China’s Strategy to Surpass the US as The Leading Superpower as Proposed by SSgt Damian Niolet
The following report is purely conjecture. The author attempted to take on the mindset of a Chinese analyst, one fully embedded in the self-aggrandizing rhetoric of the Chinese Communist Party. It is out of this mindset that much of the proposed intentions of China, as expressed in this report, exude. The author was only able to do this by reading “between the lines” of all of the books, journal articles, web articles, etc., which the author used as a basis for research. The author is not attributing any measure of accuracy to the inferences herein contained or the
method used to infer them. Lastly, the statements of the author contained in this report do not reflect the views of the USAF, nor the DoD.
THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
INTRODUCTION The United States (US) has been the world’s leading superpower long enough. It is time a single, rising, and luminous star surpass the numerous, but fragmented and dimming stars of the US. That star is of course China, but not China as recognized by so many nations on the global stage; instead, that star is China as China truly is, One-China, encompassing all of its islands, solidified borders, and interests abroad, managed and guided by the only dependable and lasting political party China’s history has ever known, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). China has inadvertently been thrust into a position and time when such an endeavor could never be achieved with greater ease, making it China’s destiny to follow through. Initially China’s aim was simply to grow economically in order to support its people; but now, having fulfilled that aim many times over, due to the CCP’s vision and skill, China is in a position to lead the global economy and bring even further glory to the people that are China. In order for China’s destiny of becoming the world’s leading superpower to be realized specific advantages must be obtained and certain vulnerabilities in Chinas rivals exploited. Exactly how China will meet its destiny, securing its rightful place as the world’s leading superpower, ahead of the US, will be articulated in great detail in the following report. The report will first set the tone by pronouncing the CCP’s utmost intentions, those marching orders that give direction to everything China does. The report will then look at China’s rivals in terms of their vulnerabilities, as Sun Tzu said, “Know your enemies and know yourself, and you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.”1 Since China’s destined path places China in direct opposition to the US, it will be with the US that this report is primarily concerned. The necessary steps involved in China toppling the US and taking its place as the world’s leading
1 Sunzi, The Art of War (Public Domain in the USA, 1994), http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/132
superpower will succinctly follow. Lastly, this report will examine opposing views to whether China should even make such a power grab and offer its assessment of such views. THE CCP’S (AND CHINA’S) UTMOST INTENTIONS There are two sides to anything that the CCP and thus China does. In regards to the CCP’s utmost intentions in its capacity as ruler over China, there are those intentions that the CCP allows the world to believe are the CCP’s utmost intentions, and there are those intentions that are truly guiding how the CCP rules China. Again, China borrows from its own legendary general Sun Tzu, “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness.”2 As of now, it would appear that the world, in particular the US, believes that the CCP is viewing how it governs China through “economic lenses.” Many believe that every action that the CCP takes is one fueled by economic objectives.3 While there is some truth to this, the world is convincing itself that China is so focused on its economic growth that China 1) does not have any follow on intentions, and 2) would not risk its economic growth by taking unfavorable actions in other areas. This perception is just as the CCP would have it. The sub-point to the above Sun Tzu quote goes as follows, “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive.”4 The CCP would have the world, in particular the US, believe that China is not in a position to attack, after all China’s military forces are not being mobilized in any threatening manner; when in fact, all the while China has been waging warfare upon the enemy not through military means, but though less perceptible means. The enemy will only realize this when it is too late.
2 Sunzi, The Art of War. 3 Henry M. Paulson, Jr, “A Strategic Economic Engagement,” Foreign Affairs 87, no. 5 (2008): 60 4 Sunzi, The Art of War.
