by Dr. A. Adityanjee : 27-Dec-2022
Following the 20th party congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping consolidated his position as the core leader or the paramount leader for life of the Chinese communist party. In a highly scripted, staged and choreographed act, he humiliated publicly his predecessor Hu Jintao. By doing so, Xi achieved his twin objectives of silencing domestic critics and signaling to the international community that he is in absolute and total control. Since becoming the party chairman in 2012, Xi has systematically eliminated his political rivals. Starting with the life imprisonment in 2013 of Bo Xilai, the charismatic party chief of Chongqing on corruption and embezzlement charges, Xi Jinping has either executed or imprisoned his potential challengers irrespective of fact whether they were princelings or from the communist youth league faction (CYL) or the Shanghai clique. He had worked hard since 2017 to eliminate the two term limits that were placed by Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin for orderly succession of leadership in the CCP.
Xi Jinping fancies himself as the modern-day divine emperor of China, the real son of heaven or Devaraja. However, Xi’s megalomania does not end here. His China dream enunciated in 2013 envisages the middle kingdom repossessing its ancient glory with all other states as vassal states or supplicants. Xi Jinping views himself as the core leader of the entire world or the supreme emperor of the world. In his megalomania, Xi believes that is he is on a divine mission to rule not only China but the entire world.
Xi is very astute and has learnt all the right lessons from Putin’s mistakes. Traditionally, the CCP has learnt from the mistakes of the Soviet Communist Party. Soviet leader Gorbachev introduced both Glasnost and Perestroika at the same time resulting in dissolution of the Soviet empire. CCP mandarins learnt from that mistake and adopted Perestroika without adopting Glasnost and fended off the people’s revolution and democratic uprisings in Tiananmen square in 1989 and also in later years. Similarly, Xi Jinping learnt from Putin’s example of subverting the Russian constitution to make him President for life. By eliminating term limits and by eliminating his domestic rivals under anti-corruption drive, Xi Jinping has ensured that there is no credible challenge to him in the CCP. With Jiang Zemin deceased and Hu Jintao publicly humiliated, all other mandarins quietly fell in line. Observers believe that Xi will not relinquish political power till he dies because he is very afraid of his personal security and safety. The lurking fear in his mind is of being arrested or assassinated by his successor if he were to retire earlier. He has become paramount leader of the Communist China for life.
Questions are being asked if Xi Jinping will invade Taiwan soon or learn from Putin’s misadventure in Ukraine. It is not a question of if; it isa question of when! Xi will act surely and invade Taiwan but at the time of his choosing when other nations are preoccupied with some serious international crisis. With Putin’s blunder in Ukraine, Xi Jinping is likely to bide for his time. There will not be an immediate invasion and occupation of Taiwan. Xi is likely to wait till 2026-2027 when the current focus on Ukraine has died down, and the US is entering another messy presidential election contest with possibly a lame-duck president in office. Successful invasion of Taiwan will bolster his domestic credentials for another five years’ term in 2027. Meanwhile psychological warfare, air and ocean boundary violations and intimidation of Taiwan will continue while China builds up its lethal arsenal.
As usual, Xi Jinping will not stop playing the “Salami Slicing” games on the LAC with democratic India and then ask for a “mutual compromise”. The recent incidents of intrusion and illegal occupation in Dokalam trijunction in 2017, Galwan valley (2020) and more recently in Yangtse region of Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh are indicative of a sustained pattern of Chinese expansionist behavior. The PLA transgression in Yangtze plateau is an annual affair, since the PLA intruded into Somdorong Chu in 1986-87, as a part of Chinese plan to show that the territory is disputed. Just like the then Indian Army Chief Gen K Sundarji launched a counter to Somdorong Chu without even informing the then government, the Indian Army this time too was prepared for the PLA and repelled them. Chairman Mao wanted Chinese expansion southward with Tibet as the palm of its hand and five fingers (Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, formerly NEFA) under Chinese control. Xi believes that he is the true inheritor of Mao’s legacy. China under Xi Jinping will not settle the larger boundary issue with India on the LAC because it suites them to keep India rattled and on tenterhooks.
