John R. Houk
© January 18, 2011
An interesting essay by Rodger Baker about Communist China’s (I believe the Chinese government prefers People’s Republic of China) political, military and economic internal affairs that may concern American National Interests has been published at Stratfor.
Baker writes that China’s generational leadership is about to change. He examines the significance of the new Chinese war jet the J-20. Baker actually examines a whole range of topics that followers of geopolitics should be interested in. The part of the essay that caught my eye is the potential competition for authority in China between the government (as managed by the elitist Communist Party) and the military.
Evidently as the Chinese leaders have evolved from connections to Mao’s eventual revolutionary victory over the Nationalist Party that had governed China predating the end of WWII culminating in 1948. Those revolutionary leaders were also military leaders. Today’s Chinese government leaders have no military experience and thus have a tendency to rely on the advice of the military. Apparently the military began to carve spheres of influence in regions of China connected to local economies thus enriching military officers in those regions. President Hu Jintao, who will be replaced shortly by Xi Jinping, has made efforts to reform the military by divorcing it from any regional economic operations. As you can guess the arm of China that has the guns was not necessarily pleased at losing its side business that brought money into personal coffers.
President Jintao military reform is an attempt to stave off the possibility of military warlords reminiscent of the last days of Chinese Emperors and the initial uniting efforts of the Nationalist Party to end warlord feudalism. Communist China has experienced relatively smooth transfers of political leadership after the days of Mao Zedong, Chou Enlai (or I guess history is using Zhou Enlai these days) and Deng Xiaoping. The concern for the American National Interests is the Chinese military’s increasingly forward looking into Foreign Relations especially as it relates to the United States’ military might. If the big dogs in the Chinese military become dissatisfied with the direction of the civilian government management by the Communist Party elite, would the military exact a coup in China? And if there ever was a coup, would the military return to the extreme brutality of the genocidal years of Mao Zedong to reinforce control over China? If there is a military coup, would China take a more confrontational path with the United States to possibly try a Chinese version of the old Monroe Doctrine to keep American influence out of Asia? If a Chinese military ruled, might that push nuclear armed India more into America’s orbit rather than Russia’s orbit due to the competition between a constitutional government market economy and a Communist authoritarian government?
These questions are a big factor in America’s future especially if China exploits the GWOT to weaken our National Interests and Foreign Policy.