In every Fascist, National Socialist and Communist state in the 20th and the 21st centuries, foreign policy had been marked by a deep and dark, spellbound and cruel mystery. In the People’s Republic of China, this mystery has had more darker depths, and has taken the shape of Oriental transcendentalism mixed with the horrific notion of racial superiority.
“In reasoning,” Mao Tse-tung opined, “we shall start by delivering a shock and yelling at the patient, you are sick, so that he is scared into a sweat, and then we will tell him gently that he needs treatment.” In Mao’s formula the “treatment” consisted of applying “Brute Force” to annihilate anybody who happened to disagree with him, or found guilty by the various kangaroo courts for imaginary offenses.
Thus, the historic humiliation of Imperial China by several foreign powers had brought forth an equally historic “brute” enmity between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of the world. Its political and military manifestations are clearly apparent in the rapidly escalating regional and global hostility of Beijing toward its Asian neighbors and the United States of America. Indeed, Xi Jinping’s strategic roadmap is an audacious attempt to recreate China’s former imperial greatness. Against the backdrop of between $2.5 and $4 trillion in foreign currency reserves, the world’s largest, Beijing is set to assert its political, economic and military dominance regionally as well as globally.
The main windfall of China’s resurgence is the “New Silk Road” initiative, announced by Mr. Xi during his visit to Kazakhstan in 2013. This lofty initiative of global expansion was renamed in March 2015, in a major speech delivered by Mr. Xi himself, and gained the clunkier title of “One Belt One Road” – reminiscent of the vocabulary used by the Han and Tang dynasties in their apex. The slogan “One Belt” is an allusion to the land route encompassing central Asia, Russia and Europe. The term “One Road” is grossly misleading, because it connotes a maritime route through the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Appropriately, if confusingly, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s powerful central planning organization, published a voluminous document, entitled “Visions and Actions on Jointly building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-century Maritime Silk Road”. The document entails few details about the implementation of Mr. Xi’s grand vision. Yet, it ominously refers to a “security component”, meaning a greater regional role of the security apparatus and the military.
Until the aggressive construction of artificial islands’ fortresses in the disputed waters of the East and South China Sea, the People’s Republic of China did not posses foreign military bases. Disingenuously, Beijing adamantly insists that the Spratly Islands, an assortment of Reefs as far south as Malaysia, the Senkaku Islands, belonging to Japan, in the north, and the Diaoyutai Islands, belonging to the Republic of China, in the middle, are within its “indisputable sovereignty”. According to this Chinese claim, its alleged “sovereignty” covers an area more than twice the size of the Gulf of Mexico. In actuality, this claim is illegal and based solely on a forgery, namely, a recently miraculously discovered map, allegedly prepared in 1947 by the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai Shek. This lawless Chinese policy harks back to two ancient principles. The first is the command of “Dah, dah! Tahn, tahn! Dah, dah!” – meaning “Fight for a while; talk for a while; fight again!”. The second is Sun Tzu’s infamous advice that “supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.
For decades, successive American administrations have pursued a policy of appeasement, instead of decisive opposition, in response to Beijing’s use of “Brute Force”. Erroneously, American policymakers have asserted that economic cooperation coupled with technological assistance will remove the appeal of the remnants of Maoism and communist ideology. In reality, while Chinese leaders have welcomed foreign investment and know how, it has become abundantly obvious that large scale penetration of the Chinese market has raised the political red flag about opening the floodgates to foreign economic dominance – and by implication, political influence.
Given the old Chinese virtues of patience and deviousness, combined with Beijing’s cyber warfare capabilities, Mr. Xi and his colleagues are about to construct a new world order. The contours of their new empire, eerily resembles Mao Tse-tung’s expansionist dreams. In a conversation with the late Anna Louise Strong he explained to her his theory of “an intermediate zone”. In it, the United States was the supreme enemy. As in his subsequent writings, he listed the countries that he considered to be either Chinese territory, or dependent states, seized through unequal treaties by the so-called imperialist powers: Burma, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and Hong Kong by Britain; Korea, Taiwan, the Pescadores and the Ryukyu Islands by Japan, outer Mongolia by Russia, the former Indochina by France, and Macau by Portugal. In addition, he dismissed the validity of the Aigun treaty of 1858 and the Ili Treaty of 1881 with Tsarist Russia. Accordingly, Mao insisted that Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, and the whole of Siberia are part of the “sacred motherland of the Chinese People’s Republic”.
In this context, very little attention is payed in Washington, D.C. and in the other capitals to the strategic role that the so-called “overseas Chinese”, the hua-chiao, would play in China’s expansionist design. Economically dominant throughout Asia and with their belief that they belong to a superior civilization and, therefore, to a dominant race, they resist assimilation into the societies and cultures of their host countries. Regardless of their eventual disdain for the political regime in Beijing, their loyalty is firmly anchored in their ancestral motherland. No wealth, political status, or appeasement will move them away from this umbilical cord, expressed in the following passionate words: “Wo shih Kou jen! Wo chu tsai Nanyang! Wo ai Chung Kuo!” I am Chinese! I live in the Southern Ocean! I love China!
Xi Jinping is the reincarnation of both Stalin and Mao. He is a ruthless dictator. The sooner the rest of the world demonstrate the folly of his lawless and aggressive behavior, the more peaceful and stable Asia and the rest of the world will be. Mr. Xi and his colleagues must also realize that their policies will not lead to dominance but to failure and defeat. The challenge for the new President and his Administration is to impress credibly upon the Chinese leadership the ultimate consequences of their reckless “Brute Reason”, “Brute Force” policies.