Therefore, we will not witness any change in Chinese expansionist behavior till India improves her comprehensive national power (CNP) and military strength at par with China. There is no other way of engaging China except from position of strength. All the Indian Prime Ministers since 1947 including the current one, have been naïve enough to believe in rationality of the CCP leadership willing to accommodate a democratic India. India is the last bulwark against an authoritarian China that prevents it from achieving total hegemony in Asia. It is well-known that Chinese spies masquerade as journalists and Buddhist monks in India. China has infiltrated a large section of civic society and Indian polity. Chinese secret societies and international networks are well-known historically. Multiple acts of industrial sabotage have been done in India to safeguard and promote Chinese business interests. There have been cyberattacks on Mumbai electric grid and AIIMS, New Delhi electronic medical records. A strike by communist party supported employees’ union in a Taiwanese-owned Foxconn chip factory in Bengaluru was orchestrated to prevent India from emerging as a major chip manufacturer. During the 2nd wave of the Wuhan Virus epidemic, there was an unexplained fire in the Pune plant of the privately owned Serum Institute of India apparently to halt the production of Covi-shield vaccine in India.
Communist parties and their cultural outfits in India have traditionally been the mouthpieces of the CCP. India faces a situation that a prominent Indian political party still has not made public the contents of a secret memorandum of understanding signed with the CCP in 2008 under the watchful eyes of Xi Jinping, who happened to be China’s Vice-President at the time. Analogous to bribing all the third world leaders through BRI projects, CCP did bribe the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation with political donations to conduct research to promote India-China bilateral trade. During the Dokalam crisis, scion of a political family-owned firm was secretly dining with the Chinese ambassador in the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. He and his party initially denied this infamous dinner till the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi spilled the beans. The same worthy had unauthorized meetings with the CCP leadership during an ostensibly staged “pilgrimage” to Mount Kailash in Tibet though the pilgrimage was given up halfway following these political meetings. Fifth generation descendants of the Nehru-Gandhi family are now openly acting as Chinese agents and hobnobbing with the fifth generation of the leadership of the CCP. The same leader was seen partying in a disco in Nepal in a wedding where Chinese ambassador to Nepal was present. Xi Jinping will continue to exploit Indian political fault lines to his advantage interfering in the future elections in India just like they do in Nepal routinely. Despite the loss of Nepalese Communist parties in recent elections, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda became Nepal’s Prime Minster due to Chinese influence and machinations! China treats Nepal as a vassal state. Chinese ambassador to Nepal acts as a de facto regent of China to Nepal and summons various politicians and constitutional functionaries of that country. Chinese nationals masquerading as tourists have been arrested from Nepal for trafficking Young Nepali girls in Laos and other Southeast Asian countries for prostitution. Whether it is Maldives or Sri Lanka, Pakistan or some poor African country like Djibouti, BRI has become a debt trap or One Debt One Road (ODOR). Tiny Montenegro in the Balkans realized that one-billion-dollar investment of China in the road to nowhere left that country hanging in the air. Malaysian government had to cancel and renegotiate certain contracts with China because of exorbitant costs. Bribes have been paid to small island nations that were willing to withdraw diplomatic recognition from Taiwan.
US has been acting as the world’s sole policeman since the end of World War II governing with its Bretton Woods financial system. Xi’s China dream essentially involves replacing the US hegemony with Chinese hegemony. That has implications for the entire civilized world. Essentially, US despite its numerous faults, is a liberal democracy and has fostered a “Liberal Rules Based world order”. Replacing the current democratic and liberal world order with an autocratic and authoritarian order under a totalitarian Communist China with Xi Jinping as the divine emperor of the world is fraught with serious problems.
Xi’s dream involves building a transcontinental Chinese empire by hook or by crook. China will continue to use the tactic of three war fares (lawfare, information warfare and psychological warfare) to unsettle the current liberal and rule-based global system. China is past master of trumpeting and utilizing the so-called ancient and medieval maps of doubtful veracity to make maximalist claims on other countries and territories. Already having gobbled up Tibet, Outer Mongolia, Manchuria and East Turkistan on the Chinese periphery, China wants to expand further southwards into Indian territories. Xi Jinping is using the so-called nine dash line to justify conversion of the entire South China sea into a domestic Chinese lake. On the other hand, China’s mouthpiece the Global times keeps questioning India’s locus standi in Indian Ocean by stating that Indian Ocean is not India’s Ocean. China’s recent Indian Ocean summit without India is a pointer in these directions. Maritime domination in Indo-pacific is the ultimate Chinese goal. Under CPEC, Pakistan has already been converted into Chinese colony. BRI and debt trap has helped China to convert several African and east European countries into Chinese colonies. For the last decade or so, under Xi Jinping’s leadership China has proclaimed itself into a “Near Arctic State” whatever it means.
China wants to have its fingers into every territory on the land, sea, ocean, air or space! China is the first nation to establish a post office in the space on Chinese space station named “heavenly place” in mandarin. Chinese lust for empire building might metamorphose from transcontinental empire to trans-planetary empire if Xi’s dreams have to be fulfilled. Chinese control of the Space Commons would be disastrous for the entire mankind.
