Wednesday 1 February 2023
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China had presumed it could mess with the world, given what appeared an excruciatingly endless tolerance of the comity of nations. No more.


Gautam Mukherjee
Gautam Mukherjee
Commentator on political and economic affairs

It is true that things are in flux. It is difficult to get up off the ground. India and the world are trying to shake off the stupor that comes after a bone-jarring fall. There is a viral, contagious pandemic that has claimed almost a million victims around the globe, and still, after nearly a year, it rages on. Vaccines are still under preparation in many countries. Vaccines that one can only hope will work in the face of a constantly mutating COVID-19. Even when one recovers, there are long-term ravages to contend with. Almost every country, brought to a standstill with partially effective lockdowns, is in recession. But one belligerent country, China, where the coronavirus originated and proliferated first, is responsible for spreading it internationally.

The country is now a pariah as a consequence. It is a precipitate fall from grace. From an uneasily admired challenger to American dominance, with predatory pricing, bullying, spying, cyber-snooping as some of its stock-in-trade. But this brazen, bald-faced, bio-warfare, dressed up in “wolf warrior” garb, is seen as the last straw. The immensely delayed investigating team from the much compromised World Health Organisation (WHO), has been prevented from investigating. The 29-member team was left cooling its heels in Beijing for a month before returning home, none the wiser. It got nowhere near Wuhan where the pandemic originated.

China has even had the effrontery of opening another bio-warfare laboratory in Pakistan to develop Anthrax and like substances right in the middle of this pandemic. COVID-19 is, we now know, a lab-grown virus that has used the still incurable AIDS virus as a base, before building a superstructure unprecedented for its evil and varied potentials.

Red China, that once had a double-digit growth trajectory built on trade and exports has, in recent years, faltered to half its former growth rates. It has long been estimated that it needed a minimum of 8%, with its 1.4 billion population, in order to stave off civil unrest and chronic food shortages. But, for some years now, as the global economy went into recession after the of 2008, Red China has only been growing at a nominal rate of under 6%. The food shortages have already come. Worse is likely to follow.

In the same period, probably to supportits considerable infra-building capacities that had no more work to do domestically, it has undertaken an expansionist foreign policy.

This has preyed on small economies with grandoise infrastructure projects, paid for with Chinese loans at commercial rates. China has signed on the infrastructure built or under construction, plus the territory, mineral rights and assets of these small countries as collateral. It could be the East India Company all over again, except this is the 21st century and not the 18th.

China has simultaneously gone on a strenuous military muscle-building spree, designed, to rival that of the United States. All of this has, at 6% or lower growth rates, in an ostensible $ 12 trillion economy, led to dangerous internal and external indebtedness. There is little or no return on investment to show for it. How bad the financial situation is is difficult to say. It is an opaque economy window-dressed to serve its purposes.

The pandemic unleashed on the world was probably designed as the coup de grace. China hoped to pick up the best of everything everywhere for a pittance as the world lay supine. But it has not gone according to plan for Beijing.

Like Germany before, through not one but two World Wars, China persists in the myth-making of its recently acquired greatness, if not invincibility. Times have changed, the world has moved on, as they are saying to Daniel Craig in the 25th iteration of James Bond, to hit our screens shortly. President Xi Jinping must have No Time To Die screened for his entertainment.   

In 1914, militarism consisted of stacking up more armaments than the targets, combined with a solid will to fight. Even a megalomaniacal desire to dominate. It ended up very wide off the mark, bogged down in trench warfare, that killed millions to bullets and squalor alike.

In 1939, it was, once again, pretty much the same thing but with tanks and better fighter planes in the Luftwaffe. There was immense aerial bombing. There was a charismatic Fuhrer. Both times, Germany was devastated and crushed by the very countries it sneered at as weak, spineless and unprepared.

This time, the villain is Red China. But times have changed, with a built in checkmate to the chess board. In an environment bristling with nuclear weapons, the shooting wars have to be necessarily circumspect. Like an intended duel to the death, the protagonists will have to make do with a sabre cut or two, rather than any true thrusts to the heart.

Mutual self-destruction is not a viable option, no matter how ambitious a country or its dictator might be. But then China apparently likes following the Art of War and the hokey-bunkum it preaches.

What might work when used sparingly as a mind game, cannot survive the uncensored information sharing and scrutiny of the internet and social media.

The Art Of War in this context has been reduced to shadow-boxing puppets for the entertainment of opium addled users lying on their wooden pillows. But this is not turn of the 19th century Shanghai, however picaresque.

China still hopes threats and deception will work as well as bullets, and why not? Have they not yielded substantial results already? They have scared thousands of square kilometres of territory out of India, captured Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet. This was Chairman Mao’s work in the first flush after 1949. The world was tired after WWII, and probably couldn’t be bothered to deal with him.

