Party like it's 1848
- Mar 4, 2019
Debt traps aren't relevant to the sort of territorial disputes I'm talking about. Yes, that's how China can establish African colonies and guarantee itself raw material supplies, but when it comes to places like India, or its belligerence in the south china sea, the whole "take our loan and then we take your airport" strategy isn't remotely viable, simply because there are already established hostilities. China won't debt-trap Japan or Taiwan, or any of its immediate neighbours with outstanding territorial disputes, because they would place territorial demands on China that it can't tolerate before accepting any such deal. Nor can they blacklist the entire world, no matter what Xi (or anyone who thinks he's some unstoppable galaxybrain) may believe.I can't believe people still don't get the MO. Xi's going to just use debt traps and business backlisting (such as cutting off NBA games in CHina because Daryl Morey retweeted something in support of Hong Kong protestors) to get his way. If he ever uses the army, it'll be really too late because the country would have been put in a point where all they can do is roll out the welcome mat. And that is how a loan shark plans to take over the world.
China's demographic time-bomb is exploding right now. They have an huge excess of single men, with less and less to occupy their time. Young men with few distractions and no girlfriend tend to get belligerent; they tend to want to solve their problem by overthrowing and killing the people in charge, who they invariably blame for their problems. Any history nerd will tell you that situation is traditionally resolved one of two ways: productive distraction, or harness their anger to the military and direct it outward. In Europe, the traditional distraction was the monastic system, which absorbed most of the surplus male population and gave them some level meaning in their lives. In the modern era, the distraction is mass media consumption and welfare. China doesn't have much of its monastic tradition left, while Xi's recent reforms have begun striping away the distraction of mass media, which means that its young men will have even more undistracted time on their hands.
China also has a long and storied history of sending surplus men to die fighting in pointless wars. They are expendable. Chinese culture places little value on the life of the peasants, no matter how it might dress itself up for the modern era.
The question of whether China is going to engage in war to keep its population in line is already decided by its demography and culture. The only question left is where and when.