Unfortunately, the current reigning hegemon, US, still under cold-war hangover does not see through Xi Jinping’s game. Current US regime under a geriatric and cognitively impaired Biden is bent upon further NATO enlargement thereby antagonizing and isolating Russia as the primary strategic adversary. In this mistaken attempt, the US is transforming Russia into China’s junior partner which Russia does not want. Accommodating Russia into a European common home and acknowledging and guaranteeing its security interests will drive away Russia from a lethal embrace of China. When Putin came to power in late 1999, he had even suggested that Russia be made a member of the EU and NATO but he was rebuffed. Similarly, the last Soviet leader Gorbachev wanted Russia to be part of the common European home. Continued eastward expansion of NATO has soured the US-Russia relationship. US needs to do a serious exercise in strategic threat analysis and threat perception and must decide as to which country is more detrimental to long-term US interests, Russia or China.
Similarly, the Biden regime is antagonizing a fellow democracy India by rewarding Pakistan with a grant of $450 million to upgrade the F-16s apparently for “counter-terrorism” activities! Post 2020, US, under Biden Administration has indulged in a series of anti-India actions. US refused to provide support to India through vaccine ingredients during the second wave of Wuhan Virus Epidemic (aka COVID-19) because of Defense Production Act. Biden administration refused to send to India delivery of 60 million doses of Astra-Zeneca vaccine (COVI-Shield) that US had purchased but were not approved for domestic use in US. US diplomats kept the pressure on India by invoking repeated threat at that time of CATSAA sanctions. US Navy indulged in violation of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone in early 2022 and made a public announcement to the effect. The reason for that public posture that they did Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations in Indian Ocean violating India’s EEZ was to try to ingratiate themselves with China. Biden administration has almost completed its two years out of the four and has not yet appointed a US ambassador to New Delhi. There has been inordinate amount of delay in visa processing for Indian students, business professionals and visitors. US Ambassador to Pakistan in recent months visited Pak Occupied Kashmir and talked about this as a disputed territory. USCIRF, an instrument of the Us Department of State brings annual reports targeting India targeting India as a country of special concern based on flimsy reports. Luckily, the State Department refused to heed this report in year 2022.
US essentially suffers from a serious case of Clientitis since 1947 and continues to support Pakistan against a democratic India. Even prior to the current regime in US, there have been historical issues that have soured bilateral relations. US has placed India on the Super 301 PRIORITY WATCH list for IP issues and Copyright issues. Most of these issues are generated when Democrats are in the White House. Bilateral relations between US and India are better during Republican administrations. For example, during eight years of Obama administration there were multiple anti-India postures. Indian ambassador to US Meera Shankar was subjected to body frisking at airports by TSA because she wore a Saree. Many Indian diplomats of Sikh faith were mistreated at US airports owing to wearing turbans, a cultural symbol of Sikh faith. Obama himself lectured Prime Minister Narendra Modi during visit to India in 2014. Indian diplomat to UN, Devyani Khobragade was targeted, arrested and subjected to body cavity searches despite having diplomatic immunity. All these irritants happen because of India’s posture of strategic autonomy and strategic independence. Activists and lobbyists close to the current US administration opine that US under Biden is trying to punish India and teach her a lesson for her posture of strategic autonomy.
Under these strategic conditions, the ball ultimately lies in the US court to prevent emergence of Communist China as the sole hyper-power. It is the US actions that will decide if Russia falls further into a tight embrace with Beijing. Similarly, by antagonizing India and supporting Pakistan, US does not help in building an alliance of democracies world-wide. A novel strategic idea that we propose is a new trilateral cooperation mechanism between USA, Russia and India. Imagine the strategic strength of this powerful trilateral, called RIUS if the US can get its strategic vision and act together. US will have to shed its cold-war hang-over and hostility towards Russia and its cussed attitude towards India to make such a strategic vision and cooperation possible. Such a grouping can help defeat Communist China and specially Xi Jinping’s imperialist dream of conquering the whole world.
In conjunction with that novel trilateral mechanism, a genuine alliance of democracies needs to be built afresh. We advocate using all the available international cooperation mechanisms including UN, EU, NATO, CSTO, WTO, APEC, ASEAN, G-7, G-20, BIMSTEC, Quad, BRICS, IBSA, SCO, IPEF, I2U2, UKUS, ANZUS etc. to contain Communist China. A unified alliance of democracies MUST put a full stop on Xi Jinping’s wet dreams! Only by isolating Communist China, the world can be saved from a looming disaster especially at a time when US economy is faltering, and it continues to be in a state of slow but terminal decline. Fostering an alliance of democracies worldwide should be the agenda for the Indian government, US government and others.