheting military rivalry up. Trump has gone out of his way to avoid giving restive Hong Kong his moral or political support. He’s sticking to the numbers… labeling China a currency manipulator and continuing to raise the stakes no matter how markets jitter.
But in Beijing they have other ideas. China is putting America’s Asian-Pacific allies on notice not to host US missiles in their countries. Working overtime to get next generation quantum satellites into orbit. Plowing full steam ahead with technology that funnels all information into Party hands… at home and abroad.
The countries caught between the US and Chinese spheres are not exactly eager to join America shoulder to shoulder in spurning China’s tech and its cash.
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Yet they’re not thrilled about lining up strategically against the United States, especially if it means weakening their defenses. The theme is drift. Wait and see. Take the money, minimize the exposure. Bunker down.
And the Chinese know they can’t afford to take that approach. They got off easy with crushing the Uighurs out of social and cultural existence. Central Asia is under Russian protection, sealing off the abuse of power.
Hong Kong isn’t so simple. The festering protests strike fear into China’s regime. Because they’re worried about the contagion spreading. The Chinese experience with rebellions and civil unrest is harrowing to those who know the tales. It’s even worse for those whose political history it is.
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And the tariffs are weakening the Chinese economy… more every day. Breeding more disquiet… and raising the risks of a public meltdown. Their big tech dystopia is an all put effort to stop that meltdown before it starts.
But it’s not enough. They have to grab and lock down what they need abroad in order to ensure stability at home.
Meanwhile back in the US nobody knows what the endgame is supposed to look like, beyond Reagan’s famous line “we win, you lose.” This is different. This isn’t about destroying an evil empire.
Not yet, anyway.