In truth, the CCP is diverting the attention of those who would stand in China’s way, weakening them, and winning the battle before it has even begun. In this vain, Sun Tzu also said, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”5 The cunning members of the CCP, using China’s magnificent economic strength and cooperativeness as a diversion, are winning the battle before China ever even enters the battle in any military fashion. Once the CCP has lifted China to its destined status as the world’s leading superpower, long after the battle has been waged and won by China, China will finally claim that which is rightfully China’s, beginning with Taiwan.6 To be clear, the CCP’s and China’s utmost intentions are One-China; however, in order to be victorious on that battlefront, the CCP is conquering battlefields its enemies do not even fully realize they are fighting on. Once China has met face-to-face with its destiny, as the world’s leading superpower, an easily achievable endeavor as this report will show, there will be little the world, even the US, can do in response to China’s further objectives. This is exactly as the CCP intends it to be. The CCP has evaluated the enemies that stand between China and China’s goals, carefully considered their vulnerabilities, and formulated a battle plan. No enemy can hope to depart intact from a battle they did not even know they were fighting. An equally important though more subliminal end being sought by the CCP is its own fortitude. China would not be an economic rising star today if not for the CCP. One-China is not achievable without China achieving the status of being the world’s leading superpower. China achieving that status is not possible without the CCP in control of China. China is destined to surpass the US as the world’s leading superpower and the CCP is destined to be the commanding
5 Sunzi, The Art of War. 6 The Office of the SecDef, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 2010), 15
force that makes everything fall into place for the glory of China, (One-China) and Chinas’ people.7 THE VULNERABILITIES OF CHINA’S RIVALS (PARTICULARLY THE US) The developed world’s vulnerabilities have decreased greatly since the rise of insurgent attacks as there is much more diligence to spot and address vulnerabilities. However, the response to those attacks have led to the victim nations reinforcing vulnerabilities as revealed by attacks of that specific type and ignoring the possibility of attacks of other types. There are countless vulnerabilities beside IEDs within a nation, such as economic, psychological, legal, etc. The key to assessing one’s vulnerabilities is deciding who one considers an enemy and whether the enemy is thoroughly known. The world, and particularly the US, has made it paramount that the enemy be labeled as anyone meeting certain “uncivilized” criteria. Ever since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, though there were many previous to that attack, the developed world collectively surmised that the enemy was no longer developed nations, such as the US, UK, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, etc. If these developed nations have been considered threats in recent years, it is merely as opponents in “war games,” or simply a good deal of “politico-military showmanship.” The “real” enemy, one they all have had in common, was likely to be individuals from an undeveloped or developing nation. To be exact, the enemy was likely to be religious extremists hailing from no specific nation and fighting an ideological battle in an asymmetric battlefield.8 9 As such, militaries were strengthened in ways that could preemptively strike or affectively react to said enemy. While this resulted in hardening security measures within the
7 The Office of the SecDef, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 8 The White House, National Security Strategy (Washington DC, 2010) 9 The Office of the SecDef, The Quadrennial Defense Review 2006 and 2010 (Washington DC, 2006 or 2010)
nation, this also entailed attacking the enemy wherever they could be found. However, being “non-state actors,” hailing from no specific nation, they can be found in any number of nations. What this has caused is for the developed nations to spread themselves thin while engaging in a protracted war. This is a very significant vulnerability as it degrades the effectiveness of the military, weakens the will of the people, and discredits the government.10 As far as military strategy goes, this is a very good one. A whole other report could be written on the effectiveness of such a strategy. This report, however, is concerned with strategies that make use of a nation’s assets separate from its military assets (as China has and is seeking to do against the US). This is a notion that has some familiar pieces and some not so familiar pieces, either because the world has shifted its focus away from them or because it has never given enough focus to them. The idea that 1) the enemy could be an entire civilized nation, 2) the battle could be over national interests, and 3) the battlefield could be controlled by anything other than military forces, died with the Cold War. Since then, globalization, the sway of global or regional organizations, and the commonalities between nations have been grounds for relative peace.11 This report is not suggesting that absolutely everyone is focused on non-state actors and asymmetric warfare, or that everyone believes that nations are no longer hostile towards each other. There are numerous voices who would suggest otherwise, but it is policymakers, the ones guiding countries who are focused on such things, making all the difference.12 13 The type of environment created by non-state actors, one where policymakers are far less concerned with
