Rise of the Greater Chinese Empire

Russian borders are indefensible. Wherever you look at the map there are no natural obstacles that would hamper a military advance. Historically, every major advance that threatened Russia’s existence (the Poles in 1610, Napoleon in 1812, Hitler in 1941) came from the Northern European Plain. This is why Stalin was so keen on seizing Central Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War and why Putin has called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Russia has lost a lot of its strategic depth since 1991 and now it could potentially lose Ukraine. __How to Invade and Conquer Russia

Whimsical Future Map of Siberia

Whimsical Future Map of Siberia

The map is whimsical because it is only China that has its mind set on taking Siberia from Russia.

Beijing could use Russia’s own strategy: hand out passports to sympathizers in contested areas, then move in militarily to “protect its citizens.” The Kremlin has tried that in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and most recently the Crimea, all formally part of other post-Soviet states, but controlled by Moscow. And if Beijing chose to take Siberia by force, the only way Moscow could stop would be using nuclear weapons. __China Will Reclaim Siberia

Russia and China are both essentially third world nations, when you step off the beaten track. But for all practical purposes, China is moving forward, and Russia is falling ever farther backward.

Russia only respects the language of strength. Nothing else works.

Russia will never be able to compete with China, financially, economically nor militarily. Firstly, Russian state control of its Far Eastern territories is weak and Chinese are taking advantage of it very well. Scarce population in the area is mostly to be blamed, but widespread corruption and general social malaise are also at play. Declining native Russian population facilitates Chinese buyout even more. Moreover, Moscow also becomes increasingly dependent on China on its hard currency inflow – China has already taken over Germany as Russia’s biggest partner, whereas Russia is only on the eighth place in China’s trade balance and fifth in energy trading. With Russian physical presence virtually vanishing year by year, Far Eastern District, and in the end all of Siberia might become a Chinese dominion … __ The Dragon Swallows the Bear

To China, Siberia is merely a part of China that it has not yet taken control over.

“The Chinese are coming to Russia and remaining here, they receive Russian passports, and they bring their relatives. Many Chinese marry Russians. And this is a fact,” he says. Russian women do so because “Chinese men do not drink, they work hard, and they bring their money home.”

Given the declining number of ethnic Russians east of the Urals and the increasing population of China, “in the not distant future, Chinese will become the ethnic majority in these territories,” he writes. And while they will have “Russian passports and their children will speak Russian perfectly … they will be Chinese.

… if these events were to occur in Siberia and the Far East, it is entirely possible that the Chinese and China would win and that these areas would be irretrievably lost to Russia “forever.” __Putin Shows China How to Take Siberia Away from Russia

While Putin is distracted by his war against Eastern Europe, the Russian Far East (RFE) is closer and of far more immediate value to Beijing, than to Moscow.

… for Moscow, the RFE [Russian Far East] is a distant underperforming colony that is gradually slipping into economic and demographic irrelevance. China needs an outlet for simmering rural unrest, and it has historically had designs on the Russian Far East.

… The RFE’s poor manufacturing base, crumbling physical infrastructure, high transportation costs, and small natural markets discourage local enterprise….

…The RFE is Russia’s Wild West, but post-Soviet Russia doesn’t have the patience, time, manpower, or money to wait for Manifest Destiny to take hold—nor to exploit the RFE’s superabundance of natural resources, including timber, oil and gas, minerals, and fish. It’s no wonder that the region’s population has declined by 10 percent over the past decade.

…The endless horizons of the RFE would create new opportunities for land ownership for tens of millions of unemployed Chinese rural dwellers. Unlike Russia, China has the ingrained entrepreneurial spirit, as well as the incentive and cash, to make the best of the Russian Far East. The RFE’s natural resource wealth—especially oil and gas on Sakhalin—would provide Beijing with a significant measure of energy-security comfort. Moving in on Vladivostok, Russia’s only temperate Pacific port, would at once end Russian trade in the Pacific; terminate any lingering relevance for Russia’s Pacific navy; and enable China to pose an immediate threat to Japan. Russia’s focus, though, long ago shifted west, just as its influence in East Asia has long been on the wane. __ Selling Off Siberia

The USSR secretly ceded territory to China. The same thing seems to be happening in a de facto manner under Putin.

During the age of European colonial expansion in the 19th century, China was forced to cede the Far East and parts of Siberia to Russia.

During the last century, in 1960s and early 1970s, there were border tensions and even a number of armed clashes between China and the Soviet Union.

Small parts of Russian territory were then quietly ceded to China. While the two countries recently agreed to accept the current borders, China claims much larger chunks of what is now Russia.

As if to “settle” these claims by osmosis, Chinese settlers have been steadily moving into Russia’s remote, economically depressed and underpopulated regions.

By asserting its historic sovereignty over Crimea, Russia has set a dangerous precedent for the Chinese as they look over their northern border. __ China Playing Long Game Against Russia’s Short

While Putin’s attention is directed toward territories to Russia’s immediate west, China is patiently making its play for Siberia.

