Sunday, September 16, 2018
Kerry B. Collison Asia News: China’s Grand Strategy: China’s Grand Strategy The first goal of all successive Chinese dynasties throughout the centuries was to gain and maintain control o...
China’s Grand Strategy
The first goal of all successive Chinese dynasties throughout the centuries was to gain and maintain control of the heartland (Han), the core of which consists of major Chinese rivers, is abundant with productive lands and is full of people. A further logical step is maintenance of influence over the buffer zones which surround the Han core and consist of mountainous regions to the west, desert lands to the north-west and impregnable forests to the south. The third major imperative was historically to protect China’s coastline from foreign powers. However, since this threat was quite rare in the ancient and medieval periods of Chinese history, the country did not see any need to develop powerful naval capabilities. The Yangtze and Yellow rivers, with surrounding fertile lands, produced enough to feed large numbers of population living in the Han core and as such, in an age without transcontinental trade routes and the only way to connect with the Middle East and Europe being the famous Silk Road, the geographic boundaries (mountains, jungles, deserts and the sea) from all sides made China essentially a closed country with self-sufficient economic means.
In other words, where previously China’s insularity was a geopolitical advantage rather than a significant constraint, from the late 20th century this was no longer the case. With international trade routes and various supply chains, China has to be open and, in many cases, rely upon raw materials brought from abroad via sea routes. Thence comes China’s fourth geopolitical imperative: protection of international trade lines and resource hubs. This will only be viable through two options: finding alternative land routes such as One Belt, One Road or by building a powerful military fleet capable of securing various resources and global supply chains across the Asia Pacific and elsewhere.
Building a powerful navy will mean collusion with the United States, whose world primacy rests upon domination of sea lines and relevant security alliances in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Any diminution of the US sea power will have a direct impact on the world order, considering the importance which Washington attaches to developments in foreign powers’ naval capabilities. Chinese naval technology may still be substantially behind current US capabilities. Indeed, the US has 11 aircraft carriers, while the Chinese only one (which still lacks an aircraft wing capable of operating off a carrier deck). However, the trends indicate that China has been making significant progress in the last several decades, as the country is rapidly developing new destroyers, amphibs, stealth fighters and long-range weapons. This could potentially expand expeditionary military operations around the globe.
China continues to construct an array of offensive and defensive capabilities to enable the PLA to gain maritime superiority within the first island chain in Asia pacific. Those are the islands which run from the Kurils, through Taiwan, to Borneo, roughly encompassing the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.
China’s broad range of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and launch platforms, as well as submarine launched torpedoes and naval mines, allow the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to create a lethal threat against enemies approaching Chinese waters and operating areas.
The PLAN continues to develop into a global force, gradually extending its operational reach beyond East Asia and the Indo-Pacific into a sustained ability to operate at increasingly longer ranges. The PLAN’s latest naval platforms enable combat operations beyond the reach of China’s land-based defenses.
Furthermore, the PLAN now has a sizable force of high-capability logistical replenishment ships to support long-distance, long-duration deployments, including two new ships being built specifically to support aircraft carrier operations. The expansion of naval operations beyond China’s immediate region will also facilitate non-war uses of military force.
The PLAN’s force structure continues to evolve, incorporating more platforms with the versatility for both offshore and long-distance power projection. China is engaged in series production of the LUYANG III-class DDG, the JIANGKAI II-class FFG, and the JIANGDAO-class FFL.
Even on the aircraft level, despite its numerical weaknesses, China continues to learn lessons from operating its only Ukraine-produced aircraft carrier, Liaoning. The Chinese first domestically produced aircraft carrier, launched in 2017, will be commissioned in 2019 (according to various sources this will be a multi-carrier force). China’s next generation of carriers will probably have greater endurance and be capable of launching more varied types of fixed-wing aircraft than Liaoning. There also comes PLAN Aviation’s progress on improving capabilities to conduct offensive and defensive offshore operations such as strike, air and missile defense, strategic mobility, and early warning and reconnaissance missions.
Overall, for the moment, the PLAN’s ability to perform missions beyond the first island chain is modest. What is important here is that the PLAN’s ability is constantly growing as it gains more experience operating in distant waters and acquires larger and more advanced technologies. The US will remain a dominant force in the coming decades, but Chinese successes cannot be underestimated.
Chinese naval successes, reflected in the recent congressional report, add to growing American fears that China might become a global competitor. Indeed, from the US perspective, what the Chinese are doing in Eurasia through its pivotal One Belt, One Road initiative, and various moves to influence Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is geopolitically important. From the US perspective, the Chinese are doing exactly what the Americans have been opposed to – solidifying one-country rule in Eurasia.