10 Mao Tse-tung, "On Protracted War," Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. II (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1967), 113-194. 11 Ian Clark, The Post-Cold War Order: The Spoils of Peace (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001) 12 Kerry Brown, China and America: The Uses of Vulnerability. http://www.opendemocracy.net (accessed October 6, 2010). 13 The White House, National Security Strategy
developed nations and their strengths (apart from their militaries), is conducive for any such nation to work global matters to their advantage. But it is not only the environment that is conducive. The nature of the policymakers, their mindsets, biases, and presumptions, which are exacerbated by the current environment, assist greatly in allowing a civilized nation, such as China, to take advantages. A very large vulnerability that the developed world’s policymakers, primarily the US’s, have is an enormous abundance of unabashed hubris. The US’s hubris has been exploited many times. After each exploit, despite hubris being deemed the culprit, their hubris grows right back; they cannot seem to find a way to mitigated it.14 It was US hubris that allowed the Twin Towers to fall, it is US hubris that makes the US feel and act as though they are the United Nations, it will be US hubris that will allow China to ascend to the US’s long proclaimed, but soon to be usurped, pillar as the world’s leading superpower. It is a weakness such as the US’s hubris that the CCP is turning into China’s strength. Nowhere is the US’s hubris more evident than in its constant proclamation that it is the world’s leading superpower. China is taking advantage of the US’s habit in making such declarations by agreeing and seconding the notion. The tact is more subtle than described though; for instance, in respects to US involvement in Afghanistan, China, while showing some degree of firmness towards its particular views on the matter, ultimately expresses support for the US and its goals in Afghanistan and emphasizes that some nation has to take the lead militarily. Who better than the US? In this real world example, the US plays right into the ruse due to [its own] hubris. China simply tells the US what the US wants to hear and believe, “China’s not the enemy . . . insurgents are.”15
14 Peter Beinart, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris (New York: HarperCollins, 2010) 15 Sun Zhuangzhi, Afghanistan reflects US' self-obsession. http://www.chinadialy.com/cn (accessed October 10, 2010).
THE STEPS ALONG CHINA’S DESTINED PATH In the current global landscape, which the CCP considers a battlefield, there are certain advantages that China has created for itself that must be further increased. Likewise there are certain weaknesses in China’s rivals, especially the US, which China has exploited and must further abuse. Below, you will find a concise list of the steps necessary for China to take along its destined path, securing its position as the world’s leading superpower. The steps are intended to either support an advantage or exploit a rival’s vulnerabilities. An explanation of the significance of the steps will follow thereafter. Some advantages and/or vulnerabilities not expressed in the preceding section will be expressed below. This was precisely intended since the advantages or vulnerabilities grew out of the CCP’s overall plan. Step 1: Begin these long term initiatives:
Reform China’s healthcare, legal (slowly), and education systems.16 17 18 Begin energy conversion away from coal to alternatives, primarily wind power.19 More aggressively snuff out corrupt officials, and IP theft.20 Continue expansion of military, especially Navy.21 Continue acquisition dominance of rare commodities.22 Install puppet president in Taiwan.23
16 Shuan Rein, Health-Care Reform, China Style. http://www.businessweek.com (accessed October 10, 2010) 17 Foreign Firms Assisting China’s Legal Reform. http://www.china-briefing.com (accessed October 10, 2010) 18 Guo-hua Wang, China's Higher Education Reform. http://www.chinacurrents.com (accessed October 10, 2010) 19 Jessica Marshall, Could Wind Power China’s Energy Future? http://news.discovery.com (accessed October 10, 2010) 20 Paulson, Jr, “A Strategic Economic Engagement” 21 The Office of the SecDef, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 22 Myra P Saefong, China’s not a superpower in the commodities markets. http://www.marketwatch.com (accessed October 10, 2010) 23 Ralph Jennings, Taiwan Drops Annual U.N. Bid as China Relations Warm. http://www.reauters.com (accessed October 10,2010)
Covertly encourage groups like the American Indian Movement (AIM), The Republic of Lakotah (RoL), and the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM); Provide anonymous funds and legal guidance.
