Thursday, November 05, 2020

Conflict with China (4) Trade or War

The Chinese have always been a trading nation. They seem to realise that trade is the best way to gain influence in the world and they are doing that effectively. The Chinese have taken a different approach to their neighbours. They have expanded their influence through trade and investment in infrastructure.

For New Zealand, China has become a far larger trading partner than the United States, at a time when the United States always seems to be trying to drag New Zealand into its stupid wars. The Chinese already have access to our production of milk, meat, and wool, so they don’t have a need to invade us, or threaten us with wars. Many other nations have discovered the same thing.

Nations tend to project their neuroses onto their enemies. The United States seems to be obsessed with military power and wants to use military force to impose economic dominance over the rest of the world. Not surprisingly they assume that Russia and the Chinese want to do the same to them.

American politicians to be worried that China will become the global military hegemon, pushing the United States from its place. However, history suggests the opposite. They don’t understand that the Chinese have always been more skilled at doing business than making war. They realise that they can gain more influence in the world by economic means than military means.

The United States has invested so much in military power over the last half century, and has such a massive lead in the size of its military power, that neither China nor Russia could ever catch up, even if they began devoting a much greater share of the economy into defence. The military dominance of the United State is unlikely to be superseded, even if the relative strength of its economy continues to decline.

The United States has an impregnable defence against China; the Pacific Ocean. Even for a superpower, it is virtually impossible to launch an invasion of one continent from another. It has never been done, so China is not a military threat to the United States. The fact that both nations have nuclear weapons means that neither nation could invade the other.

The British thought that they needed to establish a colonial empire to obtain the resources that they needed. The US has often tried to do the same, not by conquering directly, but organising coups to put friendly regimes in power. Since the Chinese economy is growing in strength, they assume that the Chinese will do the same as they did. However, assuming that others will behave the same way as you do is a serious mistake.

The Chinese government wants to protect its territory (including what is has lost) but it understands that it does not need to invade other countries to obtain access to their resources. They realise that seeking to invade another nations with military force is pointless, because it depletes wealth on both sides.

They know that it is better to develop trade and buy assets in the country that has resources they need. This provides better access to all the production of the other nation, without any military expenditure at all.

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