China and the importance of civilian nuclear power


HISTORY INDICATES that for a country to reasonably govern and protect its interests at home and abroad, it takes experienced and knowledgeable professionals with acumen to analyze and navigate the complex security space. national and foreign affairs, which is teeming with military, economic, technological, geopolitical and diplomatic tensions. In the aftermath of World War II, individuals such as Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and Senator Arthur Vandenberg, among others, challenged Americans to accept that the United States must conduct their business and act in the world as it is, not in the world as we would like it to be. They stressed both the need and the strategic advantage of an allied system led by the United States and the need to nurture what Winston Churchill originally called a special relationship, and others called it a special relationship. essential relationship, between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Decades later, individuals such as Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and academics like Richard Pipes, Gaston Sigur and Grace Hopper, among others, have continued this legacy throughout the tensions. between the United States and the USSR. However, since the end of the Cold War, and particularly over the past two decades, America has faced complex risks and compromises for which twentieth-century geopolitical strategy is insufficient and for which America may be out of control. diplomatically practiced. In a recent article by National review, for example, Bing West, a veteran naval officer and renowned author with years of experience in the conflicts from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, records the serious shortcomings of the Bush administration in 2001 which hired our country in a nation-building mission in Afghanistan. Certainly, the horrific Al Qaeda attack on September 11 necessitated swift retaliation against the perpetrators in Afghanistan. But just as surely, we should expect that someone from among the elected and appointed officials in the White House, State and Defense Departments, and intelligence agencies would have had the insight to point out the negative risks. a prolonged engagement like the one that has taken place in Kabul over the past twenty years.

American officials would do well to adhere to two guidelines for judging whether our country should commit to long-term post-conflict commitments. First, the predisposition. The country we seek to help must have a political predisposition for pluralist governance and the economic means (with modest stimulus aid) to stimulate and achieve sustainable growth (eg Japan, Grenada). Second, a lasting ally. The country must remain allied with us in opposition to any permanent threat to vital American interests (South Korea, Germany, Italy).

In the wake of planning for September 11, surely someone should have had the wherewithal to point out that historically, nurturing a political shift from tribalism to institution building and ultimately pluralistic governance takes generations. involving periodic conflicts and a huge cost in lives and treasures. . Instead, none of the five officials around the table in the situation room in 2001 set foot on our goals and limitations in Afghanistan. Of course, the initial objective was to insure against any new reception or sponsorship of a terrorist attack on our soil from Afghanistan. And to the lasting credit of the military units deployed in Afghanistan, we were able to locate Osama bin Laden within weeks in Tora Bora, a mountainous redoubt in the eastern part of the country.

West makes it clear that these forces were trained and equipped to conduct a sustained assault involving heavy bombardment, intensive scouting and patrolling and that in weeks, not months would have ended a successful siege with the capture of Bin Laden. . Unfortunately, this approach was abandoned for no good reason. With the Taliban dispersed from Kabul at first, stability could have been established and maintained over time until an allied force was organized and deployed to focus on forming an Afghan force sufficient to hold the Taliban down. unbalanced with the backing of allied air support and an effective advisory force as a sustainable strategy. And yet, in the months that followed, the “mission drift” led up to four ambassadors to be deployed to Kabul to oversee the far-reaching work of the “provincial reconstruction teams” with an indefinite mission in Kabul. all the countries. Their ever-growing mission would have taken a generation or more, if ever, to be accomplished.

On the other hand, it may be useful to recap another story: our seventy-year presence in South Korea. There, we nurtured an ethnically homogeneous community to become a vibrant and resilient nation while championing a vital American interest – deterring Communist China from seizing critical ground en route to one day capturing Japan and Taiwan. The point here is not to curse the darkness of defeat, but to wake up from any political and diplomatic failures in Afghanistan and sound the alarm bells for Americans and our allies – especially our British ally – that “the world as it is ”continues, and that for twenty years a historic threat to our vital interests has been brewing.

While CHINA has watched much of the Cold War from behind the scenes, lessons have been learned by both superpowers, perhaps best expressed by President Ronald Reagan in his statement that “nuclear war can never be won and should never be conducted ”. Realizing that the stakes of nuclear war had become priceless, but harboring resentment over more than a century of abuse and humiliation, the ruling Chinese Communist Party continued to keep a low profile and wait for its hour, while refining its strategy of building revenge empire to achieve national revival.

Rather than risking armed conflict or triggering further escalation, Beijing’s strategy, known in China’s highest circles as the Unrestricted War, is designed to enable China to achieve at least three goals: 1) capture and control of global strategic resources (eg cobalt from Congo, lithium from Chile); 2) take critical ground (eg Suez, Malacca, Gibraltar); and 3) secure access and control over trade within the world’s largest markets (Western Europe and the United States). China currently has ninety-six ports spread around the world. China’s goal is to penetrate, discredit and undermine our system of democratic governance and the liberal, rules-based, pro-market world order that we have nurtured for decades and are the world’s main promoter. free.

In 2013, with the coming to power of President Xi Jinping, China began the serious deployment of its grand plan. Originally, Xi publicly presented the strategy in a benign package known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its objectives and content, however, were unmistakable. In close collaboration with Russia, China has sought to penetrate, and ultimately dominate, country after country using predatory lending and traditional mercantilism. Engaging with enticing bids to build infrastructure, the BRI’s strategy seeks political and economic influence, and even domination, through local dependence on Chinese goods and services. Ultimately, its goal is to dislodge the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

In 2018, after securing changes to Party rules that practically secures his life presidency, Xi stepped up the pace of his efforts to expand China’s influence and control around the world. He is no longer keeping a low profile and no longer biding his time. For example, today China holds 60 percent of Congo’s cobalt; a large part of Chilean lithium (for batteries); and ports in Sri Lanka, Greece, Italy and others spread throughout Europe. China also controls over 70% of the world’s solar panel manufacturing.

Russia has followed suit, contracting to build four large nuclear reactors in Egypt and two other units in Turkey, which will give it a dominant role on the Suez Canal and in the eastern Mediterranean where Russia already maintains a naval base in Tartus on the coast of Syria. China and Russia are using nuclear power plant projects as weapons of their foreign policy and obtaining military base rights to ship nuclear fuel to these new sites. For this China-Russia tandem, nuclear energy is not just a commodity, it is a weapon in an arena where state-owned enterprises are competing gladiators.

China and Russia are also expanding in Africa and South America, buying up substantial stakes in mineral resources with targeted entries in energy. China has also acquired a site in the Bahamas where it intends to build a deep-water port. In short, Russia and China are establishing their dominance country after country using bids to build much-needed critical infrastructure without having to deploy a soldier or ship and without having to shoot. We underestimate the implications of this encroachment as we focus on military movements.

Along with the foregoing geopolitical upheavals, two other obvious trends, population growth in emerging economies and urbanization, pose both serious challenges and potential opportunities for all of humanity. Over the next thirty years, the world’s population will grow to ten billion people. Ninety percent of this growth will occur in countries outside the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and will involve migration to cities that will require an unprecedented scale of industrial and social services. The need for reliable and clean electricity, clean water and nutritious food will be staggering and will be the largest and most intense development challenge in human history. Obviously, the dominant provider of this infrastructure will have gained political influence as well as staggering profits and dominate the world. Today, China and Russia are strategically positioning their respective countries to be these suppliers.


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