Step 2: Sell much of the US treasuries to China’s businesses and people in exchange for CNY.24 Step 3: Reduce trade barriers with all countries, especially US; encourage building of factories closer to rural areas; promote Chinese selling US treasuries abroad in exchange for CNY.25 Step 4: Allow the market to determine the value of the CNY26; Pour money into the long term initiatives above. Step 5: Begin these intermediate initiatives:
Lift one child policy (better healthcare, pension plans should diminish booms). Encourage Chinese business involvement in Chinese government policy.27 Begin propaganda campaign revolving around China’s dominance and destiny. As needed, buy food from outlying countries (not NATO, EU, etc.). Monitor NATO’s and EU’s top military leaders; strategically position forces.28 Consolidate and expand East Asian organizations.
Step 6: When world, especially US, is economically dependent on China, begin these initiates:
Invade Taiwan and conquer it.
China’s foremost advantage over its rivals, especially the US, is the trade debt between them. China has been creating this advantage over the US since 1985.29 This alone creates a
24 China’s Burgeoning Foreign Reserves: Too Much of a Good Thing. http://www.knowledgeatwharton.com.cn (accessed October 10, 2010) 25 China’s Burgeoning Foreign Reserves: Too Much of a Good Thing. 26 China’s Burgeoning Foreign Reserves: Too Much of a Good Thing. 27 Susan L Shirk, China: Fragile Superpower (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) 28 Cyber-war With Chinese Characteristics. http://www.asiasentinel.com (accessed October 10, 2010) 29 Trade in Goods (Imports, Exports and Trade Balance) with China. http://www.census.gov (accessed October 10, 2010)
good deal of leverage for China over the US. Another aspect of the US economy that is an advantage to China is the US’s burgeoning budget deficit. China enables this weakness, making it an advantage for China, by purchasing US treasury bonds.30 Can a superpower really thrive by creating 14 trillion worth of money it does not have? Only by China’s generosity is this possible. China has also been collecting vast amounts of foreign currency reserves, primarily US dollars.31 Using its procured wealth, China is in a position to enact some much needed internal reforms. Step 1 in the previous list addresses most of China’s internal issues, which if not eased could derail China from its destined path. Fixing internal issues will also make investing in China more attractive to businesses abroad, creating further reliance on China. The last initiative in step 1 is intended to disrupt the US from the inside. Undoubtedly, should members of those groups assert themselves in grander ways, even if not through kinetic means, they will still be clumped in with the “terrorists” the US is already fighting, which will likely greatly intensify internal strife among American people. Once these initiatives have begun and preliminary funds earmarked, the next step in the plan can begin. Steps 2- 4 involve further heightening China’s wealth through manipulation of the global economy. These measures may affect the entire globe, even China, but no one will be hit harder than the US, and China, because of its vast reserves will come out the other side as the world’s leading superpower, whereby the intermediate initiatives can begin. The first two intermediate initiatives are meant to make the CCP appear to be weakening, but the next three indicate (only to readers of this report), that the CCP is in actuality secretly strengthening its agenda. Most significant is China’s monitoring of the top commander’s in NATO and the EU (and the top commanders of their respective member nations); in that, just before the actually military
30 David Lawder, Factbox-China, the U.S. Treasury's Top Foreign Creditor. http://www.reuters.com (accessed October 10, 2010). 31 David Lawder, Factbox-China, the U.S. Treasury's Top Foreign Creditor.