China is breaking Russia’s control over the gas basins of Central Asia systematically and ruthlessly. Turkmenistan’s gas used to flow North, hostage to prices set by Gazprom. It now flows East.

… the Chinese have never forgiven Russia for seizing East Siberia under the Tsars, the “lost territories”. They want their property back, and they are getting it back by ethnic resettlement across the Amur and the frontier regions …

Russia’s engineering skills have atrophied. Industry has been hollowed out by the Dutch Disease: the curse of over-valued currency, and reliance on commodities.

He jumped the gun in Ukraine, striking before the interim government had committed any serious abuses or lost global goodwill, a remarkably sloppy and impatient Putsch for a KGB man. He took Germany for a patsy, and took China for granted. He has gained Crimea but turned the Kremlin into a pariah for another decade, if not a generation, and probably lost Ukraine forever. It is a remarkably poor trade. __ Russia Caught in Pincers

Putin’s Ukraine gambit promises to rebound against Russia far more than it has to this point.

Russian soldiers are regularly captured (dead and alive) and presented on Ukrainian TV but this is ignored and dismissed by Russian media as more insidious NATO propaganda. Those Russians familiar with their own history who point out the current government propaganda in Russia is similar to what went on in 1939 and 1941 are condemned as traitors. But it is a fact that in 1939 the communist Soviet Union signed a peace treaty with Nazi government of Germany and overnight Germany went from threat to valued ally according to Soviet media. That switched again in mid-1941 when Germany broke the treaty and invaded the Soviet Union. But during the time the treaty was in force Russian invaded Poland, the Baltic States and Finland. __Russian Propaganda Positively Orwellian

Until Putin focused his forces on his western front, Russian strategists had been preparing for a confrontation with China in the East.

Russia is developing its general purpose forces with a clear view of potential confrontation with China. In 2010, Russia established the Unified Strategic Command “Vostok” (Eastern Military District) on the basis of the Pacific Fleet and the Far Eastern and Siberian Military Districts, making it the largest force in the Russian Armed Forces.

… Russia’s defense capabilities with regard to China are based on nuclear weapons, including tactical ones. The Chinese factor can probably explain many aspects of Russian activities pertaining to the strategic arms control and reduction policy. Russia declines to discuss any cuts in strategic nuclear arsenals with the United States without the other nuclear powers joining in. It does not disclose the composition of its tactical nuclear forces and has no intention to reduce them. Moreover, it invests large amounts of money in their development…

… The Chinese threat, however hypothetical, is one of the key factors underlying Russia’s foreign and defense policies. Russia’s geographical position is such that military-political confrontation with China would have the most gruesome consequences and entail huge risks for Moscow … __ Sum Total Russian Fears

Russia is attempting to accumulate a large arsenal of updated weaponry, but the sad fact remains that the human infrastructure is unprepared for a modern war on any front at all — except against the very weakest of foes.

The ethnic Chinese portion of the Russian population is growing more quickly than is generally understood in western circles.

… While a Chinese military threat to Russia appears remote, Chinese demographic expansion is seen as a real danger.

… the Chinese [are] the fourth biggest ethnic group in this country after Russians (104.1 million), Tatars (7.2 million), and Ukrainians (5.1 million)—all indigenous inhabitants of Russia. More than three-fourths of Chinese immigrants have settled down in Siberia and the Far East…

Russia’s main Pacific port and naval base of Vladivostok, once closed to foreigners, today is bristling with Chinese markets, restaurants, and stores. The former mayor of Vladivostok, Viktor Cherepkov, estimates that Chinese businessmen control 30 to 40 percent of the economy in the Far East and 100 percent of its light industry. __ Worldpress.org/Asia

Russians appear content to live with a slow-motion stealth invasion of Siberia by China, but Chinese strategists may well be planning for a quick, decapitation strike of Moscow to allow an annexation of Siberia without a large-scale nuclear exchange.

There must be a war with Russia. Though at that time, China has become an advanced power in navy, army, air and space forces, it is nevertheless the first war against a nuclear power. Therefore, China should be well prepared in nuclear weapons, such as the nuclear power to strike Russia from the front stage to the end. When the Chinese army deprives the Russians’ ability to counter strike, they will come to realize that they can no longer match China in the battlefield. They can do nothing but to hand over their occupied lands _The Coming 6 Wars of China

Putin is making such a future attack by China much easier, by handing over production of its most critical military guidance systems, rockets, turbine engines (for boats, helicopters, and fighter jets), and instrument systems to Chinese factories. These are all systems formerly manufactured by Ukraine — a nation that Vladimir Putin is in the process of laying waste to.

Recently, Russia had reduced weapons sales to China due to China’s annoying habit of stealing Russian technology. But as the relative advantage in weapons technology shifts, it is Russia that is looking to buy weapons from China.

Russia may now be losing the technological edge that has made it the United States’ main competitor for decades.

While most Chinese arms are reverse engineered from Russian designs, many new features China has added on its own do not exist in Russia. Moscow may in the future need to look to China to stay up to speed.