One thought on “China’s Grand Strategy – OpEd”
The writer is correct in China’s altered mindset in her national defense and offense operations on land and sea. However, as China was geographically isolated in the past up to the Russian and British penetrations on land and sea against China since the 17th century, and the over one hundred years of European, American and Japanese invasions, defeats and occupations for over one hundred years: China’s national mindset is totally different from the old inward looking, passive, non aggressive and non expansive thinking of the past. China today is a forward looking, combative, expansive, outward looking, innovative and with a formidable desire to catch up and surpass Europe and her descendants, including USA. As we all know in history there is no free lunch, all past arrangements by the superior powers will be redefined and rearranged by the on going power shifts, which goes on non stop indefinitely. China will not only challenge America in all areas and will certainly do all possible to surpass her. If one really studied Sun Tze’s Art of War well, one should without a doubt understand the principal of power shift as Sun Tze stated: “Water flows from higher level to lower levels, such as all superior powers attacks weaker powers and overtake them.” This is what China is aiming to do for the next few centuries with the non stop power shifts continues non stop indefinitely in our future. Siao Liu
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Party Vs Faith: China Drafts Restrictions For All ...: Party Vs Faith: China Drafts Restrictions For All Religions China intends to extend aspects of its crackdown on Islam in the north-w...
Party Vs Faith: China Drafts Restrictions For All Religions
China intends to extend aspects of its crackdown on Islam in the north-western province of Xinjiang to all religions as is evident from the publication of proposed restrictive guidelines for online religious activity.
The guidelines, according to Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times, would ban online religious services from “inciting subversion, opposing the leadership of the Communist Party, overthrowing the socialist system and promoting extremism, terrorism and separatism,” identified as the three evils China say it is combatting in Xinjiang.
The guidelines would also forbid livestreaming or broadcast of religious activity, including praying, burning incense, worshipping or baptism ceremonies in the form of text, photo, audio or video.
The guidelines, published on China’s legislative information website, are likely to be adopted after October 9 when the window for public comment closes.
The newspaper quoted Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference as saying that the guidelines were designed to regulate online religious information and protect the legal rights of religious people and religious freedom.
“Some organizations, in the name of religion, deliberately exaggerate and distort religious doctrine online, and some evil forces, such as terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, and cults, also attempt to expand their online influences,” Mr. Zhu said.
By applying the guidelines to all religions, the government hopes in part to take the sting out of an increasing number of media reports as well as assertions by the United Nations that its policy in Xinjiang involves massive violation of religious and human rights. China has denied any violations.
While the crackdown on Islam in Xinjiang is the most severe because of Chinese concerns about Uyghur nationalist aspirations as well as Islamization and Arabization, references to more conservative, if not ultra-conservative strands of Islam, and the potential return to Central Asia of militant Uyghur foreign fighters fleeing Syria and Iraq, it reflects a wider Chinese effort to control religion.
Similar to Xinjiang where Uyghurs report that mosques are being destroyed, authorities elsewhere in the country have destroyed what allegedly were ‘underground churches,’ including a massive evangelical church in China’s northern Shanxi province that services a congregation of 50,000.
A rare, mass protest last month by Hui Muslims, who together with Uyghur’s account for the bulk of China’s estimated 20 million Muslims, forced local authorities in the northern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to suspend plans to demolish a newly built mosque.
Former inmates of re-education camps as well as family members of detainees assert that re-education involves subjecting religious views to the precepts of the Communist party, putting allegiance to the party above that of God, and breaking with religious dietary rules and other Islamic legal requirements.
The drafting of the guidelines come as China is finding it increasingly difficult to keep a publicity lid on developments in Xinjiang. The Global Times announcement came a day after Human Rights Watch issued a damning report and two days after a detailed expose in The New York Times, part of a flurry of media and academic reports published despite probable Chinese efforts to suppress critical reporting where it can.
Independent Media, publisher of 18 major South African titles with a combined readership of 25 million, recently refused to publish a column by foreign affairs columnist Azad Essa on a United Nations report asserting that up to one million Uyghurs were being detained in the re-education camps. Mr. Essa was told his column had been discontinued because of a redesign of the groups’ papers and the introduction of a new system.
China International Television Corporation (CITVC ) and China-Africa Development Fund (CADFUND) own a 20 percent stake in Independent Media through Interacom Investment Holdings Limited, a Mauritius-registered vehicle. There was no immediate indication that Chinese stakeholders were responsible for the cancellation of Mr. Essa’s column.
China’s ability to keep its lid on the crackdown is nonetheless slipping. US officials said this week that the Trump administration, locked into a trade war with China, was considering sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies involved in Xinjiang in what would be the first US human rights-related measures against the People’s Republic.
The administration was also looking at ways to limit sales of US surveillance technology that could assist Chinese security agencies and companies in turning Xinjiang into a 21st century Orwellian surveillance state.
Deliberations about possible sanctions gained momentum after US Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the chair of the congressional committee, called for the sanctioning of Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary and Politburo member Chen Quanguo and “all government officials and business entities assisting the mass detentions and surveillance”. He also demanded that Chinese security agencies be added “to a restricted end-user list to ensure that American companies don’t aid Chinese human-rights abuses.”
With the media reporting and UN and US criticism putting pressure on the Islamic world to speak out, cracks are emerging in its wall of virtually absolute silence.
Rais Hussin, a supreme council member of Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) party and head of its Policy and Strategy Bureau, cautioned in an editorial this week against deportation of 11 Uyghurs wanted by China.
