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Cold War II: Intrigue in the Indo-Pacific

[1]1,648 words

The United States is now on the cusp of a new Cold War. This time, the war is with China. The mainstream media is either hiding this fact from the public or is too distracted by Trump Derangement to really grasp the situation and convey its seriousness.

The roots of this new Cold War go back to the time between the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 and when George H. W. Bush granted (extended, really) China’s most-favored-nation status for trade in 1991. During the former event, the Chinese Communist Party ended what could have been a massive civil war and created lasting stability. In the latter event, the Bush 41 administration started “the establishment’s” war of economic genocide against the Americans of the deindustrializing Rust Belt.

China thus got itself on the path to prosperity and power, and the Americans paid for it by allowing China to become dominant in manufacturing.

Now China has a three-pronged propaganda message regarding its increase in power:

  1. China’s rise in power is benign.
  2. China’s rise is unstoppable.
  3. Get in the way of China, and you’ll get punished.

Needless to say, China’s neighbors are not too keen about this. The least keen of those neighbors is Australia. Their outlook is framed by their geographic location. For the Australians, China is very big and very close. Australia’s anti-China measures tend to be earlier than in other countries. For example, Australia was quick to bar Chinese companies from building a 5G network in their country before anyone in the United States realized there was a problem with Chinese cyberwarfare. Australia’s Rory Medcalf [2], a former diplomat and professor, is probably the single leading expert on the situation in the Indo-Pacific Region.


The shipping lanes of the Indo-Pacific. The name “Indo-Pacific” is indicative of the Australian viewpoint. If this was an American project, we’d just be talking about “the Pacific.”

China from Disaster, to Mao, to Present

Three centuries ago, the Chinese saw themselves as the world’s most advanced society. They were unaware of what was out there and headed their way. British traders showed up in 1793 with gifts and a proposal to trade. The British also sought a treaty to gain the rights to repair ships in a Chinese port. To make a long story short, the social and economic impact of the British upon China disrupted its national life and China entered a long period of national decline. China became semi-colonized by outside powers.

In 1900, Chinese nationalists revolted. They staged the Boxer Rebellion which was put down by an army made up of Western and Japanese soldiers. China continued to deteriorate. Eventually, its imperial monarchy fell and China became a shaky republic. During World War II, China was a key US ally. There was a pro-China faction in the United States that was made up of anti-Communists and supporters of Christian missionaries. China fell to the Communists in 1949. The Communists were led by Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976). The fall of China directly led to the Korean War and it sharpened politics in America considerably.

Chairman Mao was a cult of personality and the center of a social movement called Maoism that turned out to be highly exportable to pretentious middle-class intellectuals wishing to create a revolution in their own country. I suspect that the Maoist philosophical package was not developed by the man himself. Instead, it was developed by others who edited and popularized Mao’s sayings into a coherent body of work. One such popularization is by the American journalist Edgar Snow (1905-1972), who wrote an account of Chinese Communism called Red Star over China in 1936.

Maoism, like all other forms of Leftism, led to blood and tears when practically applied. Millions starved between 1958 and 1962. Meanwhile, China carried out several reasonably successful military operations. They conquered Tibet between 1950 and 1951. At the same time, they successfully caused a stalemate in Korea in a war against the Americans. In 1962, they captured parts of the Himalayan highlands from India. In 1969, China waged a short war against the Soviet Union on the Ussuri River. In 1979, China invaded Vietnam.

Today, there remain tensions between China and India. China is constructing a considerable Navy and Coast Guard. China has engaged in cyber warfare; I know of one person whose workplace was hit with a denial of service attack from China. Work stopped for about an hour as the phones rang incessantly and a recorded message in Chinese played when one picked up. Chinese espionage activities are effective and ongoing. They often employ overseas Chinese to do this work. China also uses predatory lending methods to expand their influence in the Third World, and they invest in important infrastructure, such as the Panama Canal.

