Chinese rising

In the modern political debate, the conception of China as next first world super power has become almost a clichè. The first mistake of a typical western person is to imagine China as a compact power, with a disciplined hierarchy, a good organization, and apart rare disorders in Tibet and Xinjiang, China goes straight toward the conquest of the world. But it’s not so. There are many struggles in all levels of chinese politics, the local entities seem private feuds, handled by micro-dictators, the chinese Communist party is full of rivalities, internal mafias, fights for power under the shadow of weak leaders. But a man has arrived, and he wants to handle a hobbesian context: Xi Jinping.

Chinese rising - Geopolitica.info

The Xi’s rise

Xi Jinping reaches the top of Party on the 15 november 2012, becoming general secretary. He rapidly centralises on himself a huge quantity of power, crushing political opponents, and less often he coopts them and use them. Without any doubt, he is the strongest and most risolute leader after Mao, even more than the architect of the “socialism with chinese characteristics” in the ‘80s, Deng Xiaoping. Once elected secretary of the Party and President of Chinese popular republic, he takes over one of the most important tool in China: the army. Before him, the headquarters had an enormous power. After the measures adopted by Xi Jinping, who put himself on the top of the central military commission, and left it to army generals only the power to follow orders. This strategy is inserted in the context of the reorganisation and simplification of the army, making more immediate the chain of command (the levels were 5, now 3). This is one of the most important differences with the previously secretary, Hu Jintao, who trusted in the quality of the collegiality and of the internal debate, as a necessary way to get good decisions: “Do not shake the ship” was one of its principles. As far as the civil politics is concerned, the anti-corruption campaign has become popular, but it’s mainly a pretext to take down political opponents, corrupted or not.

Once understood the political character and ambition of Xi, it’s more simple to elicit the steps about the relationship with USA. But a premise is necessary. When CIA makes documents and reports for the strategy to be pursued in foreign policy, the time limit is about 2025; for China is 2050. This is the undeniable advantage of those who doesn’t have elections in the way. This must be taken into account.

Since Mao’s time, the chinese geopolitical strategy was based on keeping of a low profile and a prudent definition in pursuing personal interests. It is easy to see why. It’s better not to seem to be a potential threat for the world leadership, at the time when this threat is not strong enough. It must not give the impression that China was willing to undergo required from abroad. It has remained inflexible with its own regard to essential national interests. Instead, China answered to the external provocations with moderation.

Since Xi’s time, China has been speaking another language, by strengthening the military deterrence, and widening its “smart power”, operating either on the front of the hard power (increasing its military expenditure, first military base abroad, in Gibuti), or on the side of the soft power (improving its contribute for UN blue helmets). But in particular, Cina is aiming to geoeconomy in order to reinforce a neo-imperialism that could make it a focus of elaborated commercial network between Eurasia and Africa.

Last chapter of the rising was the Congress of the Communist Party of China that took place on 18 October until 24. It was the consecration of the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, which was inserted in the Constitution in line with “Mao Zedong Thought” and “Deng Xiaoping Theory”, and above the Hu Jintao’s “scientific development perspective” and Jiang Zemin’s “Important thought of the Three Representsa”.

 

One Belt One Road

The colossal chinese project reminds the ancient silk road through South-West Asia to achieve Europe. BRI: Belt and Road Initiative, or “One Belt One Road”. The impression is that China wants to make normal economical relationships very hard regardless of Beijing. This is the mark and supreme ambition of Xi’s Presidency.

The “Belt and Road Initiative” is a win-win cooperation, which promotes common development and prosperity, working on to build a community of shared interests, destinies and responsabilities, by strengthening a context of political trust, cultural exchange and economic integration.

“Belt” means “economic Belt of the silk road” and it will be developed on a rail routes, from China to Western Europe. We can define 3 geographical lines: the northern belt passing through central Asia, Russia, ending in Europe; the central belt crossing central Asia, western Asia, and then it bifurcates toward the Mediterranean sea and Persian gulf; the southern belt aiming to southern Asia, Indian ocean, crossing several countries like India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The first important difference between the new silk road and the legendary ancient silk road is that the latter aimed to Europe, and South-East Asia was only a dangerous transit route. Today, the Chinese belt offers equal plans either for European partners than Asiatics’. In fact, the most enthusiastic country is Pakistan.

This colossal commercial way also crosses shipping routes. “Road”, in fact, means “Shipping Silk Road of the 21st century”. It will be concentrate on the countries which border the Southern Chinese Sea, Southern Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean. Besides, one terrestrial way, across Pakistan, moves on shipping route that, via Arabic Peninsula, covers the entire Mediterranean.

In total the plan provides to involve 55% of world GDP, 70% of world population and 75% of known energy reserves. Obviously, it will be a very long project, that will last several decades. The completion would be 2049, an excellent way to celebrate the centenary of the Chinese Popular Republic.

 

Funds and strategy

Because of the huge sizes of the project, also the funds should be huge. So here’s where AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) comes into play, the chinese answer to World Bank and International Monetary Fund, both subjected to strategic choices of USA. Thanks to the essential infrastructural necessities of the Silk Road’s project and for the particular nature of AIIB, mainly aiming to financing of infrastructure projects, the 2 projects are sides of the same coin: with complementary functions and overlapping objectives. Imposing the Chinese influence on global governance is the main goal of these economic structures, promoted by the Celestial Empire.

And the USA? After that the Obama’s strategy of containment based on TPP, circling economically China, has been pushed back by Donald Trump, all the world is still waiting for the intentions of the former Tycoon, by clarifying international position and strategy, so far unpredictable. Even though the European countries have ignored the Obama’s require not to access to AIIB (today, even Italy, Germany, France, UK are considered founding countries), and the huge way out of the containment toward west and north, USA haven’t revealed all their tricks up the sleeve to defend the status quo. The future focus of the American strategic moves will be to distance in the time as much as possible the decline of the American Pax. Instead, China, doesn’t want the global leadership, and it would be unable to handle it. But the right to claim its influence in the international community, consecreting the Beijing Consensus and its own international economic network, will be required with increasingly assertiveness.