“Being friendly to China is a must, as China is a close neighbour of Malaysia. But it is also on this point that geographical proximity cannot be taken advantage by China to ride roughshod over everything that Malaysia holds dear, such as Islam, democracy, freedom of worship and deep respect for every country’s sovereignty… On its mistreatment of Muslims in Xinjiang almost en masse, Malaysia must speak up, and defend the most basic human rights of all,” Mr. Hussin said.
Mr. Hussin’s comments may not be that surprising given that Mr. Mahathir, since returning to power in May in an upset election, has emerged as a point man in a pushback by various nations against Chinese-funded, Belt and Road-related infrastructure projects that are perceived as risking unsustainable debt or being potential white elephants.
Mr. Mahathir has, since assuming office, suspended or cancelled US$26 billion in Chinese-funded projects in Malaysia.
Echoing Mr. Hussin’s statements, Ismailan, a Hui Muslim poet, posted pictures on Twitter of Bangladeshi Muslims protesting in the capital Dacca against the crackdown in Xinjiang.
“They are the first people of Islamic world to stand up for brothers and sisters in #china. Muslims, our fate is connected!” Ismailan tweeted, insisting that his opposition to the crackdown and “the use of concentration camps to solve the problem” did not amount to support for Uighur nationalism.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Kerry B. Collison Asia News: The Millennial Generation: Deciding Bloc In Indone...: The Millennial Generation: Deciding Bloc In Indonesia Elections? Indonesian millennials will determine the direction of the Indonesia...
The Millennial Generation: Deciding Bloc In Indonesia Elections?
Indonesian millennials will determine the direction of the Indonesian presidential election next year due to their significant population size (34%-50%). The presidential candidates who are able to think, absorb and accommodate their aspirations would probably be well placed to win.
Indonesia has taken the first step towards the 2019 presidential election by announcing the nominees for presidential and vice presidential candidates on 10 August 2018. The 2019 election is a re-run of the 2014 presidential election between Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto. President Joko, also known as Jokowi, has appointed as his running mate Ma’ruf Amin, a conservative cleric from the Council of Indonesian Ulama (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, MUI) with a Nahdaltul Ulama background. On his part, Prabowo has chosen Sandiaga Uno, an entrepreneur and former vice governor of the capital city of Jakarta.
Although the presidential election will be held in April 2019, the supporters of the two candidates have since nomination day aggressively started to canvas for votes especially in social media. The millennial voters are potential targets due their significant numbers and their prolific use of the social media.
The millennial population in Indonesia forms about 34.5% – 50% (ages 15-35). This is a very significant size and therefore a clear target group to win over. However, are both contenders aware and familiar with the aspirations of the millennial generation?
A strong characteristic of the millennials is their high literacy and engagement in the Internet. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and University of Berkeley in their 2011 research American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation identify the strong face of American millennials as digital natives. Some 57% of American millennials are among the first group who try new technology. Their online activity in uploading and making contents whether photos, blog, micro-blog, and others is high: 60%, compared to the non-millennials at 29%.
Research done in 2016 by Indonesia’s Alvara Research Centre indicates that Indonesian millennials have almost similar characteristics to their American counterparts. Indonesian millennials utilise digital sources to know and understand politics with a reliance on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LINE-channels (instead of WhatsApp) shaping their perceptions on politics. Competing presidential candidates who practise textbook politics now need to get to grips with this new political phenomenon to achieve success
A perspective that Indonesian millennials embrace is whether or not politics are useful for their immediate needs, their innovative imagination and creativity. Idealism in politics, meaning a full commitment to political ideology whether it is leftist, Islamist or liberal, is not a common perspective among the politics of millennials. Millennials consider politics in terms of the concrete and direct impact for them.
The Indonesian media often portrays the country’s millennial generation as pragmatic people, and less interested in political idealism, by presenting the image of young successful professionals with breakthrough and smart business innovation such as the founders of Gojek and Tokopedia. Young politicians are hardly covered in the media as the representatives of the millennial generation. However, despite their pragmatism, Indonesian millennials are not apolitical.
In fact, the Indonesian Muslim millennials are very critical of the current ruling administration as evident in their prominence in the #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident) movement. They do join in the movement, although sometimes they join without thinking about what is the next precise agenda. Presidential candidates should recognise this trend and find ways to transform their political strategies.
Importance of Religion
The Pew Research Centre survey discovered that African-American millennials are more religious than their peers. This survey is interesting because it mirrors the general inclination of Indonesian millennials. Indonesian millennial Muslims preserve and have a deep commitment to their Islamic doctrines.
However, in studying religion, they draw materials from online sources rather than from authoritative institutions and experts knowledgeable in the study of religion. There is a tendency for them to be attracted to conservative groups of the Islamic congregation. Many newly established-Islamic congregations have a membership base dominated by the millennial generation.
This tendency is quite alarming for the future of moderation in Indonesian Islam, therefore, both Jokowi and Prabowo should approach these groups, not only to win their hearts and minds but also to steer Indonesian Islam on the path of moderation.
