In še drugi del fascinantne razlage profesorja Alfreda McCoya, tokrat o tem, kako bo Kitajska brez enega samega strela počasi zavzela Tajvan (morda zveni kot proameriška in antikitajska propaganda, vendar je zanimiva in plavzibilna). McCoy je potegnil paralelo s kitajskim zavzetjem južnokitajskega morja, kjer je postopoma začela patruljirati, nato graditi umetne otoke, nato nanje postavila vojaške opazovalnice, nato majhne vojaške baze in nato de facto prevzela kontrolo nad najbolj prometnim pomorskim koridorjem. Kitajska lahko Tajvan obkroži, ga transportno in komunikacijsko odreže od sveta, lahko samo nenehno patruljira v vodah okrog Tajvana ali nenehno preleta njegov zračni prostor in moti njegovo transportno povezavo. Brez enega samega strela. … dokler se Tajvan sam ne sprijazni s tem, da ne more biti neodvisen od Kitajske. In če bi ZDA posredovale, v tej vojni ne morejo zmagati, ker enostavno nimajo toliko vojaških baz in opreme v bližini, kot jih ima Kitajska na svojem pragu in z 2,500 jedrskimi konicami.
Toda Tajvan je morda šele prva domina procesu razpadanja ameriške hegemonije v Aziji in Pacifiku, vsaj tako si ameriška politična elita to predstavlja, zato se ZDA Tajvana tako oklepajo.
I think, so far, based on the last few decades of performance by both powers, we could establish a clear contrast between the way the U.S. has exercised its hegemony since it became unipolar power at the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the way China is going about its business. And for most Americans, I think hegemony means military power. And I think we have to get out of that mindset, and realize that we’re dealing with another power, which has another way of running its world system.
You think about it, you know, in the last few decades, the United States has fought two disastrous wars, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. Currently we have the Joint Special Operation Command, last time I looked, had its forces arrayed in 75 percent of the countries on the planet, OK? Sometimes it goes down to a mere two-thirds. So, as Americans, we equate the exercise of global hegemony with military power. That’s not the way China does its business.
As Jeremy pointed out when he read from my article, China doesn’t have a whole lot of military bases. And what China is doing is, it’s building this substrate of economic and commercial power across the Eurasian landmass, and then it makes its political military moves very cautiously.
Back in 2014-2015, when China began dredging those half-dozen outposts in the South China Sea, I thought those were geopolitically significant, I started lecturing about them. And at one of my lectures done at Northwest University, a man who was a recently retired intelligence major in the Singapore Air Force popped up, and he said, “You seem to be implying that China was going to be exercising military power from those bases.” He said, “That’s not the way they operate.” He said, “They go very subtly, you know? They don’t want any eruptions, any confrontation. They just keep pushing very quietly.”
And indeed, you know, think about it. First, China began dredging in the South China Sea. And then they formed the islands, and then they built a few huts, and then they built some runways. And then they put on some radar, and then some jets. And then some anti-missile technology, linking those islands with China’s mainland missile capacity. And effectively, they’ve taken control over the South China Sea — one of the world’s most navigated waterways, linking the Middle East, let’s say, with Japan, on oil shipments, not to mention everything else. It’s one of the most trafficked corridors in the world. They’ve basically taken it over, they’ve captured a sea, and there’s never been a visible moment of confrontation. The United States Navy runs these freedom of navigation patrols constantly through there, but that doesn’t stop the Chinese. They just built it up steadily, pressure, pressure. You know, sort of sedulously, steadily, never provoking a confrontation.
So, the way I see that China is going to continue to operate, let’s say, around Taiwan, and let’s put ourselves in historical perspective. This sudden emergence of Chinese power has only been since 2013. It’s only been a decade. The nature of world politics has been transformed in just ten years through this extraordinary Chinese commercial program of, essentially, building infrastructure on three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa, and they’re also in Latin America very actively as well. And they’ve acquired all this power.
It’s just in the last few months that we’ve seen, if you will, the diplomatic eruptions coming from China’s investment of control over the geopolitical substrate of the Eurasian landmass. They’ve done that in the last ten years. Good heavens! Now that they are the world’s largest economy in purchasing power equity — I have no question about it — and they’re still growing steadily, what might they accomplish in the next ten years?
And one of the things I think that their clear objective is going to be, of course, is Taiwan. And although there’s much speculation about war over Taiwan, that’s from an American/U.S. perspective, which equates global power with military power. China will just conduct a kind of geopolitical squeeze, play the way they got us out of Afghanistan, without firing a shot on the part of the Chinese, without doing anything, actually. They wanted us out of there and they got us out of there, in the same way that they got those islands in the South China Sea. They built those islands in the South China Sea. They effectively laid claim to that entire sea, and avoided a military confrontation. What I see them doing is continuing to build their military presence.
How do naval powers exercise their power? You know, we think of these great battles, like the Philippines Sea, or Midway, or Lepanto, or Trafalgar. You know, they happen every 1500 years, OK? That’s not the way naval power is exercised. Naval power is exercised by tracing a cat’s cradle of patrol lines across the maritime commons until that ocean is functionally yours. And that’s what China is going to do, and is doing it, and they’re going to continue. They will just patrol incessantly, so those waters between China and Taiwan become their water. They will maneuver diplomatically and economically, putting pressure on Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
The Philippines swung towards China under Duterte, swung back towards the U.S. under Marcos Jr. It’ll swing. It’s swinging back and forth, all of those powers are going to be swinging back and forth. And, you know, China then will just announce that, One China policy, that this is their territory. Maybe they’ll just put a customs zone around Taiwan. They’ll cut the cables — the undersea cables. They’ll just put some patrols around Taiwan. They’ll overwhelm the Taiwan Air Force — not with combat — just with constant overflights.
And the United States will be in a position where we’re going to have to steam a full naval armada into the maw of Chinese power. And, you know, let’s face it, we have anti-missile capacity, but China’s got, right now, about 2,500 missiles that they can throw at our armada. One of them is going to hit. How many aircraft carriers are we going to lose? Two, three aircraft carriers? I mean, you know, what price are we going to pay? And we’re going to look like an aggressor. We’ll be attacking them. They won’t be attacking anybody. They’ll just be sailing ships and flying aircraft.
And so, Taiwan could, very readily, through this kind of geopolitical squeeze-play, fall into Beijing’s grasp. And what does that mean? Well, think about what I said earlier. The United States achieved its dominance over Eurasia at the end of World War II through two means: the NATO alliance, which is standing pretty strong these days, and then these bilateral pacts with five powers down the Pacific littoral and the first island chain. And if Taiwan goes, that breaks that chain, and maybe we get pushed back to the second island chain, which runs, basically, from Japan, due south, to Guam. And then, you know, our geopolitical position, which has been the basis of U.S. global power for the last 75 years, is essentially broken.
So, that’s the way I see the possibilities, that this growing geopolitical power can be translated into palpable diplomatic influence, palpable political military power.
But, you know, China’s only been this major world player for ten years. What the next five or ten years hold is going to be a continued development of that geopolitical pressure, of the kind that I just described. Allowing them to break Taiwan. And once Taiwan is broken and incorporated, there goes the first island chain, there goes the Pacific littoral, there goes the fulcrum for U.S. geopolitical power, dating back all the way to 1945.
Vir: The Intercept