China’s Strategy for Empire: The Second Cold War

Type 003 Aircraft Carrier China

China, unlike the West, looks at strategic plans that work over decades.  The West over the last 40years has mostly been reactionary, simply doing what they have to in order to get through a month, a quarter, maybe a year or two.  They have put together a master plan, one that is as creative as it is massive, to put themselves in the forefront of world economics, and also place them in the position where by default, they will eventually control the world as their defacto Empire.  That is not an overstatement.  Right now, they are putting together action plans that will make this happen if everything they are betting on comes to fruition.  This is a game changer in world order, and has brought about the second Cold War.

They are doing many things to make this happen.  The first part of this plan is to create away to bi-pass current trade routes from the East to the West.  They are doing that with their “New Silk Road” program.  The first part of this program is taking transportation to the Mid-East and Western Europe overland,building roads, pipelines and railroads from mainland China to the Middle-East and to Central Asia and Europe.  This would effectively bi-pass traditional sea routes to those areas.  “But OBOR (One Belt, One Road Initiative) is far more than a purely economic initiative. It also serves Beijing’s other overarching foreign policy goal: to reach strategic parity with the United States in Asia and reshape its security environment to ensure its rise is unrestrained. A central concern is China’s trade routes being cut off in the event of confrontation with the United States, given that it is surrounded by a string of American friends and allies” (What’s driving China’s Silk Road, and how should the West respond).

China is also spending a lot of money developing harbors and infrastructure in many 3rd world countries, with their selling point that it is mutually beneficial.  China can help them get their raw materials to the ports quicker, and as their economies grow, they can buy more Chinese goods.  China has a big problem with their economy.  It is not balanced by what the market needs, but rather in many cases by what the central government dictates they should produce.  It makes for a great imbalance in goods being produced that their current markets cannot absorb.  In theory, they can distribute these surplus goods to these countries that work with them to create the roads that they need to get to other markets and make both China and other poor countries richer.  It is now tending to do the opposite, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for China. 

The bulk of major Silk Road projects are in Malaysia, South Asia, and Indochina.  In fact, so far,they have targeted over 1.5 trillion USD in these areas, and the number is expected to double in the next few years. The big issue right now is that these countries jumped at the chance to have China build them infrastructure, but it now appears that it is a “one-way street” with China.  China provides the construction companies, the funding, and then bills the countries back for allof the work done.  These countries can in many cases barely feed their own people, let alone pay back the loans for this infrastructure development.  This gives China a bigger role in their governments and the control of the finished product, basically spreading out their influence in a big part of the world through debt rather than conquest.  They in effect, own the destiny of these countries and they have to tow the line with China, or else!  “The conventional worry about the Belt and Road initiative — an open-ended framework for an estimated $1.5 trillion of infrastructure projects over the next decade across Southeast Asia, South Asia and Central Asia — is that it will doom the recipients of its largess to a future as indebted clients of Beijing(Soviet Collapse Echoes in China’s Belt and Road).

In the South China Sea, China has effectively claimed the entire area for themselves.  The only thing stopping them at this point in time is the US Navy.  They are rapidly building up their Navy Fleet, with state-of-the-art destroyers and aircraft carriers.  “China is producing warships at a rapid clip as it modernizes its navy, which has been taking an increasingly prominent role among the country’s armed forces” (South China Sea: Chinese Military unveils first of 18 “New Generation” Warships). China is also developing artificial islands all over the South China Sea, destroying natural coral and making them effectively static aircraft carriers, and at the same time, declare the area around these strategically placed artificial islands as Chinese territory. “U.S. Navy Adm. Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that China can now control the South China Sea “in all scenarios short of war with the United States” because of its increasing military presence there” (China, Trade and Artificial Islands).  It appears that their end-game here is to shut down the West and control the sea-lanes where most of the world international trade exists.  “More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the Straits of Malacca, Sunda, and Lombok, with the majority continuing on into the South China Sea”.(South China Sea Oil Shipping Lanes)

