Tuesday, December 19, 2017

China just pulled off the most successful foreign policy act in Africa in decades...and no one is noticing...

via The New York Times.
As the line of Chinese-made armored vehicles rumbled into Harare last month, Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old dictator, Robert Mugabe, must have wondered what happened to the “all-weather friendship” Beijing always said they shared. For nearly four decades, Mugabe had been one of China’s staunchest allies. His “Look East” policy signaled Africa’s economic shift away from the West toward the rising superpower. Yet as the bloodless coup against him unfolded, Beijing offered no words of support or sympathy. Instead, there was silence — until afterward, when President Xi Jinping of China rushed to congratulate Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The circumstances surrounding the end of Mugabe’s 37-year reign are the stuff of spy novels: a high-level meeting in Beijing four days earlier, the armed showdown at Harare airport, the old dictator’s last-ditch attempt to assert his authority. But the episode also tells a tale of China’s evolving relationship with the world it is shaping through loans, trade and investments. In an era when the United States seems to be on the retreat — notice the absence of Americans from this story — it can be easy to shrug off China’s advance as another instance of its rapid, ineluctable expansion. But the fall of Mugabe, a charismatic despot who drove his economy to ruin, shows how Beijing is learning to navigate, very carefully, through turbulent transitions in places where it has deep economic ties, sometimes decades old, and how countries bend to the arc of China’s gravity.
Story here. 

This is the most ominous development for the US in more than a decade.  As horrific as 9/11 was...as tragic as all the deaths and wasted treasure in the middle east is...as worrying as N. Korea's and Iran's push for nuclear weapons are....

China solving the "soft power" problem is what will threaten US supremacy into the future (along with their massive military buildup).

It's down played in the story but China just accomplished an internal coup.

Think about it like this.  Let's say country X has both Chinese and US military bases on its shores (not hard to imagine...but let's play the game).  China uses its soft power in ways we can't right now (because they haven't wasted money in the middle east for over 20 years, don't have to worry about rebuilding infrastructure at home because they've always done it and don't have citizens crying for more because the Chinese have a cultural belief that they owe the state as much as the state owes them) by buidling roads, bridges etc in that country.

China sees the US attempting to prop up country X's current ruler with increased arms sales.

China sees all this, meets with a junior officer or two on their base, a coup is started and the leader that we had been backing is removed.  One year later the lease is called on our base and we're ejected while China falls in on the stuff that we built...to include the McDonald's that they reflag into the Chinese version and operate as normal.

China has solved the puzzle and we better get harder faster or we're gonna be roadkill.

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