Forum: Are China And The US Headed For War?

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Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question
: Are China And The US Headed For War?

Jeffrey Avalon Friedberg: War?

No.

One thing China is not: is stupid.

China can do much better on its Long March by simply stripping Earth away from the Americans, one sliver at a time, piece by piece, bit by bit.

They can do this in terms of physically taking things, such as our technology, American real estate, or by extending influence, as in Latin America, and actually being welcomed in.

Then, one day, poof! They are the majority—at a pinnacle of the majors—and are in control.

In this non-nuclear manner they can preserve a lot of real estate and personnel. I mean—none of the Chinese leaders want to live underground or in a nuclear cook-oven, am I right?

Right.

In the interim—there’s no rush. And it’s just a game. When the time comes, they can win. And nobody—like maybe the Rooskies—will be able to step in and take over the hand they are playing.

In a nuclear war with the USA they will be degraded militarily, financially, and morally, to a point where they will probably be overthrown by a sea of people who just want to eat….

…And who want to have some fun in life and living.

Rob Miller: To answer this question properly, it’s helpful to know something about Chinese history and culture.

China has always been more concerned with keeping the quong fai (foreign devils) out then in expanding it’s own territory. That’s what the Great Wall was all about. Like Japan, China essentially was a closed society for centuries.

In the 1400s, China had the greatest seagoing fleet in the world, up to 3,500 ships at its peak.  Some of them were five times the size of the ships being built in Europe at the time. But by 1525, all of China’s “Treasure Fleet” ships had been destroyed — burned in their docks or left to rot by the government as the Ming Dynasty entered a 200-year-long period of isolationist slumber.

That ended with the Opium wars of the mid-nineteenth century, referred to quite accurately by the Chinese as ‘the years of humiliation. Essentially, the Chinese wanted the very lucrative opium trade the British enjoyed stopped. The British actually went to war in 1839 to force the Chinese to keep importing this poison, and ended up with China ceding the Hong Kong island to Britain as well as ‘treaty ports’ at Shanghai, Canton, Ningpo (Ningbo), Foochow (Fuzhou), and Amoy. France secured concessions on the same terms as the British, in treaties of 1843 and 1844.

The second Opium War, fought from 1856–1860 actually increased the concessions to Britain and other European countries as well as the amount of the trade in opium. Russia also seized Chinese territory. And the hideous invasion of China by Japan was a major disaster. Aside from the loss of territory, the Japanese committed major atrocities.An untold number of Chinese civilians were literally murdered, whole cities were destroyed, thousands of Chinese young women (as well as Koreans and Filipinas) were kidnapped and forced into prostitution as ‘comfort girls’ for the Japanese military, and bizarre ‘experiments’ on human beings were conducted, especially in Manchuria (Manchuko).

My point here is that all this emphasized something to the Chinese…that foreigners were not to be trusted, and neither were China’s corrupt governments. Most Americans underestimate the enormous achievement of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in overcoming all this history and opening up China again.

I’ve been fascinated with Chinese culture for quite some time. In fact, I almost married a delightful Chinese girl who lived in Queens, the only woman I ever seriously considered marrying until I met my beloved. Among other things I learned from my Chinese girlfriend was how to play the Chinese game of Go. Understanding Go is a key to understanding how the Chinese think.

Western tactics are based on chess, which involves ‘killing off’ your opponent’s power pieces, occupying territory on the board and surrounding the king to the point that any move the King makes results in the king’s ‘death.’

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In Go, the idea is to not to occupy territory but to control access to territory, to make your opponent’s ‘soldiers’ useless. There are no power pieces per se.

That’s what the Chinese have been doing for some time, with trade agreements and lately, using a strategy of loans to both developing and developed countries like South Africa. It works like this…the Chinese loan money to these countries in exchange for trade concessions, with economically or strategically  beneficial resources as collateral. When the loans (which deliberately have terms very difficult for these countries to meet) are defaulted on, China gets control, sometimes with an additional loan as a sweetener. These are Go tactics.

Are the U.S. and China headed for war? Possible, but I doubt it.

For a quarter of a century, China enjoyed dealing with three of the worst U.S. presidents in history. The corrupt Bill Clinton, who the Chinese bought via a one million dollar loan after he lost the New Hampshire primary via his China connection, his  old friends and campaign donors the Riyadis. And then there was the Clueless George W. Bush, and the openly anti-American Barack Hussein Obama.

All of them allowed the Chinese as well as politically friendly American companies to export jobs wholesale to China while allowing cheap Chinese goods to flood the market. Both Clinton and Obama also cut back hugely on America’s military. Clinton even  used heavy Democratic party donor and defense contractor Loral to funnel advanced military technology to the Chinese as fast as he could sign the paperwork. Most military analysts estimate that the Chinese made a Great Leap Forward of at least two decades in military technology during the eight years of Clinton’s two terms.

