Manipulating media and opinion to create ‘frenemies’. – practically at will. Islāmic world, China, Russia in that order are bugbear of the West. But, that can change – and quickly. | Cartoon titled Debt To China By Brian Fairrington; Cagle Cartoons – March 26th, 2009; 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – politicalcartoons.com | Click for image.
Frenemies – for now
The Chinese have no tradition of imperialism or a history of conquest.
To believe that China is India’s biggest threat is to believe that the Chinese national and State character is changing.
Where is the evidence of this change? Minor border disputes with neighbours?
China’s expansion of naval power? What could be China’s realistic motivations for seeking more naval bases?
Ships from the Chinese Navy patrolling the seas on anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden area for over a year now could not go to the rescue of De Xin Hai a Chinese bulk carrier with a Chinese crew of 25 members transporting coal which was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates 400 miles North-East of Seychelles and taken to the waters off Somalia in October last.
Their demand for ransom was initially resisted by the Chinese. How can China, which views itself as a power on par with the US, pay ransom? The US Navy’s Sea Air Land Commandoes (SEAL) had rescued the master of the US ship “Maersk Alabama” in an operation on April 4,2009. There were similar instances of intervention by the naval special forces of Holland and France.
Independent experts outside China were not hopeful of the Chinese Navy’s ability to intervene. They were certain that the Chinese Navy would ultimately have to cave in to the demands of the Somali pirates. The Jamestown Foundation, a prestigious American think-tank based in Washington DC, had predicted that China was unlikely to use its special forces in a rescue operation because it had too few ships in the area and its ships had no combat experience, especially in dealing with pirates.
Chinese authorities managed to get back their ship and crew from the pirates on December 28,2009, after air-dropping sacks containing US $ four million on board the ship from a helicopter. The pirates collected the money and left the hijacked ship, which is now reported to be on its way back home.
The Chinese Government has so far not told its people that it paid a ransom in order to get the ship and its crew back. The “China Daily” News merely told its readers that the ship had been “successfully rescued”.
Their embarrassing experience with this incident has brought home to the Chinese the limitations from which their Navy suffers.
One of the lessons mentioned by their experts is that the Chinese Navy could not hope to be the equal of its US counterparts unless it had overseas bases in areas of concern.
China already has two options before it—- Gwadar on the Balochistan coast in Pakistan and Hambantota in Sri Lanka. It has already constructed for Pakistan a commercial port at Gwadar, which is now being managed by a Singapore company.
Pakistan would be only too happy to respond positively to any Chinese request for naval base facilities at Gwadar. The only inhibiting factor for China would be the bad security situation in the area due to the ongoing Baloch freedom struggle. From the point of view of security, Hambantota could be ideal for the Chinese, but would the Sri Lankan Government agree to any such proposal if it comes from Beijing? (via Sri Lanka Guardian: China’s interest in naval base: Gwadar or Hambantota or elsewhere?).
Non aggressive activities like education is also termed in military terms. | Cartoon By Brian Fairrington, source & courtesy – Cagle Cartoons – 9/24/2009 12:00:00 AM | Click for image.
History tells us
Instead, look at Western imperialism.
After 500 years of Western imperialism, entire populations and continents have been wasted. Native Americans, Australian aborigines, Africa. This list is just for starters.
US has a significant presence in Pakistan, Afghanistan – and now wanting it in Bangladesh, too.
America’s threat to send its seventh fleet to stop liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 is a known fact. Now, 41 years later – it is America again – which wants to park its seventh fleet in the country – for its strategic interests. Worried by increasing presence of Chinese naval bases in the South China Sea – America now eyes a counter strategy – as it wants an overall presence in Asia – right from Japan to its Diego Garicia base in the Indian Ocean.
This by parking its seventh fleet in a base in Chittagong giving it both an eye on taking on China and a strategic post in Asia as it pulls out of Afghanisthan. The US State Department denying on the record that Hillary Clinton’s visits had anything to do with military co-operation.
This move by America could put India on the back foot if the American fleet moves to Bangladesh, all of India’s security installations will come under the American scanner. Bangladesh is not willing to comment on record even offering explanation to deny the developments. This Clinton visit a more strategic one than just a friendly one- the Indian establishment caught unawares–as this base could cast a shadow on India’s own strategic interests. (via Excl: America eyes Bangladesh- TIMESNOW.tv – Latest Breaking News, Big News Stories, News Videos).
Fox guarding the chicken-coop
China’s diplomatic activity has been under much scrutiny by the West.
There’s been much talk in the media of an apparent offer by the Seychelles of a base for Chinese ships deployed to the Gulf of Aden and the West Indian Ocean, to help combat piracy. China’s Foreign Ministry was quick to state that Beijing isn’t contemplating a military base in for the Seychelles, adding that it wouldn’t “violate” its traditional policy of “not stationing troops abroad.” China began pursuing its so-called “String of Pearls” strategy in the Indian Ocean in 2001 via the commercial route, constructing the Gwadar port. Subsequently, China won contracts to construct ports at Hambantota on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu on the east coast of Burma in the Arabian Sea.
But what’s China’s interest in establishing a base in the Seychelles?
For a start, it satisfies China’s hunger for a firm foothold in the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles provides the PLA Navy an ideal platform from which to counter any threat to its sea lines of communication from Africa by the U.S. Navy operating out of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean region. In addition, to assist with the resupply, rest and refit of PLAN ships undertaking anti-piracy duties in the region, China requires a large logistics depot, which can be supplied by air and merchant/naval ships.
Perhaps most significantly, the Seychelles is equidistant from sea lines of control carrying oil from the Middle East and Africa to China, enabling the PLAN to effectively support its merchant vessels in times of crisis. (via China Base a Threat to India Navy? | The Diplomat).
Note how China is portrayed – with a devil’s tail. While the US has been blaming China for global imbalances; the Euro-zone is quiet. Euro-zone needs China to sustain and stabilize the Euro. | Cartoon titled Currency Battles By Pavel Constantin, Romania – 11/19/2010 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – politicalcartoons.com | Click for image.
Eternal vigilance, they say
After Sri Lanka refused naval base facilities to the US. A human rights violations censure motion was moved by the US.
Globally, military bases are at
the heart of a global American empire that employs some 1,000 bases outside the United States. Their purpose: To ensure that no matter who governs in Asia, Africa or around the world, the US military would be in a position to “run the planet” from its chain of strategic island bases. (via Chagos: The heart of an American empire? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English).
More than two centuries ago, an American politician noted, ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’.
It is time we believed him.