Friday, November 07, 2014

Two-Edged Sword

China's communist rulers have turned to nationalism to whip up popular support for Communist Party rule as the legitimacy provided by communist economics was abandoned. Unfortunately for the party rulers, that turn to nationalism seems to have infected the military, too.

This is interesting:

Anyone calling for China's People's Liberation Army to be loyal to the state rather than the Communist party has a "very black heart", military media said Monday, after President Xi Jinping stressed: "The party commands the gun".

It is tough to whip up xenophobic nationalism in the public while insulating the military from the same result.

One can see the Chinese leadership's interest in making sure their enforcers (who did the dirty work at Tienanmen Square in 1989) stay loyal.

Worse, China's rulers see every threat to their rule as a continuum of threats ranging from domestic to foreign.

If every threat is just a different form of threat to party rule, we can't really say that a response to repel that threat can be viewed in our template of a "domestic" or a "foreign" policy. Mass riots in some internal city might very well lead to a Chinese response in the East China Sea against Japan since all threats and all responses are just different ways to defend the Chinese Communist Party.

From our point of view, we also have to worry about just who can order the PLA to war?

As Chinese military power increases, China's options on the "foreign" side of protecting the party increase, too.