Expecting More Positive Role
There is an assumption that the millennials will not use their rights to vote in the 2019 presidential election due their apolitical attitudes. This assumption could not be used as a reason to ignore their significance. It will be a big loss for Indonesia if both Jokowi and Prabowo disregard the influence of the millennials in the 2019 presidential election. How can democracy be preserved in a situation in which the significant number of Indonesian citizens are politically indifferent?
How will the two presidential candidates shape their campaign strategies to reach out to the millennials for the legislative and presidential elections? The participation of the millennials in the coming elections – both in the legislative and presidential contests — is needed to sustain democracy.
*Syafiq Hasyim is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. This is part of an RSIS series on the 2019 Indonesian presidential election.
Monday, September 10, 2018
Kerry B. Collison Asia News: China’s Dark Secret Is Out, But The World Is Silen...: China’s Dark Secret Is Out, But The World Is Silent While the horrific stories of China’s re-education programme have uncovered the r...
China’s Dark Secret Is Out, But The World Is Silent
While the horrific stories of China’s re-education programme have uncovered the rampant assault on the identity and culture of the Uyghur Muslims, the reactions from the Muslim world are largely muted.
The western press is abuzz with stories about the “cultural cleansing” orchestrated by the Communist Party in Xinjiang region of China. While the horrific stories of China’s re-education programme have uncovered the rampant assault on the identity and culture of the Uyghur Muslims, the reactions from the Muslim world are largely muted. The spiral of silence is not limited to the Muslim community, it spans across the world to democratic countries like India where the voices for human rights and freedom are also mute.
As per media reports, the Uyghurs are detained in re-education camps where they are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. They are coerced to criticise and denounce their own ethnic group and belief system, coupled with the indoctrination to accept the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) ideology. This process is rampant across the Xinjiang region where one million Uyghurs are detained in the camps, according to estimates of the United Nations. The Chinese government is spending an immense amount of money on building new camps and security infrastructure in the region. In the eyes of party propagandists, these camps are similar to hospitals for the treatments of an “ideological illness.” The torture in these re-education camps has, in many cases, led to the death of detainees but so far there is no estimate of a death toll.
One news report quotes a party official saying: “Ideological illnesses are the same as physical illnesses, in that they must be treated in time, and should never be ignored and allowed to become serious. Otherwise, later we will regret it, as it will be too late.. Being infected by religious extremism and violent terrorist ideology and not seeking treatment is like being infected by a disease that has not been treated in time, or like taking toxic drugs.”
There is, in fact, a significant influence of religious extremism and radicalization in Xinjiang, but the Communist Party is holding the entire population of this ethnic minority with separatist tendencies hostage in the name of religious extremism. China’s reaction is out of proportion and has faced severe criticism from the UN and American officials. What started as a campaign to eradicate extremist elements in the region has now become a widespread campaign to culturally integrate the Uyghurs.
Xinjiang, the largest province of China, covers an area of 1,660,000 sq km, and has a population of around 22 million. Aksai Chin, a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by China is part of the same region and shares borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries. Uyghurs are one of the 55 officially recognised minority groups in China and constitute 45 percent of the Xinjiang population.
While the ethnic minority is at the receiving end of the worst form of persecution, the world does not bat an eye.
China’s all-weather friend Pakistan has not deemed it right to raise a voice for the Uyghurs. Pakistanis have, in their self-proclamations, shown great zeal defending, supporting and protecting Muslims across the world. Be it the cause of Palestinians, the persecution of Rohingyas or any other issue of Muslims, Pakistanis are always on the forefront.
However, in the case Uyghur Muslims the trumpet has lost the sound. Not just the government of Pakistan but also the people of Pakistan, including the liberals and Mullahs are on the same page. Their silence has given a tacit approval to the persecution of Uyghurs and thus become a passive accomplice of China.
On the other hand, the Muslim world has also been conspicuously silent, a hypocrisy quite similar to that of Pakistan. The Arab world, owing to vested interests, has seemingly ignored the fact that one million Muslims are being forced into camps to cleanse their belief in Islam. In fact, the Chinese authorities have declared them a disease suffering with “ideological illness” to justify torture and forceful indoctrination.
This selective outrage is another indicator of how the champions of the Islamic cause can betray an ethnic Muslim community, for their own stakes. Islamists, who are known for decreeing against the persecution of Muslims, seem unfazed by the plight of Uyghurs.
Similarly, no one is outraged in India. China has in the past, needled India on the Kashmir issue, but India could respond in equal measure by raising the persecution of Uyghurs at the diplomatic level. After the Doklam crisis, New Delhi has avoided antagonizing Beijing. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the Indian government will voice concerns on the issue.
In the past, the champions of human rights and civil liberties in India have raised an empathetic cry in favour of the Rohingyas, and organised demonstrations in favour of the Palestinians, and most recently, on the issue of shifting the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The Left in India has advocated for many global causes and has always walked hand-in-hand with the Muslims of the country, to raise a voice against the wrongful persecution of Muslims. Yet, both the Left and Muslims in India are abnormally silent on the issue.
China is setting a dangerous precedent in Xinjiang. It is imperative for the global Muslim community and human rights defenders to treat the Palestinians, Rohingyas and Uyghurs on an equal pedestal, and impose pressure on Beijing to stop its evil campaign in Xinjiang.