Consider China’s Type 054A guided missile frigates. These employ a vertical rocket-launching system that imitates that used by the US Navy, to fire missiles based on Russian blueprints. But Russia lacks the capability to develop an advanced vertical launch system, and the country could benefit from introducing Chinese Type 054A frigates.

Another example is the main battle tanks used by the People’s Liberation Army and Russian Army. Many analysts have pointed out that China’s Type 99 tank is for the most part an upgraded version of the Russian T-72. Yet while China did introduce a Russian 125mm main gun for its Type 99 tanks, some western technologies have also been used. The fire control system used is based on Israel’s Merkava tank.

The Electronically Scanned Array radar equipped by China’s J-10B and J-20 fighters is another advanced military technology that Russia lacks. __Russia to Buy Weapons from China

Current Russia :: China cooperation should be seen as a matter of temporary convenience. In the long term, the two nations are on a collision course.

China has deliberately promoted the migration of its citizens to the Russian Far East, fuelling concerns that by as soon as 2025, it will be possible to start talking about “China’s Siberia.” __China Colonizes and Incorporates Siberia

China is the only conceivable winner of Putin’s aggression against Eastern Europe. Russia is the biggest loser. The bear will have no friends to assist it, when the dragon turns on its soft underbelly with bared fangs.

It is the worst possible outcome of the Putin disaster — equipping China with Siberia’s resources so as to menace the globe for the next century. It is the road that Putin chose to travel, heedless of the devastation to Russia in the end.

What you are seeing now is just the beginning. While Putin plots his war on Europe his own nation is rotting from within, and his “best friend” is biding its time and waiting for the best time to strike the decapitating blow.

Bonus:

Meanwhile, Chinese moms are hedging their bets on the future, flocking to the US to give birth to their offspring. Here’s why:

Pregnant Chinese moms are flocking stateside to give birth, lured by rules that grant American citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil. A booming birth tourism industry has sprouted from coast to coast to cater to growing interest — in 2012, about 10,000 Chinese women gave birth in the U.S., more than double the 4,200 in 2008, according to Chinese state media.

Many of the families want an American kid because a foreign passport could be the family’s ticket out of China if they grow weary of pollution or food safety scares. President Xi Jinping’s widespread anti-corruption campaign has given rich Chinese yet another reason to be on edge.

“If things become economically or politically uncertain in one’s country of origin, the children have a place to come to,” said Leti Volpp, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The children can “then sponsor their parents when they turn 21.”

The desire to leave China is especially pronounced among the wealthy. Almost two-thirds of Chinese with more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) in the bank have emigrated, or are planning to, according to a Hurun report released last year. __Money.cnn

Chinese are spreading out to Siberia, Africa, North America, Australia, and other parts — looking for cleaner air and water, and more opportunities to exercise their unfettered ambitions and free expression. But Siberia is China’s backyard, so to speak. Lebensraum on the near frontier. A Novo-China in the process of becoming wholly China.

We should not forget the eternal Chinese tendency for the empire to divide into warring fiefdoms. But that will not happen soon enough to save Russia its painful losses.

More: The intriguing “immigrant-investor” programs for those who wish to reside officially in multiple countries — just in case.

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3 Responses to Rise of the Greater Chinese Empire

  1. GoneWithTheWind says:

    There is no way to “cleanly” conquer a large nuclear power. China cannot “take” Russia just as Russia cannot “take” China. There are only two ways China can take Russia or vice versa and that is: 1. Destroy their nuclear weapons first somehow. 2. Be a crazy suicidal leader who doesn’t care that their own country gets destroyed as well as the country they attack. I just don’t see either happening. There is a third possibility and that is an accidental attack that would end with destruction of each country and perhaps the rest of the world as well. That has always been the worry that keeps people awake at night.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Gone With The Wind says: “I just don’t see [that] happening.”

      That is the interesting thing about human prediction: We love to do it but we are very bad at it. We actually don’t see most things happening which eventually come to pass, except perhaps death and taxes.

      The devil of plausible prediction is in the details. In the case of Russia and China, Russia is in the process of handing over the keys to its military technology — including its nuclear technology — because it can no longer get its sophisticated high tech weapons systems from Ukraine (for obvious reasons).

      Given the hacking prowess of China and its ability to reverse engineer anything within 50,000 miles, it is easy to see that Russia’s nuclear systems will soon not work unless China wants them to work. As we have been saying for years, that is the danger to Russia of relying over-much on one potentially hostile rival, and making everyone else into enemies.

      Importantly, China does not want “Russia.” China only wants Siberian resources and Siberian locations for military uses — including ports in the Sea of Okhotst and real estate across the Bering Sea from the US. Arctic oil resources may also come in handy over the next hundred years or so, once they learn to drill on the deep sea-bottoms far beneath the thickening ice.

      • Abelard Lindsey says:

        That’s right. The Chinese do not want anything west of, say, the Urals. They might not even want that large plain that’s east of the Ural mountains either. The Chinese have a history of taking lightly populated regions near their historic homeland. They do not take regions that are heavily populated by “the other”.

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