China also has their eyes on the continent of Africa.  Africa is rich in raw materials, which China needs to continue their economic expansion. They are now investing in infrastructure in Eastern Africa using the same playbook they have used in the Asian theater, selling countries on the idea that they will mutually benefit from infrastructure investment.  These governments have jumped on the chance,just like their Asian counterparts to take advantage of the opportunity to build up their infrastructure.  They have the same problems as their Asian counterparts, they cannot afford the investments, and will be defaulting on the loans used to build roads, railways,and ports.  That gives China an oversized say in their national affairs, but that is also a double-edged sword.  These countries are highly unstable, usually at war with their neighbors, and have the possibility of China losing their investment permanently through default and destruction.  They do have a plan for that, one that isvery strategic.  “China’s aircraft carriers could therefore be used to assist its on-the-ground allies and what might eventually also be their Russian “mercenary”  partners with the crucial air support that oftentimes makes all the difference when dealing with the rural Unconventional Warfare elements of any Hybrid War”.(China’s Aircraft Carriers will give it multiple floating bases in Africa)  This effectively would eventually give them control of the African continent if the strategy works, along with all the riches that it affords them. 

“China’s aircraft carriers could therefore be used to assist its on-the-ground allies and what might eventually also be their Russian mercenary partners with the crucial air support that oftentimes makes all the difference when dealing with the rural Unconventional Warfare elements of any hybrid war.”  (China’s Aircraft Carriers will give it multiple floating bases in Africa)  This effectively would eventually give them control of the African continent if the strategy works, along with all the riches that it affords them.

China’s Empire strategy does not end there.  They realize that there are untold riches under the North polar ice cap, and they are making moves to capture that also.  There has been melting of the cap due to global warming in recent years, and that has opened up sea lanes that were previously closed for transit. (China and Russia may take over the top of the world, the new Silk Road through the Arctic)As a non-Arctic state, they have teamed up with Russia in the endeavor to dominate this area.  They have also opened up talks with other nations that have borders with the Arctic, but their serious partner is Russia.  They want to control these new sea-lanes, and in the event that they freeze over once again, Russia is the only country in the world with nuclear powered ice-breakers that can travail this area once it is again frozen over.  “The increasingly powerful armed forces of China and Russia have only bolstered ties as they invest in up to 35 trillion USD in oil and gas in the Arctic.”  They are also interested in controlling these sea routes because it gives them strategic advantage in trade and sea-power that would be invaluable in lessening the power of the West.

They are also strengthening their military with stolen information.  They have hacked numerous USA and European military and military contractor sites and have stolen designs on just about every top-secret innovation that the West has to offer, and have been successful duplicating weapons that are very comparable to those in the West. In fact, they have almost neutralized our technological advantage in this area through theft.  This has been a great policy for them, being that they have caught up with the West with a minimum in actual R&D cost or time investment.  One example of these hacks is this one:  “Chinese government hackers have compromised an unnamed contractor for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, as submarine research branch of the military.”  (Chinese Hackers Steal sensitive data on US subs and missiles from military contractor, report says)  They got a lot more than military capability and designs with this hack, in fact they also got the cryptographic codes that our submarine and surface warfare forces use in time of war. 

China also regularly hacks our corporations for trade secrets and steals designs.  They also require our companies to turn over IP without any compensation in order to penetrate the Chinese market.  “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs$225 billion and $600 billion USD annually.”  (How much has USA lost from China’s IP theft)  This theft is unconscionable and President Trump is negotiating with China using the threat of tariffs to end this travesty.  I wish him luck, but China just might think the risk is worth the reward.

China has also teamed up with Russia on a quest to wrest control of the internet from the USA.  This is how they call it:  “Moscow and Beijing, deeply resentful of American power, are again finding ideological common cause, jointly aiming at two pillars of of the post “Cold War” dispensation:  a borderless Internet and international civil society.  They are doing so on the declared basis of national sovereignty.”  (How Russia and China are co-operating to dismantle America’s dominance of the internet”  In actuality, they are seeking to isolate their countries from the freedom of the internet, to ensure that they do not get information from outside of their approved sources about what is happening in the world around them.  They see that free-flow of information is an issue with their dominance over their control of their despotic societies.  They want the USA  to cede control to them, and so far, have had search engines like Google comply with their wishes.  Others are not far behind.