By Khalid Shah
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Kerry B. Collison Asia News: China’s Maritime Silk Road Strategically Impacts I...: China’s Maritime Silk Road Strategically Impacts Indo-Pacifc Security – Analysis China’s Maritime Silk Road projects underway in the ...
China’s Maritime Silk Road Strategically Impacts Indo-Pacifc Security – Analysis
China’s Maritime Silk Road projects underway in the last two years emerges as a direct strategic and military challenge to the Indo Pacific Security Template adopted by the United States, India and Japan as it aims to establish a China-dominated maritime grid spanning the maritime global commons of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean region.
Security and stability in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean Region are essential imperatives for the overall security and stability of the vast Indo Pacific Region spanning the Western Pacific and encompassing the Western Indian Ocean. China has already been successful in converting the South China Sea into a regional and global flashpoint and now by its attempts for an intrusive presence in the Indian Ocean is likely to generate similar ‘flashpoint contours’.
The United States and India along with Japan and Australia have legitimate security stakes in ensuring the freedom of navigation and unimpeded access in the global commons that constitute the vast maritime expanses of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Strategic convergences which flow from this strategic convergence should bind the United States, India, Japan and Australia to band together and ensure that the ‘freedom of the high seas’ is ensured.
China’s Maritime Silk Road enterprise is not an economic response but a strategic and military response to the United States ‘Strategic Pivot to Asia Pacific’ and India’s ‘Look East Policy’ assuming more proactive contours as ‘Act East Policy’ incorporating Indian Navy presence in the South China Sea and Western Pacific. China if it was a responsible member of group of Major Global Powers should have collaborated with them in maintaining security and stability in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Regrettably, its demonstrated track record was the opposite and hence invited countermeasures.
China forgets that the above-mentioned strategic responses by the United States and India and which find equal resonance with Japan and Australia were the logical responses to China’s not so benign military rise and China’s aims to evict the United States from the Western Pacific and a double encirclement of India both in the Himalayan Borders in the North and open a new maritime flank in the South in the Indian Ocean.
In an overall calibrated maritime strategy China commenced its opening moves in the South China Sea in the closing years of the last decade and is now assiduously engaged in challenging the status quo in the Indian Ocean Region. China’s track record in illegal military occupation of the South China Sea by aggressive military brinkmanship and over-militarisation there has put the Major Global Powers on notice in terms of China’s real strategic intentions.
China’s ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ of the South China Sea not only endangers the survival of US Allies in the region like Japan and South Korea but also of Vietnam and the Philippines which have suffered unprovoked Chinese aggression in the form of their island territories being forcibly occupied and transformed into fortified Chinese military bases.
China’s intrusive naval presence in the Indian Ocean commenced with its participation in international naval patrols in the Gulf of Aden to prevent Somali piracy. Soon under cover of these naval patrols China added prowling of the Indian Ocean in the Arabian Sea segment of Chinese nuclear submarines. Surely, Chinese nuclear submarines were not required to fight Somali pirates.
China also displays double standards in terms of designation of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. China scoffs at any attempts to rename the South China Sea as it denotes China’s sovereignty over this international waterway but has no qualms in making demands that the Indian Ocean be renamed as presumably there is no ‘Chinese Ocean’.
With Chinese naval ambitions clear in terms of its strategy to dominate the Indian Ocean in much the same way as it has perpetrated in the South China Sea alarm bells should be ringing primarily in Washington and in New Delhi, bedsides Western Europe and Asian capitals.
China’s Maritime Silk Road blueprint poses a bigger strategic challenge to Indo Pacific Security when to its maritime grid are added the North-South Belt & Road strategic feeders like the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and China’s push for a parallel Corridor emanating from Yunnan and traversing the length of Myanmar. These corridors are duplicitously termed as Economic Corridors aimed at economic development of the host countries but in actual effect they are Strategic Highways giving China access to the Indian Ocean through the North Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
China’s Maritime Silk Road project is intended to add flesh and substance to China’s global maritime ambitions as enshrined in China’s Maritime Strategy Doctrine unveiled in 2015. China realised that China devoid of China’s naval presence in ‘Distant Seas’ can never aspire to demand the recognition and respect of being a Global Power.
China’s burning ambition to emerge as a Global Power and seek ‘Strategic Equivalence’ with the United States stand discussed in Chapters 12 to 14 of my Book: ‘China-India Military Confrontation: 21st Century Perspectives (2016)
China adopting the old colonial British practise of global naval presence via the establishment of logistics refuelling stations at strategic naval locations and control of strategic choke points initially put into place its naval strategy of ‘String of Pearls’ which the Indian strategic community viewed it as the encirclement of India. Strategic encirclement of India it was but China had a larger strategic design in the initial stages itself.
China’s long term strategic thinking surpasses those of United States and India and this can be gleaned from a documented fact that China soon after 1949 initiated preparatory moves for China acquiring nuclear submarines despite the fact that at that stage China had not even mastered the intricacies of producing a nuclear bomb. It is with such a background that the United States, India, Japan and West European countries should at this stage be wide awake to the long-term Chinese strategic naval ambitions.
