I love a parade!
For some reason the Chinese love whitewalls. Note that they even paint them on the tracked vehicles.
Nothing to worry about, right? It’s all just for show. Try confirming this with the Vietnamese, Philippinos or Japanese. From Thursday’s WSJ see: “Beijing’s naval aggression is a threat to peace in the Pacific”
When Beijing’s campaign of assertiveness began three years ago, many observers believed it was either a miscalculation that would be corrected, or else a temporary phase related to jockeying for the recent leadership transition. It has proved to be neither. [ Note: The assertiveness campaign is definitely more than three years old. In 1988 the Chinese and Vietnamese navies clashed at Johnson Reef in the Spratlys. Several Vietnamese boats were sunk and over 70 sailors killed. ]
What is driving Beijing? Chinese military men, who make up about 20% of the Central Committee, have become increasingly vocal about their desire to drive the U.S. out of their adjacent (and not-so-adjacent) waters. The Communist Party’s longstanding rhetoric about ending a “century of humiliation” at foreign hands makes such calls difficult to ignore.
Another driver is the uneasy relationship between the military and their putative civilian masters. On Wednesday, new Chinese leader Xi Jinping publicly exhorted military officers to “put an end” to corruption and remain completely loyal to the Communist Party—a call that presumably would not have been necessary if such loyalty was not in doubt.
Don’t forget, the Chinese are already in Panama. You don’t really think they’re all civilians, do you? And who knows where else?
By the way, China provides military aid to Iran, in case you didn’t know. Some of It gets trans-shipped through Venezuela via the Panama Canal. Didn’t we build that?
To top it all off, we have essentially financed a good chunk of the Chinese military buildup/modernization through trade deficits, and have transfered to them, in one fashion or another, most of our military technology. Such a deal!
They must love us. NOT!
Video Hat Tip: HBS Classmate Harry D.