A big part of the recent tension has to do with the fact that  the Chinese, having grown used to pushovers like this are now faces with an entirely different president in Donald J. Trump. The concept of intellectual piracy, copyrights and patents are foreign to the Chinese. They now have a president to deal with who insists on their honoring these precepts, and who is willing to use tariffs and even sanctions to change the unequal trade deals China has enjoyed for years.

What the Chinese are doing now, I think, is circling the wagons. Many of the armaments, like shore to ship missiles are designed to be defensive in nature, and it’s worth remembering that China has only engaged in wars on their borders, in places like northern India, Tibet and North Korea. Even their new island fortresses in the China Sea could reasonably be seen as defensive in nature.

I see Xi’s new role as emperor ( and I wouldn’t call it anything else) and its more recent totalitarian conduct on the home front to be troubling signs, even something of a throwback to the bad old days of the Cultural Revolution, but not necessarily signs of upcoming hostilities. China needs the American market badly, a war would gain them nothing and might even result in domestic turbulence as jobs disappear and domestic supplies of staples increase in price.

Another sign is that Chinese with money have heavily invested here in America, especially in real estate. They understand that if their money’s here, the Chinese government can’t confiscate it. Remember what I wrote earlier about the basic Chinese skeptical attitude towards their government.

Don Surber:Red China and the USA are in a trade war and have been for 20 years. The Bushes and Clinton allowed Red China to steal technology, manipulate currency, and otherwise wreak havoc with trade.

The weasels who call this free trade are traitors. Let’s look at the facts. For every $1 we sell in goods to China, we buy $4 worth of their goods. We are a thoroughbred running against a plow horse and losing because we are hobbled by environmental, labor, and other regulations.

Consider coal mining. The nation’s coal mines recorded 15 deaths last year, including eight in West Virginia.

According to Xinhua, the number of deaths in 2017 in China’s coal sector was 375.

We finally have a president who is a master of negotiating and an astute student of Sun Tzu. Scot Adams of Dilbert fame calls President Donald John Trump a wizard. Everything you know about President Trump through the media is a lie because he throws them off scent every step of the way.

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The Chinese cannot fathom him. They are communists, a sheeplike people with great credentials but no intellectual curiosity. Their ideology requires a conformity that would be amusing if not for the deaths of tens of milions in the name of their religion. Muslims are nowhere near as bloody.

President Trump is an entrepreneur who thinks outside of the box. He lives to negotiate. He already has plucked the Korean Peninsula from Red China. Korea has been a protectorate of China going back 1,400 years although the Japanese held it from 1910 to 1945. (You could say World War II began before World War I.)

There is no doubt that Kim Jong Un is on our side. He is dismantling his nuke program. Compare how healthy and alert the last three hostages Kim gave us compared to the condition of Otto Warmbier. Something happened between June 2017 and May 2018 that turned Kim around. Just what, we can only guess at. Why, we know. President Trump flipped Kim, likely on a personal level as he did with Kanye West.

The answer to your question is yes, we are in a war — a trade war – and we have turned the tide. Chairman Xi should surrender now while his economy is damaged but still alive.

Iran is on deck, and Russia needs to clean up its act.

Meanwhile, the European Union wants to cut a deal. Mexico is cutting a deal. Japan and South Korea have made their deals.

While he is doing all this, President Trump also has to deal with a witch hunt, work on immigration, and get his judges and justices confirmed.

He still finds time to golf on weekends.

Doug Hagin:Very doubtful. Not anytime soon anyway. And our currently having a strong president is a large deterrent to China. Another reason 2020 is so important.

David Schuler: here’s more than one answer to that question. The first answer is that we’ve been at war with China for at least the last 20 years and maybe as long as the last 70 years. For the last several decades American companies, looking at a market of a billion prospective customers with dollars signs in their eyes, have convinced the politicians of both political parties that we’re not. You need only look at the precipitous drop in U. S. manufacturing employment after the admission of China to the WTO, pictured below:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=kRPz

to recognize that as nothing short of economic warfare. Additionally, if you take the various pronouncements of Chinese officials on trade and foreign policy it is quite clear that they view them as zero-sum games, transactions with one winner and one loser.

The other answer is that we need not be headed for war with China. It would be a choice not an inevitability. If the Chinese leadership realized just how deadly war with the U. S. could be for them and everything and everybody they know, there would be no chance of war. But there are so many saber-rattlers on both sides of the relationship I think there is a genuine danger of war with China.

Laura Rambeau Lee: Yes, it appears China’s goal is to draw us into a war and we better be prepared. We are late in realizing just how great a threat China is to the west and the free world. We must secure our alliances and assure them we will be there to fight with them to oppose this existential threat. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Well, there it is!

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