Emphasis is not required to highlight how critical it is that the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean which will see the main traverse of China’s Maritime Silk Road remain as free global commons permitting free flow of maritime trade and traffic unimpeded by controls sought to be established like China has attempted to impose in the South China Sea. How the major powers like the United States. India and Japan should proceed ahead in this direction will be discussed later on in this Paper. But first, a few notable observations need to be made.
China’s Maritime Silk Road has not drawn any notable support from any advanced major Powers whose trade and commerce use the sea-lanes that pass through these maritime expanses. India stands out so far as the notable abstention in lending its support to the China Maritime Silk Road and also the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Indian PM Modi even at international meets in China has refused to budge from India’s refusal as this has severe strategic implications for India,
India should never lend its support to China’s such encircling projects despite any political overtures from China.
The second notable point is that economically viable and strong Asian nations along the maritime and land routes of China’s so-called economic development routes have joined China’s One Belt One Road projects. Asian nations like Pakistan, Myanmar, Maldives and Sri Lanka have been exploited by China with massive investments for associated infrastructure but at exorbitant interest rates pulling these countries into severe ‘Debt Traps’ converting these countries into Chinese colonial entities like Pakistan.
China’s establishment of a naval base at Djibouti is a case in point as to the evolving and expanding blueprint of Chinse Maritime Strategy.
China’s access and investments in these ports like Gwadur in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka and in Maldives facilitate use of such ports as logistics support staging points for the Chinese Navy to expand its naval sway over these maritime expanses. With passage of time and these host nations drowning further into the Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Chinese demands for berthing of Chinese Navy ships and nuclear submarines would be an expected demand.
Another point of note in relation to the Chinese Maritime Silk Road geographical configuration has been enlarging by the day with China enticing more and more economically weak nations into its fold.
Moving to the strategic implications of China’s Maritime Silk Road on the security and stability of the Indo Pacific let us first begin briefly with the impact on the United States which is not only even now as the sole Superpower straddling the globe but also has vital geopolitical and geostrategic stakes in the Western Pacific more pointedly.
China’s associated moves in the Western Pacific impacting the United States stand analysed in a number of my SAAG Papers in the past. Suffice it to state that China has tried to achieve multiple strategic objectives by illegal military occupation of the South China Sea and ensuring ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ militarily. China has manged to limit US Air-Sea Doctrine of close-in military interventions against China. China has achieved the military capability for initial impeding of US Navy transference of its Fleets from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean and vice versa. China is in a position to strangulate Japanese and South Korean economies. Lastly, this puts in place an overall cumulative Chinese strategy of prompting the United States to make a military exit from the Western Pacific.
The impact on India of this Chinese strategy encompasses a much wider strategic field because China is in direct military confrontation with India along India’s Northern Borders with China Occupied Tibet. With India no military pushover for China there is a need for China to open another front against India on its Southern Flank, namely the Indian Ocean. China’s intrusive and expanding naval presence in the Indian Ocean facilitated by Pakistan’s complicity and reinforced by China’s CPEC project is in effect turning the Western Flanks of India’s security.
China is more strategically concerned that the Indian Ocean unlike India’s Himalayan Frontiers is one area where India finds strong support from the United States, Japan, and Australia and West European countries in terms of strategic convergences. Al these countries support India’s efforts to ensure that the Indian Ocean does not get transformed into a maritime expanse where China succeeds in establishing naval dominance. This strategic convergence that India enjoys of Global Major Powers is extremely galling for China. Chapter 7 of my Book referred above examines ths aspect in detail.
This enrages China even more when it is considered that China has not been able to muster support from any leading Major Powers around the globe. Obviously, these Powers are fully aware that China’s stated motives for the Maritime Silk Road do not match China’s underlying strategic intentions as borne out by China’s demonstrated record in the South China Sea.
The crucial question that next arises is if Indo Pacific Security is in danger of being adversely impacted by China’s grandiose designs of spreading its tentacles both on the High Seas and on the Central Asian landmass, then what logical steps can the United States, India and Japan and Australia can undertake to checkmate China?
With Russia acquiescing with China’s military adventurism camouflaged in economic terms simply because it pits China against the United States—-a ‘No Cost Low Risk’ option for Russia, no assistance can be expected from Russia even when China is muscling into Russian turf in the Central Asian Republics.
Strong imperatives therefore exist for the United States,, India, Japan and Australia besides other Asian nations on China’s peripheries to cooperate intensely to ensure that both the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean are kept free from any sort of Chinese-generated turbulence or disruptive activities. It also implies that China’s propensity to exploit the economic weaknesses of smaller nations in the region is not allowed to fructify. Capacity –building of such nations both in the economic spheres ad the military realm would be a priority.
The China Threat to peace and stability in the Indo Pacific Region manifesting itself in China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean requires a strong combination of geopolitical, military and economic responses by the United States, India, Japan and Australia as the relatively more powerful nations. These responses need to be coordinated and integrated for a powerful cumulative deterrence.
