China is ris­ing and fast

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - ALY KHAN SATCHU Aly-Khan is a fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst

C hina’s par­a­bolic rise has been sim­ply breath-tak­ing. Mil­lions of Chi­nese have been lifted out of poverty and China con­tin­ues to ex­pand at a pace that other big economies can only dream about. Xi Jin­ping’s One Belt One Road [OBOR] pro­gram binds the world to Bei­jing be­cause all the roads and rail­ways have but one des­ti­na­tion and that is China. Wash­ing­ton has metas­tized into an epi­cen­tre of risk [Don­ald Trump refers] and talk of a unipo­lar US-dom­i­nated world have largely evap­o­rated. Pres­i­dent Putin re­fused to be rolled over by a Vic­to­ria Nu­land in­spired ‘’Colour Rev­o­lu­tion’’ in the Ukraine and drew a line in the sand and one of the col­lat­eral con­se­quences of that was to send Pres­i­dent Putin into the ready embrace of Xi Jin­ping. In fact, far from be­ing a unipo­lar world, we have en­tered a bipo­lar or even a Tripo­lar world [US, China and Rus­sia].

Apart from a few half-hearted and timid FONOPs [free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion op­er­a­tions], China has es­tab­lished con­trol over the South China Sea. It has cre­ated ar­ti­fi­cial Is­lands and then mil­i­tarised those ar­ti­fi­cial is­lands across the South China Sea. It is a mind-bog­gling geopo­lit­i­cal ad­vance any which way you care to cut it. China has ad­vanced its foot­print in Pak­istan, where it has leased the Gwadar Port [giv­ing China and Cen­tral Asia ac­cess to the Gulf re­gion and the Mid­dle East] for 43 years. Sri Lanka, which gorged on Chi­nese debt, has had to dis­gorge the Ham­ban­tota Port to its cred­i­tor. And re­cently, we saw China for­mally open a mi­itary fa­cil­ity in Dji­bouti. These moves taken to­gether speak to a ma­te­rial Chi­nese ad­vance. The pivot to Asia which was sup­posed to con­tain China is dead in the wa­ter and China has sprung that trap.

China is also in Naren­dra Modi’s face in the Dok­lam Plateau, which sits at the tri-junc­tion re­gion of Bhutan, China and In­dia. It’s as if Xi Jin­ping is goad­ing Naren­dra Modi, who would be seriously ill-ad­vised to take on the Chi­na­man in that re­mote plateau.

The Fi­nan­cial Times car­ried an ar­ti­cle last week which de­scribed China’s embrace of asym­met­ric war­fare, which spoke of a ‘’rev­o­lu­tion in mil­i­tary af­fairs’’ and de­scribed a new ‘’swarm’’ tech­nol­ogy.

‘’With their tiny pro­pel­lers buzzing, the fleet of Chi­nese air­craft, lit­tle larger than model planes, are flung into the air one at a time by huge rub­ber bands. Soon the sky is full of toy­like drones fly­ing in for­ma­tions over uniden­ti­fied moun­tains in China.... Each tiny air­craft — bought on­line for a few hun­dred dol­lars — is loaded with soft­ware and sen­sors ca­pa­ble of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the other drones in the swarm. De­vel­op­ers are work­ing to­wards a fu­ture where thou­sands could op­er­ate in sync, iden­ti­fy­ing and at­tack­ing tar­gets’’.

“This goes all the way back to the tac­tics of At­tila the Hun,” says Randall Steeb, se­nior engi­neer at the Rand Cor­po­ra­tion in the US. “A light at­tack force that can de­feat more pow­er­ful and so­phis­ti­cated op­po­nents. They come out of nowhere, at­tack from all sides and then dis­ap­pear, over and over.”

Once upon a time, the Chi­nese built the Great Wall of China to keep the Bar­bar­ians out and Pres­i­dent Trump and other ‘wannabe’ Wall Builders seem to have en­tered a worm-hole and are now fol­low­ing that an­cient Chi­nese script, which China itself long ago jet­ti­soned.

Mean­while, China has jumped its wall and is ad­vanc­ing with a surety of pur­pose which is quite re­mark­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.