Their plan is broad, strategic, and long-term.  It could have the effect of changing everything that we know as true in the world.  World order could be re-defined, and the West, lead by the USA could be in for a ride of their life.  That is, of course, if China does not over expand itself financially, as the Soviet Union did.  Their investment in 3rd world countries, Siberia, and in military spending did them in.  Their command and control economy just were no match for the West, even though they had the fastest growth internationally from the end of WW2 until the late 1950’s.  They buried themselves in debt, and they fell hard, and by the end of the 1980’s they were no longer an Empire.

China is possibly in a similar situation.  Their labor supply is shrinking due to their longstanding 1 child per couple law.  Their population is ageing and too few young people are there as replacements.  Soon, India will be the most populous country because of this trend.  China also has massive debt, not only with their military spending, but with their own infrastructure and other industrial projects, many of which never needed to be built.  This is their Achilles heel.

It is undeniable that we are in another Cold War.  Some of the same players, Russia and China are our adversaries.  We have our old allies with the EU and their new members, many countries in the Asian theater, with India and Japan in particular.  With globalization, or economies are more deeply entwined, and the results of this new Cold War will have many future repercussions.  It is time for the USA and our allies to have their own long-term strategic plan to insure survival.  We cannot count on China and Russia being defeated by their own weight, even though that is definitely one prospect.  We need a proper plan, or this can spin out of control and we just might have a hot war on our hands.  In this day and age, that is unthinkable!  The world order has depended on America’s active involvement protecting sea lanes and free trade for 70 years.  It is apparent that America and her allies need to continue involvement in this role to ensure the world will be a peaceful one in the future.There are plans underway right now to meet this threat.  The US Navy is in the process of taking their fleet from 280 warships to 355 in the next 20 years.  Naval power on the high seas is paramount to keeping the shipping lanes open and free not just for us, but for the whole world.  President Trump has extracted a commitment from NATO members to bring their military spending up to a minimum of 2% of their GNP, a goal that most have not met in order to address this issue.  Japan, Philippines, India, and other Asian allies are increasing their military spending to meet the Chian challenge.  This is a start to think strategically that was absent for almost a decade, and with hard work and some luck we and our allies will prevail.

The focus should not just be on military hardware and strategy.  When it comes to cyber-espionage with both commercial and military technology, we need to hold China accountable for their actions.  The President’s tariffs are part of that equation, but leaders of companies and military counterparts that lead in this theft should also be held responsible for these actions, and detained and tried if available.  It has to be made perfectly clear that we are not going to put up with these actions any more.  If we are to diffuse this new Cold War, and embrace worldwide freee trade, we have to have systems in place that insure that this laudable goal is met, and consequences for those that would endeavor to impede.


Petamagoda, Kadira, “Order from Chaos: What’s driving China’s Silk Road, and how should the West Respond?”. May 17, 2017.

Korybko, Andrew, “A new Space Race for a New Cold War”.  August 30,2018.

Fickling, David,  “Soviet Collapse echoes in China’s Belt and Road” August 12, 2018.

Korybko, Andrew,  “China’s Aircraft Carriers will give it multiple floating bases in Africa”.  April,5,2018.

O’Connor, Tom,  “China and Russia may take over the top of the world, New Polar Silk Road through the Artic”. January 26, 2018.

Pham, Sherisse,  “How much has US lost from China’s IP theft?”.  March 23, 2018.

“South China Sea: Chinese military unveils first of 18 “New Generation” warships”.  Reuters 06/28/2017.

Morris, David,  “Chinese hackers steal sensitive data on U.S. subs and missiles from military contractor, report says”.  June 10, 2018.

Malcomson, Scott,  “How Russia and China are co-operating to dismantle America’s dominance of the Internet”.  May 5, 2016

Freidman, George,  “China, Trade and artificial islands”.  May 21, 2018.

“South China Sea oil shipping lanes”.

Harper, John  “Expanding the Fleet: Navy charts course for 355 ships”.  April,4,2018.

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