The Quadrilateral Initiative amongst these four countries is one excellent move which combines the geopolitical, military and economic strengths of the United States, India, Japan and Australia. In this grouping India has been diffident weighed down by Indian policy establishment’s deference to China’s sensitivities. This should be immediately dispensed with as correspondingly China has never respected India’s strategic sensitivities.
The United States and Japan are engaged in FONOPS Naval patrols in the South China Sea and West European countries and Australia are soon to join in. India does maintain a rotational naval presence in these waters but it is held back from joining in Joint Naval Patrolling. Perhaps here too India’s diffidence because of the Chinese Factor overhang, India could join in if the United Nations takes a lead in organising international patrolling of the South China Sea.
Repeated many times in my past writings is the simple fact that India cannot maintain the Indian Ocean as “Indian” within its own naval capabilities. India needs the United States, Japan and Australian Navies besides those of France and UK to ensure that the Indian Ocean is kept free of China’s domination strategies.
While the United States has put into operation geopolitical and military moves to cater for the emerging China Threat in international maritime expanses of the Indo Pacific, India is yet to be fully seized with proactively responding to the Chinese naval threat on its Southern Flank. India leads long lead times to build up her military strengths dissipated by India’s neglect of the nation’s ‘War Preparedness’ by the previous ruling dispensation. India also stands mistakenly deceived by China’s spasmodic political reachout to India confusing India’s responses.
In Conclusion, I would like to emphasise that India as the pivot in the Indo Pacific Security Template led by the United States needs to be alive to playing its pivotal role to the hilt. Playing a pivotal role expected from her by the United States and India’s other Asian strategic partners involve a necessary dispensing of India’s strategic diffidence in coming to grip s squarely with threats to Indo Pacific Security. Needless to state, that India is more affected by emerging threats. And, the last point in conclusion is that India does not lose her ‘strategic autonomy’ by strategic partnering against emerging threats.
By Dr Subhash Kapila
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Word of warning "Love of Books Self Publishing Gol...: Word of warning "Love of Books Self Publishing Gold Coast Queensland" founder as complaints dog self-publisher and convicted f...
Word of warning "Love of Books Self Publishing Gold Coast Queensland" founder as complaints dog self-publisher and convicted fraudster
'We publish some amazing stories,'' Julie Marie McGregor once boasted of her business providing specialist services for people with dreams of publishing their first books.
But the do-it-yourself publishing entrepreneur has an incredible story of her own involving bankruptcy, fraud and a string of complaints from disgruntled clients from Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the ACT stretching back more than three years.
The law caught up with McGregor on November 1, 2017, when a Southport magistrates court convicted her of three counts of dishonestly gaining thousands of dollars from three restaurants using fraudulent credit cards. She was handed a nine-month suspended sentence for what the prosecution said was a "calculated, fraudulent activity, not once but three times".
Acting magistrate Gary Finger described McGregor as "certainly naive to say the least" for her role in the complex fraud, in which she booked restaurant functions on fraudulent credit cards and then persuaded the restaurant owners to pay for non-existent florists and limousine services. A sobbing McGregor was told she would face jail time if she came before the courts again.
The undischarged bankrupt presented herself as a model businesswoman who had built her online publishing service from scratch only to emotionally fall apart following the death of her husband in 2015.
The English-born pensioner claimed to have been targeted online and convinced against her better judgment to transfer the illicitly-gained money into other accounts for which she was entitled, but rarely took, a 10 per cent commission. At the time she was grief-stricken, was downing a bottle of Bacardi a day in the months after her husband's death and was easily manipulated, her lawyer said.
But a number of former customers have come forward to the Sun-Herald to reveal the loss of their hard-earned savings for books they ordered from McGregor's do-it-yourself publishing business but never received, which arrived too late for book launches or were so amateurishly produced they were unsaleable.
It was McGregor who dealt exclusively with a Melbourne high school whose parents spent $10,000 to produce a cookbook as a Christmas fundraiser in 2016.
The school, which does not want to be named, paid a $4000 deposit raised from local sponsors plus a further $6000 to McGregor's business, Love of Books Brisbane, to print 1000 copies of recipe favourites.
To date the fundraisers say they have not received a single copy of the book, which was to have been delivered four weeks after the supply of artwork and content in September 2016.
"Ms McGregor was incredibly encouraging and promised the world initially," a parent said. "But it wasn't long before the relationship felt uneasy. It was erratic and inadequate. Work would come back poorly done, with corrections not addressed. She would be uncontactable for days. It took me 2½ weeks to get them to settle on a font while she made a litany of excuses and apportioned blame back on the school.
"Ms McGregor was the only person you could ever get on the phone, she was the only person who was ever there. She was frequently irrational and emotionally aggressive to deal with. It was a nightmare."
Prospective author Graeme Allan fell out with McGregor over his feelgood fairytale for children and adults that had been 10 years in the making.
Allan flew to the Gold Coast in 2016 to meet McGregor at her home and handed over cheques for $4950 to start the edit and proofreading.
After the edited manuscript was returned with grammar and spelling errors and Allan received no assistance to manage the difficult self-publishing process as promised, he notified McGregor he was terminating the contract and demanded a refund. He has yet to receive one.
