Thursday, May 22, 2008

[geographical logic] sad but real


It's the old, old story about political and ethnic boundaries.

In the republic in which I live there is an ethnic Muslim population, a little over half the total, together with Russians and many other groups. Russian is the language of the people generally and the local language is more for local government level.

The problem here is the proximity to Moscow. From 1552 and Ivan Grozny [the Terrible], it's always been a problem and Moscow has seen the problem in reverse. There is no doubt that Russia insisted on its language becoming the universal one throughout all republics, even the nominally autonomous ones and it has kept relative peace across the land.

Westerners see brutal regimes and precious little democracy but the thing, truly, that people hanker for more is stability. For whatever reasons and you can put your own construction on these, the majority, entirely uncoerced, did go for Putin and breathed a sigh of relief when the power changed hands smoothly.

No one is doubting that Putin is still largely at the reins but the thing is - it's not necessarily seen as a bad thing, on balance. Many major issues, yes and hot debate on them at local level, if not at national level. What people fear most is the rein of lawlessness and in this town it was once so, with a devastating pall of anxiety hanging over the local populace.

Now the town seems to be flourishing and most people, particularly the young, don't wish to go back to the old days.

Returning to Tibet [at the end of the link above], it suffers from two things of course - proximity and its strategic value, not entirely as we have here. The issue will never be resolved but will wax and wane according to China's territorial consciousness of the time.

I claim no particular wisdom in this matter but I may see or feel a perspective the average westerner, even the widely travelled one, does not share. One can see China's point of view and can't blame it for pursuing its national strategic interests.

A glance at the map above, then superimposing that map on the all important silk road to Israel and Europe, alone is strategic reason for the TAR to exist, as such. Then we come to the Americans who are right in there, in Tibet, with their psy-ops and again, one can't blame America for wishing to encircle the new potential world hegemony. It would be failing its people if it did not do so.

As usual, the people in the middle are the meat in the sandwich and atrocities occur but nothing to the ones which are coming up later as this issue blows out of all proportion.

2 comments:

SACKERSON said...

Hope it won't be as bad as you fear. Diplomacy, realpolitik.

What are the particular US psyops of which you speak?

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Sackers, some fragments in reply:

According to General Li Jijun, one of China's most distinguished military authors and former Vice President of AMS, the greater danger to a nation's survival is not warfare but "strategic misdirection".

The United States brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union with strategic misdirection. Through various means, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, which the US had no intention of ever deploying, the Soviets greatly increased their defense budget.

The US also supported opposition in Poland and Afghanistan, drove down the price of oil to cut off the main source of Soviet foreign exchange, and exacerbated the domestic Soviet political crisis.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, following secessionist moves in the Baltic States, was a lesson China noted. In 1990, Washington made deliberately deceptive comments to Saddam Hussein through the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, to the effect that the United States did not care if he invaded Kuwait.

Citing the lessons of history, General Li warns that "unconsciously accepting an opponent's strategic misdirection causes a nation to be defeated or collapse, and not know why."

An article in the June issue of Zhongguo Pinglun concludes: "The Western forces are attempting to drag China into the mire in the arms race.

The United States is planning to pursue a theatre missile defense system, so that the Chinese will step into the shoes of the former Soviet Union. In an arms race with the United States, China will consume its national power and collapse without a battle."

China believes the U.S. military will disrupt its energy imports in any conflict over Taiwan, and sees the United States as an unpredictable country that violates others' sovereignty and wants to "encircle" China.

Beijing's leaders see access to oil and gas resources as vital to economic growth and fear that stalled economic growth could cause instability and ultimately the collapse of their nation of 1.3 billion people.

Energy demand, particularly for oil, will increase sharply in the next 20 years — from 75 million barrels per day last year to 120 million barrels in 2025 — with Asia consuming 80 percent of the added 45 million barrels.

Eighty percent of China's oil currently passes through the Strait of Malacca, and the report states that China believes the sea area is "controlled by the U.S. Navy."

Chinese President Hu Jintao recently stated that China faces a "Malacca Dilemma" — the vulnerability of its oil supply lines from the Middle East and Africa to disruption.

Oil-tanker traffic through the Strait, which is closest to Indonesia, is projected to grow from 10 million barrels a day in 2002 to 20 million barrels a day in 2020, the report said.

Zhang Wenmu, of the CICIR, says that because of America's desperate need for new oil and gas resources, especially in Central Asia, it has begun to interfere in the Tibet issue, as part of a larger scheme involving the enlargement of NATO and the redefinition of the US-Japan Defence Guidelines.

According to Zhang, US strategy was always to "follow the oil".

In World War II, it did not intervene until Japan moved toward oil. Similarly, before the Gulf War, the United States ignored Iraqi expansion towards the North and West but when Saudi and Kuwait oil was threatened, the US went to war.

Zhang writes that, in 1998, the United States had a "two arms" strategy to contain both Russia (with NATO enlargement) and China (with the new Japan Defense Guidelines and promoting the China Threat Theory).

In addition, Zhang predicts that the United States wants to screen off both Chinese and Russian access to Central Asian oil and gas.

If there is internal turmoil in Tibet or further north in Muslim Xinjiang, Zhang predicts that the United States will try to set up an international no-fly zone, as it did after the Gulf War, thus "dismembering" Tibet and Xinjiang, the hub of China's geopolitical position and causing the loss of the high plateau, which provides natural protection to the west.
Zhang recommends that China must get the Central Asia oil market oriented to itself.

Better to place high priority on land transport of oil and gas, which its superiority in ground forces can protect, rather than depend on sea lanes for oil supplies.

Liu Jinghua, of CASS, warns that by 2020, the policy of "concealing abilities and biding time" will not be sufficient and "once the flood begins, we must have a Great Wall which cannot collapse."

One part of this Great Wall must be a partnership with Russia, to defeat Western containment, attempted at restricting access to capital markets and technology, promoting Western values and using military power " as the core" against China.

China just needs not to provoke the hegemon until the Great Wall can be ready.