But Xi Jinping, leader for life of both the CCP and the PLA and all organisational machinery in China, cannot do likewise. He cannot take and keep the South China Sea, the lands its wants along the LaC with India, in the captured territories of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, from Japan, and in some 17 other places and countries where China has invented supposedly  ancient territorial  claims. His map wars are comical travesties. He cannot even bribe the limited number of weak vassal states enough, because China does not have the money. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), President Xi’s pointless flagship project, is facing a funds starvation too.

China’s delusions of grandeur and lust for lebensraum are just as poisonous as any dreamt of by Germany in 1914 or 1939. But it is the retrofitted jet black-haired President in his late sixties, that is  day-dreaming them now.

Perhaps Red China has been spoilt and led to its imminent great fall by the West, Iran’s “Great Satan”, after all. As the $1 trillion manufacturing underbelly of the developed world, it has been indulged from the Nixon-Kissinger led 1970s.  

On China’s part, there is a tendency to believe its own propaganda. The West, the CCP has long believed, is far too decadent to upset its own apple cart. Successive American Presidents since Nixon, have, after all, left China well enough alone, and constantly fed its vanity.

President Donald Trump, therefore, must be an exception, Red China hopes he’ll soon be gone. But if he wins a second term, will he persist and hold his present confrontationist course?

There will be dire consequences for this latest caper of spreading a lab-grown pandemic. Red China will be crippled economically and physically so that it no longer poses a threat to anybody, let alone America. It is unlikely to survive another decade with its present borders. That has been China’s fate in the past and the future beckons an encore. A balkanisation plan is ready and raring to go at the Pentagon.

This is also where India comes in. For its own survival, it cannot run away from the battle. It is urgent that India must get a predatory China and its satellite Pakistan off its back. We have reached a tipping point, and this is the event coming up must decide the future. India is ready because this showdown has been brewing ever since 1962. For this decisive change to happen, India must effect a military victory on both the LaC as well as the LoC and its international borders with Pakistan. This action, albeit in slow motion, is unfolding already, with the covert and powerful military backing of the US and its allies, including Israel.

The Quad with Japan, Australia and the US is about to be formalised. Russia is very much with India still and will conduct joint naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal shortly.

The Andamans will permanently monitor the Malacca Straits, a key choke point for China, with a Quad base there. American bases at Guam and Diego Garcia are on full alert will play their part.  The US carrier fleets near Taiwan and the South China Sea are also ready for combat. The Indian, American, British and French navies are all in the Indian Ocean and the Chinese environs.

The military details of quite how this victory against China and Pakistan will be executed is best not speculated upon here. But it is preordained by the powers that be. It will become part of military history in India and abroad for decades to come.

China will not win this one any more than it has failed to win in any confrontation with India after 1962. The reason is there is a critical mass in India’s ability to resist invasion built over the years. Its diplomatic linkages presently are at their zenith too.

The most glaring weakness of the PLA, already exposed, is that front-line Chinese troops are not very good soldiers. They don’t have their heart in the fight. They are mostly forced conscripts who do not want to die.

The career Chinese generals and politicians might want it to be different, but they too don’t seem to leave their arm-chairs. Morale is low on the Chinese side. The only thing rising in decibels is the propaganda from Global Times, a Red Chinese mouthpiece, and ever ruder threats from Chinese leaders and diplomats.

So let us fast forward beyond the confrontations to come very soon, and visualise what a win against Pakistan and China simultaneously is going to do for India.

In the international arena, India will be seen as St George that has valiantly and single-handedly sent the dragon packing, without, this time, in its 21st-century version of the medieval tale, slaying it outright. It will have won a proxy war for all the Western powers and Russia too.

The Chinese will experience, once again, within a century, the agonies of  an incredible loss of face.  This one debacle, in Ladakh,  Siachen, Akshai Chin, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan – will see to it.

And the main reason is because Red China, with all its military equipment, does not know how to fight a war. It has also miscalculated its own credibility and standing in the global community. It is isolated and desperate. Its vaunted trade clout is melting away and being taken up by a group of nations that are not menacing anyone.

Longer-term consequences for China will see Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia being hived off as truly autonomous regions, their integrity guaranteed by the US. Taiwan will be recognised everywhere as a separate country. Hong Kong will become independent. Tibet will be freed. The Balkanisation plan at the Pentagon is serious business. India will enter into a golden period, economically, diplomatically and technologically, in harmony with all the worthwhile nations of the world. This epic military fight with China and Pakistan, a High Noon moment, is the golden key to India’s future.



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