Word of caution
Since the arrival of Amazon's Kindle and the e-book, it's never been easier for authors to get published – or burnt, says Juliet Rogers, executive officer of the Australian Society of Authors.
Beguiled by the chance to see their work in print and inexperienced in the industry, first-time writers are paying thousands of dollars for editing, print and website services with little scrutiny of contracts or knowledge of the services they are purchasing, Rogers says.
The high costs involved in taking a case to court, combined with the inherent risks of defamation, mean the majority of writers are unable to take the matter any further when contracts fail to live up to expectations.
Disaffected clients claim they handed over sums ranging from $2000 to $12,000 since 2013 and as recently as late 2016 to entities including Love of Books Brisbane and Books Publishing Services Australia. The projects have ranged from historical research and commercial fiction to travel guides.
Another complainant is a Queensland debut novelist who unsuccessfully claimed a partial refund when the deadline for her fantasy fiction "was exceeded, my manuscript edited with no permission or tracking to show where the edits took place, no finished product and then I had to pay someone else to edit it again from scratch".
The writer says she is still owed $4000 and has not heard a word from McGregor since she was promised the refund in August 2016. At that time, she was not advised that McGregor was a bankrupt.
"The first time I made contact with Julie she informed me she was 'one' of the directors and the middle man – she didn't do any of the work herself – that she had multiple 'professionals' she used in all different areas of publishing to get my book from A to Z. I later found out these were friends and family friends.''
Melbourne author Dean Munro signed up with McGregor a year out of university in 2014.
Having studied at RMIT University with the support of seven scholarships, and acquired a property portfolio worth more than a million dollars, Munro wanted to sing of his success in a how-to book for like-minded entrepreneurs.
He was persuaded to self-publish by a friend. More control, an easier path to publication, he was told.
Munro paid $11,850 up front to McGregor of Love of Books Self Publishing, to proofread, edit, format and typeset the manuscript and print 1000 copies of his 350-page title Breaking the Chains, as well as to set up and host a website and prepare an e-book file.
The Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal subsequently ordered McGregor to refund Munro $10,488, finding she was in fundamental breach of the contract and the "applicant did not get the quality or integrity of that which had been represented he would receive and for which he paid".
Those breaches included printing books that were unusable for sale, that contained spelling errors and had inferior binding.The website didn't have plug-ins for PayPal and credit cards and had no search engine optimisation.
Munro is listed among creditors with claims against the bankrupt estate of McGregor.
The Australian Financial Security Office recently notified Munro that its investigations to date had not been able to result in the "realisation of assets" and that in "the absence of funding and/or evidence provided by creditors", it "did not intend to devote additional resources to investigate further".
Ian Lewis, the director of Love of Books Australia-Wide, a separate entity, said he purchased the domain name and was given the McGregor-run websites and client list in November 2016. It was his own business name under his own ABN.
As such he is not responsible to refund the school or any other complainants for any failures that occurred before this time.
In response to a series of questions put by the Sun-Herald, McGregor conceded the school was entitled to a refund of $8000, less $2000 discount she gave for book formatting.
She said she had kept the order in a state of suspension so the school would not lose the deposit owed to the overseas printer.
"Of course I want them paid. Why wouldn't I? I did ring the school and ask for bank details so that I could do regular payments."
In earlier correspondence before her court hearing, McGregor said: "There is no way I would want anyone's money. Working with overseas suppliers especially China to get funds returned is a case of swap really. They don't like to let go of money.
"Late launches are a product of this industry. Why? Because clients need to ensure their book launch date coincides with the delivery of the books.
"If clients make too many changes to their book file contents it causes delays all round throughout this industry worldwide. However I have continually worked, even around the clock, to assist meet deadlines within logical reason on many occasions."
Apart from Munro, the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal has awarded two other authors refunds amounting to $4445.
Carmel Charlson was one who got most of her refund. Having gone through the process she understands why most people give up: "They usually win the case but lose the battle as the process is so convoluted for the average citizen."
McGregor disagrees with the findings of the Queensland Civil Claims Tribunal against her in the case of Dean Munro and has attempted to reopen the findings three times and unsuccessfully appealed once.
Munro understands there is little hope of getting his money back but wants his experience to stand as a warning to others.
The Arts Law Centre says writers need to be careful entering into financial arrangements with self-publishers.
The greatest potential for dispute arose around online publishers who offered services to print, distribute and promote an author's work, and questions of copyright, reprints and royalties. Under some terms of agreement, authors had found they were obliged to purchase copies of their own printed book at retail prices.
"Often, unfortunately, the writer is coming to us after they've signed a contract and things haven't gone the way they hoped they would," the centre's chief executive Robyn Ayres says.
Following the collapse of the unrelated JoJo Publishing in 2015, in which liquidators estimated more than 50 authors were owed money, the Australian Publishers Association began to develop a code of conduct for members, setting out their obligations to clients.
The code requires members not to partake in conduct that brings embarrassment to the industry or the association and not purposely or inadvertently to defraud authors by making false promises or unrealistic claims, particularly in regards to sales potential and distribution.
Linda Morris Sydney Morning Herald