• 15 Jun, 2024

The China Question

The China Question

There is more to Galwan Valley clash than you reckon

As India comes to terms with the highest number of Indian Army soldiers killed in action since the Kargil war, near the Galwan Valley patrolling point 14, the question comes up again, how do you deal with a bully. Even though we know that the enemy may have suffered even greater number of casualties, the question remains.

The question is an old one, and the answer is as old as the question. The only way to tackle a bully is by confronting him, by standing up to him.

The bully, by definition, is one who intimidates those whom he considers weaker than him, and those who do not stare back at him. This psychological edge is important to him. As soon as the bully is confronted, he is thrown into confusion. In such a situation, he either overreacts or retreats.

What the bully would choose to do out of the above two choices would depend upon his mental make-up. It is, therefore, important to understand the bully, i.e., do a purva paksha.

The mental make-up of China the Bully is conditioned by the following:

  1. Confucianism, leading to the Middle Kingdom complex;
  2. Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’, leading to a tactical matrix that puts greater emphasis on non-combat activities;
  3. Communism, which gives it the unique mental make-up that anyone that is not with China is necessarily against it;
  4. Commercial Doctrine, that continues to be mercantilist, with ruthless exploitation of every commercial opportunity, with no regard for a rules-based international order;
  5. Military Doctrine, which puts great emphasis on 4th and 5th generation warfare, involving Psycholgical warfare, Media warfare, and even Legal warfare.

Chinese rise to great power was based on:

  1. US elites’ greed for more profits, basically a betrayal of the principles of free markets, labour rights, free speech, and free movement, to shift the entire manufacturing capacity and IPR risks to a communist regime with an imperialist, mercantilist, and expansionist doctrine, while being communist and authoritarian — cheap, bonded labour, in alliance with the China elites. Besides, the West also outsourced its universities to the Left.
  2. US establishment’s mulish foreign policy priorities. Their obsession with controlling the middle-east, and counting Russia as their enemy, while ignoring the elephant in the room.
  3. Unwillingness of the international order to call the China bluff when it continued to pursue its strategic objectives of achieving great power status, encompassing mercantilist, territorial, and imperialist policies.   

The Middle Kingdom Complex of China is a unique superiority complex that it has inherited from Confucian times. In this world view, China is at the centre of the world, as the Emperor is a regent of the divine, with all other nations in a graded hierarchy below it. The British have still not forgotten the elaborate custom of kow-tow that was required to be performed by every foreign dignitary visiting the Qing Emperor. The Middle Kingdom Complex has also generated the unique centralising character of the Chinese political and bureaucratic system, with Peking/Beijing becoming the permanent seat of celestial power, whether the Mongols, Manhurians, or the Communists ruled over it.

The experience of near permanent war postures in the millennium before common era also resulted in the famous Sun Tzu doctrine that lays great emphasis on winning wars without going to battle. It seems to anticipate the 4th and 5th generation warfare of the 20th and 21st century. Every action of China, in every field, practises the deceit and deception implicit in the Sun Tzu doctrine. The best example of China almost winning the war without firing a bullet is how it fooled the West to shift nearly all its manufacturing capacity to China, even shutting its eyes to blatant intellectual property theft, violation of labour rights. It was a classic capitalism alliance with authoritarianism with total disregard to free society principles. To cap it, the Left movement, so discredited after the collapse of Soviet Union, fooled an entire generation into accepting globalisation, whose greatest beneficiary was not China, but the China elites.

Add to it the imperialism, mercantilism, and academic hegemony that China was allowed to exercise in the name of globalisation, and the circle was complete.

Having done a basic analysis of China and its opaque morbidities, it is easy to see how a virus was allowed to develop into a pandemic. The question that stares us in the face now is how to counter this bully, that threatens to completely derail the rules-based international order by exporting diseases, intimidating neighbours with territorial grab, amassing a military totally disproportionate to its defence requirements, and birthing a system of mercantilism symbolised by OBOR.

Effective counter to this newly attempted Pax Sinica necessarily has to address the understanding that we have developed. A bully has to be looked into the eye:

  1. Mercantilism: Commercial targeting is important. Investments must be drawn out of China, and its exports must be curtailed. This would hit the Chinese elites as Chinese businesses are controlled by the oligarchs of the CPC. The internal dissensions would check the unbridled Pax Sinica being pursued by Xi Jinping. The setback would also keep any future leader honest too. OBOR is a reasonable failure. The anti-China grouping must ensure it becomes a spectacular failure.
  2. Strategic: The Indo-Pacific strategy of US should be whole-heartedly embraced by India. India’s hesitation should now vanish, after the Galwan Valley incident. India should be ready to take the plunge now the way Australia has done.
  3. Imperialism: India should leverage the Indian Ocean and Malacca Straits advantage. Even if the Ten Degree Channel in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands area has to be shut for the Chinese Oil Tankers, the option should be made live.
  4. Communism: an urgent programme for deradicalising the world universities, and purging them of Leftist influence must be made into an international programme. China cannot be allowed to use the tools of the free world to subvert the free world.
  5. Military: The world has to synchronise its military might and engage China in a few real skirmishes. Galwan is a good beginning because it would have dented the fiction of invincible China with its high Chinese casualties.

If you are not aware, let me bring you up to speed. The long term plan of CCP is to link up Tibet/Aksai chin with Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan in order to discount the Indian threat to Gilgit Baltistan forever. So the entire Trans-Ladakh range tract, or the Shyok Valley region, is the ultimate target of CCP, and thereby the PLA, which is an arm of the CCP. Once you understand that basic idea, you can figure out that the DSDBO road is the greatest strategic threat to this strategic objective. The threat can be countered most effectively only in the Galwan Valley, because that is the closest point to the DSDBO road that China has. Pangong Tso and Hotsprings are just diversionary moves. That is why the action at Galwan Valley. Now that we know that Galwan water flow was being blocked, we can safely surmise that the only reason would be to facilitate some kind of construction downstream. It would, therefore, be important for India to deny China that luxury. Let us be proud that for the second time since 1986 (first being Doklam), India pre-empted a major Chines strategic move. I leave the rest to your imagination.

This is by no means a comprehensive catalogue of descriptions and prescriptions, but the classic advice to tackle the bully is exactly what Sri Krishṇa prescribed in the Mahabharata: attempt reconciliation but after being prepared for war.

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