By Dr Subhash Kapila*
China and nuclear weapons states created as proxies by China, that is, North Korea and Pakistan, have rendered Asian security as explosive in 2017 by their unrestrained war-mongering and sabre-rattling impacting Indo Pacific Asia pointedly.
The United States which is the main intended target of China in 2017 in China’s bid to emerge as the “Strategic Equivalent” of America, needs to awaken to the dangers posed by China and its nuclear proxies not only to Asian security but also to United States more pointedly. Successive American Presidents have failed via their China-accommodative strategies to persuade China to act as a responsible stakeholder in Asian and global security.
The Asian security environment in 2017 presents the sordid spectacle where an aggressive China reminiscent of Hitlerian Germany and totally oblivious to its responsibilities as a “Responsible Power” by virtues of its Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council has unleashed a ‘tsunami’ of war-mongering and sabre-rattling directly against its peer Asian rival India, besides against Japan in the East China Sea and against Vietnam in the South China Sea.
China’s main target, however, is not Asian nations but the United States. China is targeting the United States in a two-pronged strategy. The first prong is war-mongering and sabre-rattling against Asian nations perceived by it to be close to the United States—-India, Japan and Vietnam. The second prong is aimed at the United States directly by proxy use of North Korea and its nuclear and missiles arsenal capable of hitting the United States.
Indo Pacific Asia becomes China’s preferred theatre for war- mongering and aggressive brinkmanship and also a potential theatre of possible Chinese military operations should China’s war-mongering provocations especially through North Korea tempts the United States to strike North Korea. Lest it be forgotten is that the United States has crucial stakes in the stability and security of the Western Pacific and the India Ocean.
The Asian security environment is rendered further explosive with China implicitly encouraging the two rogue nuclear weapons States created by it in the form of North Korea and Pakistan—both also having the dubious reputation of being “Terrorist States”. This stands distinctively to the fore coinciding with the advent to power in Beijing of Chinese incumbent President Xi Jinping.
In mid-2017 China has set ablaze Indo Pacific Asia extending from Indian borders with China Occupied Tibet and extending to the Seas of the Western Pacific. China having made its land-boundaries turbulent on its periphery, either directly or through its proxies and is now engaged in extending its military turbulence in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
While the logic of China’s hostile reactions towards India directly and through the contrivance of the China-Pakistan Axis—a Xi Jinping creation are fathomable, what defies strategic logic is China’s egging on North Korea towards a nuclear weapons confrontation with the United States in which the total destruction of North Korea is assured.
The latter above can only be understood as Chinese logic of disposing of what is now a troublesome proxy showing signs of defying Chinese strategic objectives too. Secondly, China may be presuming that the United States militarily engrossed in taming North Korea would be diverted from intensification of its strategic gaze on China’s military adventurism in the South China Sea and also taming India before it reaches the full potential of its military potential.
Against the above backdrop, two major questions need to be examined. The first is as to how China perceives that it is militarily empowered to challenge the might of the global Superpower, the United States and simultaneously expect that India as an Emerged Power can be coerced militarily by raising disputes on the borders. The second question that needs to be examined is does China realistically believe that it can get away unscathed from the explosiveness that it has set in motion in the Asian security environment directly and through Pakistan and North Korea as proxies.
On the first question, the only logical surmise that surfaces is that China in the arrogance of its new-found military power feels empowered by Hitlerian impulses to expand its geographical boundaries to “strategic boundaries” something on which it had given notice years backs but now forgotten in strategic discourse. In the process these would be stepping stones towards the ultimate Chinese strategic objective of China’s Asian hegemony.
On the second count China would be highly unrealistic to assess that China could remain unscathed and unharmed by the unintended consequences that could follow in the wake of the United States strikes on North Korea or by unleashing offensives against India on the China Occupied Tibet borders.
Even if China’s war-mongering and sabre-rattling remains confined to rhetorical posturing’s, the dangers still exist of a misreading of intentions by either China of its adversaries responses or the United States and India likewise and thereby igniting an explosive and surcharged tinder-box create by China.
In conclusion, what needs to be emphasised strongly is that a concerted global community effort led by the United States is required to checkmate a military aggressive China strongly intent in 2017 to overturn the stable existing global order both directly and through the use of its nuclear proxies North Korea and Pakistan.
*Dr Subhash Kapila is a graduate of the Royal British Army Staff College, Camberley and combines a rich experience of Indian Army, Cabinet Secretariat, and diplomatic assignments in Bhutan, Japan, South Korea and USA. Currently, Consultant International Relations & Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. He can be reached at [email protected])