China also has built a base in Djibouti to secure its shipping from the Middle East. Additionally, they have pioneered the use of anti-ship missiles. This new weapons system has made coastal artillery [4] a viable military skillset again. These missiles are easy to use, easy to hide, and are a major threat to aircraft carriers. They don’t need to be housed in massive gun mounts such as those in Corregidor [5]. Recently, the United States has provided such missiles to Taiwan [6] to deter a possible Chinese invasion.

China’s overall strategy remains something of the old Middle Kingdom perspective. They view themselves as the center of global civilization, wish to be wealthy, and wish others to do their bidding. In this endeavor, they are working on the Belt and Road Initiative [7]. It is an updated China-centric view of the Silk Road and Indo-Pacific sea lanes first navigated by the Portuguese.


China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Ring tightening around China

A coalition of nations is beginning to assemble against China. Each nation has some reason to be anti-Chinese. India and China have had ugly incidents [9] in the Himalayas. Vietnam and the Philippines have conflicts with China in the South China Sea, and both China and Vietnam have built artificial islands in the area [10]. Japan and China argue over the status of the Senkaku Islands.

The United States is beginning to enter the fray as well. America has a number of military bases in the Indo-Pacific Region and is a major investor. Indo-Pacific allies of the United States in the region are frustrated by American spending on the border wall rather than improving defenses in places like Guam.

American defenses against China rest upon a series of island chains. The first island chain is the most important. Its northern portion is Japan. South from there is Taiwan, then the Philippines, ending in Borneo. This chain has the most people, several large national economies, and cultures hostile to China.

Because anti-ship missile technology is probably highly effective, it could be that naval operations west of the first island chain might be too risky to undertake.


The strategy to contain China rests on a series of island chains.

America First and the New Cold War

Since this new Cold War is just beginning and attitudes are not yet hardened, it is possible to take a calm look at this situation before anything gets too far out of hand. First, the problem isn’t China’s “Belt and Road” network, it is the direction the money flows along the belt and road. For centuries it has been a highly worthwhile thing for Western whites to trade with China. The nation remains the ultimate customer of everything from soybeans to supercomputers. The idea is for wealth to go from China back to America. Second, the Chinese aren’t engaging in large-scale cruelty such as one sees among the Jihadists in the Middle East. Chinese also don’t disparage American or European cultures. Finally, China isn’t exporting violent revolution in the way the Soviet Union did. There is plenty of room for compromise. Victory in Cold War II probably consists of some deindustrialization in China and reindustrialization in the States.

Next, America should be careful of how much capital they dedicate to creating a ring of nations to oppose China. They are vastly different peoples with vastly different worldviews and circumstances. An anti-China coalition that includes everyone from India to Japan is bound to be unstable. It brings to mind the creaky and disbanded Southeast Asia Treaty Organization [12] and the Central Treaty Organization [13].

Many of these allies dislike each other as much as they dislike China. Korean attitudes towards Japan are irrationally hostile. Meanwhile, America should consider an economic policy in the region that doesn’t make the mistakes of the first Cold War  — policies that turned South Korea into a manufacturing center while central Pennsylvania’s economy hollowed out should not happen this go-round. Don’t make Indonesia the next global industrial center. Although there might be plenty of temptation to fund an Islamic Uyghur rebellion, we should remember that funding Islamic extremists creates blowback [14]. The economy-destroying Trans-Pacific Partnership is also a danger that is still out there.

America’s allies need to be aware that the good old USA is in the midst of a low-intensity civil war and the likely next president, Joe Biden, is clearly mentally declining, if not already senile. Furthermore, the parts of the American government and society that advocate for aggressive foreign intervention and demand “respect for allies” also have an utter hostility to the historic American nation of Anglo-Nordic whites. The situation is highly unstable. It will also be very difficult for say, India, to get Americans to fight for them when Indians in the USA are squeezing out whites in jobs. Cold War II is definitely going to be difficult.

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