Highly placed members of the Chinese military are urging communist party leadership to attack the US Pacific fleet in a surprise “Pearl Harbor” style attack.
“The United States is most afraid of death,” said Rear Admiral Luo Yuan on December 20, 2018, to an audience in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. “We now have Dong Feng-21D, Dong Feng-26 missiles. These are aircraft carrier killers. We attack and sink one of their aircraft carriers. Let them suffer 5,000 casualties. Attack and sink two carriers, casualties 10,000. Let’s see if the U.S. is afraid or not?” __ National Interest
This kind of talk is no longer unusual among high military officials of the Chinese PLA, which is a military force entirely beholden to the party, not to the actual people of China.
China Factory Activity Shrinks
Despite being boosted by record levels of debt financing, China’s factories have been cutting production significantly because of decreased demand.
Foreign-owned factory departures have also increased in the uneasiness over an ongoing trade dispute with the US — regarding China’s dangerously dishonest trade practises toward foreigners. Most factories that leave China are relocating to Southeast Asia, but some are moving to North America.
Chairman Xi has inexplicably chosen not to convene the Fourth Plenum of the 19th Congress, as was traditionally expected. Some observers suspect that internal discord has caused this most irregular departure from normal protocol.
… Xi’s position is increasingly precarious. As SinoInsider observed early this month, “If no Fourth Plenum is held, this means that the factional struggle is extremely intense and Xi is in grave danger.” __ National Interest
And there is this:
…. at least some Chinese citizens are cheering on Trump’s hard-line approach, as the pro-democracy activist Chen Guangcheng recently suggested in The Washington Post: “It might seem counterintuitive to many Americans that people in China would call for more tariffs, as though welcoming economic damage at home. But most ordinary Chinese people don’t see it that way. They commonly believe tariffs will hurt the Communist Party far more than regular people, since it’s the party that manipulates trade to line its pockets and prop up the economy.” __ Atlantic
The Chinese people do not report an increased sense of well-being, in general. China’s rich seem to be keeping an increasing share of China’s wealth — just as happened in Russia over the past 30 years.
In a chapter for the 2017 World Happiness Report, Richard A. Easterlin, Fei Wang, and Shun Wang make a convincing case that while China’s GDP has skyrocketed, its citizens’ reported subjective well-being has declined, especially among poorer and older cohorts. Even more surprising… Chinese subjective well-being remains below its 1990 level.. __ MW
War and Militarism are Dead-Ends for China
Xi seems to be painting the dragon into a corner, where only war offers him a chancy escape.
If the Chinese space agency can successfully land its moon probe — which has been trying to position itself to land on the far side of the moon for several days now — such an accomplishment might boost Xi’s credibility and status in these uncertain times for China.
But a failure would be seen as confirmation of all the doubts that have been building over these years that Xi has been positioning himself as “dictator for life.”
Parallels with Russia’s Putin
Russia’s Putin has committed a similar error as Xi, as he is painting Russia into a “Russia against the world” militant stance. But Russia has far less wealth and human capital to back up Putin’s risky militancy. Is it possible that each dictator is cheering the other on to “jump the shark” of war soonest?
Here, it is the bystander who holds the firmest ground should war break out (Russia vs. Ukraine, or China vs. Taiwan).
Time is Not on the Side of Either Dictator
Both despots have rigidly set up their countries for war, although neither nation is truly prepared for the aftermath. Nevertheless, if both men balk too long, the unexpected — but perhaps inevitable — war between Russia and China over resources may be the end result.
The end result of that conflict is anyone’s guess.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Learn to make yourselves Dangerous to those who want to take you down. Pay attention.