Friday, April 27, 2018

Well, Kinda Sorta

Is the New Silk Road program to expand trade links west overland and by sea just a ruse to expand Chinese national security reach?

A massive Chinese infrastructure program that Beijing says is aimed at promoting global trade and economic growth is actually intended to expand the country's political influence and military presence, according to a report issued Tuesday.

Well, the flag follows trade. So one will lead to the other regardless of the primary intent.

And that worries those on the silk road.

But basically I think the charge misses the point that Chinese rulers see all problems as part of a continuum of threats to Chinese Communist Party rule.

So improving trade routes that redirect economic growth to interior Chinese provinces helps preserve stability and secures China from internal threats; while the political and military inroads abroad help secure the economic benefits and provide direct security benefits for China from external threats.

Of course, the project probably isn't sufficient to gain the economic benefits the Chinese hope to get.

Which may mean that the Chinese dig in even harder along those trade routes to secure the limited security benefits the trade routes provide; and probably shift Chinese justification for a political and military presence in more external security terms.

So is the New Silk Road really intended to secure China from threats? Sure. Everything China's rulers do is intended to secure China--defined as Chinese Communist Party continued rule in China, of course.