campaign is to begin, China will unleash a barrage of damning evidence that results in the ousting of the commanders, effectively nullifying any sort of continuity on China. Once all the pieces have fallen into place, when the world is at China’s mercy, China will claim that which is rightfully China’s, beginning with Taiwan. Thereafter, should the US insist on intervening, which would be just another case of US hubris, considering the fact that its citizens would be too war weary, it would be reeling from another economic slump, and the international community is not likely to support them, China and many of the members of the newly formed Asia Regional Organization, to include North Korea, will be prepared to meet them head on. It was WWII that took Taiwan away from China; it will be WWIII that sees it returned. And They US will be handed its first official defeat. OPPOSING VIEWS Some might suggest that China striving to be one One-China through achieving superpower status needlessly perpetuates conflict and that the peace that exists in the status quo is more desirable. They might go on to suggest that maintaining the status quo, even in the face of the century of shame, will benefit China far more than attempts to seize power.32 This report would respond by saying that such advice would never be heeded by the US. Why should China heed such advice? If the US, even though it has a relatively short history, had been invaded and piecemealed out to its invaders would the US not struggle against all odds to take back what it lost? Why should China, with centuries of history behind it, not do the same? This is exactly the sentiments the CCP hopes to foster in the US populace, by supporting groups like the AIM, RoL, and TNM. What if just one of these groups were able to make a significant gesture of solidarity and strength, claim its independence, and then request international recognition from the UN and other countries? The RoL has already done this, but
32 Kerry Brown, China and America: The Uses of Vulnerability.
has yet to build a strong government, economy, or infrastructure. If China was to support the RoL openly, as the US does Taiwan, what sort of resentment would be cast upon China? Why is it acceptable for the US to openly support Taiwan? In the event one of these groups did secede, the US would have a hard time justifying its intervention in the Taiwan-strait. China, in seeking to claim Taiwan, is merely asserting its claims to its territories. CONCLUSION For decades China was in a self-inflicted seclusion from the global economy swirling all around it. In an attempt to enhance the quality of life for Chinese people, the CCP opened China’s market to the world. Before too long, not only did China’s living standards increase, but China became an integral member of the world market, to the extent that, today, nations rely on China to sustain their own economies. Through the leadership of the CCP, China has been presented with a momentous opportunity to become the world’s leading superpower, thereby, enabling China to finally secure its identity as a single entity, including its islands, solidified borders, and interests abroad. The path China must walk on its way towards its destiny is not without its requirements and hindrances. Certain advantages must be seized, certain weaknesses in China’s enemies abused. However, due to the forward vision of the CCP, many of the advantages are already well in hand, and methods of exploitation of China’s enemies’ weaknesses long ago determined. The CCP, wisely adhering to the teachings of Sun Tzu, analyzed China and the enemies China would likely face while moving towards its destiny; thereafter, the CCP understood China’s strengths, China’s enemies’ weaknesses, and China’s exact steps to gory. The steps involve China subtly enhancing its strengths, exploiting its enemies’ weaknesses, and waging a war that the enemy never detects.
The current global stage and China’s primary rival, the US, could not make themselves more readily susceptible to China’s manipulation and influence. The developed nations of the world are focused on an unseen enemy and never think to consider that the enemy might be an enemy of old, like those enemies prior to the Cold War. The individual nations’ policymakers’ failings, especially the US’s, could not work more to the advantage of China, as their hubris and greed blinds them to and even reinforces a growing threat, China’s dominance. The CCP has anticipated these days for some time and has a step-by-step battle plan for ensuring that China becomes the world’s leading superpower, and that the China that the world recognizes is One-China. That plan will involve China addressing its self-imposed internal problems and then moving on to initiatives in the global arena, initiatives that guarantee the world’s reliance on China economically. With this leverage, China will at last be in a position to claim that which is rightfully China’s, beginning with Taiwan. The US would be risking a great deal in the event that it made good on its promise to assist Taiwan militarily. The consequences China would pour onto the US would cripple the US even further than it was already crippled. The battle would be effectively won before it ever even began.
THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK