The main idea of this book is to use author’ experience on site in China to demonstrate that Chinese totalitarian regime is real danger to the world not only economically, but also politically and military. The point is that China’s objective to be dominant power in the world, if obtained, would inevitably lead to loss of freedom and democracy. This experience included talking with regular people that followed and greatly enhanced by subsequent education in political science with stress on China and research in details of Chinese leadership’s communications to the people formal and informal
Introduction: Chinas Vision of Victory
Author starts by referring to failed idea of China’s transfer to democracy in due time when it would become rich enough. This idea was the main driver of Western support of China’s growth, inclusion into international trade system, and, most important, tolerance to China’s violation of all Western norms. Instead of democratization the economic growth created believe in China’s leadership of their inherent superiority and expectation in short period of time to take leading position in the world both economically and militarily. Author stresses that unlike democratic USA it would not be benign leadership, that usually meant American protection for freedom in all its forms. It would rather mean world dominance of Chinese communist party leadership and suppression of freedom in all its forms all over the world.
After stating this main thesis of the book author describes his live in China, which he started at age 22 as backpacker travelling from place to place and learning people, culture, and language. It followed by some other travels, learning and communicating with experts, strategic studies at Oxford, and author’s maturation into expert and consultant. Author combines his presentation into two parts: the first Chinese understanding of self and their society historical destiny, which could be briefly summarized as “rule the world” The second part is about comprehensive planning and implementation strategy to achieve with objective. The total layout of book is implemented across 5 dimensions:
- A Vision of National Destiny
- Strategic Geography and Military Plans
- Economic and Technological Ambitions
- Growing Global Reach
- A Vision of a New World Order
Part I: “The Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation”: China’s Vision of National Destiny
1.1 National Resurrection; 1.2 “The New China”: Mao Zedong; 1.3 “Hide Your Brightness, Bide Your Time”: Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin; 1.4 “The Period of Strategic Opportunity”: Hu Jintao; 1.5“The China Dream”: Xi Jinping;
1.6 “The New China” Meets “The China Dream”; 1.7 From “the Peaceful Rise of China” to “Fighting the Bloody Battle Against Our Enemies’; 1.8 From “Able To Fight And Win Wars” to “Preparing to Fight and Win Wars”
This part is about Chinese perception of their own history and China’s place in the world the way it is promoted by communist party and readily accepted by Chinese people. This pretty much comes down the morality story quite similar to the story told to their people by German and Russian rulers. The story is that the great nation, superior in all areas to all other nations was denigrated by foreigners due to incompetence and corruption of previous leaders, but now is regaining its place under wise leadership of current leaders. Author goes through historical sequence of Chinese Communist leadership starting with Mao, demonstrating how initial strong believes in superiority of socialist ideology led to disasters of Mao years and how it was substituted by retreat from these ideals. This retreat included allowing somewhat market economy with communist party retaining power while permitting Western capital and knowledge inflow in exchange for cheap labor and shelter against environmental and other regulations. Author describes how this policy succeeded beyond all expectation in moving China to the level of industrial development tat was closing gaps with the West and causing current Chinese leadership decision that time arrived to through away mask of peaceful participant in international economic and political order and take what they believe is proper place of China – world wide dictatorship of Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Author provides plentiful evidence of Chinese leaders’ expressing these believes and, moreover, readiness to achieve this goal by all means necessary including military.
Part II: “Blue National Soil”: China’s Strategic Geography and Military Plans
2.1 The Military Rise of China; 2.2 New Technologies, New Frontiers; 2.3 Internal Security and Homeland Defense: China’s Traditional Military Geography; 2.4 The New World Map: Regional Expansion and Global Military Presence; 2.5 Toward 2049: China’s Vision of Military Power “Catch up to America, Surpass America”: China’s Economic and Technological Ambitions
This chapter is about Chinese military ambitions and it starts with something that so far was only rarely mentioned in literature: Chinese territorial claims. Something that pretty much disappeared in international relations since WWII. Here is the map of these claims:
Author reviews different areas of recent Chinese military development and concludes that building of military capable successfully conduct world wide conflict and win in it became clear objective of Chinese leadership. There is also pretty clear formulation of who is considered the enemy, and it is USA and by extension all countries that would refuse to accept China not just as superior power, but also as rule maker and dictator.
3.1 “Comprehensive National Power; 3.2 Made in China 2025: Mastering Future Industries and Going Global; 3.3 The Importance of Economic Power: Technology and National Strength; 3.4China’s Economy: Rejuvenation’s Engine;
3.5 China’s Ambitions in Technology and Innovation; 3.6 China Goes Global: State and Private Enterprise Take on the World; 3.7 Toward 2049: China’s Vision of Economic Power
This part is about economic power. Author provides graph representing past, present, and future economic balance of GDP between countries and regions:
It demonstrates vision of achieving economic superiority by 2030. It is not only GDP, but also technological superiority that Chinese leadership is expecting to achieve. The method used is to transfer technological achievement from other countries to Chine either via purchase or stealing IP, or forcing transfers as price to access Chinese market. So far this worked wonderfully for China allowing it to jump to forefront of technological advancement without spending really that much on R&D.
Part IV: FF Reo “The Ceaseless Expansion of National Interests”: China’s Growing Global Reach
4.1 Overview: China’s Need for the World’s Resources; 4.2 China in The Middle East; 4.3 China in Africa; 4.4 China in Latin America; 4.5 China in the Arctic and Antarctic; 4.6 The Indo-Pacific: The Indian Ocean Region and South Pacific States; 4.7 China And The “Major Powers”: The United States, Russia, India, Japan, and Europe;
This part is about China expansion of its influence around the worlds in search of resources, bases, and vassals. Author moves through all major geographical points demonstrating how it is currently in process.
Part V: “A Community of Common Destiny for Mankind”: China’s Vision for the New World Order
5.1 China’s Vision for World Order; 5.2 A Global “Middle Kingdom; 5.3 “Interior Vassals” and “Exterior Vassals” in the “Community of Common Destiny for Mankind”; 5.4 A World Transformed: A Day in the Life of Chinese Power; 5.5 2049: China’s Vision of a New World Order;
Here is how author presents main question of this part and the answer he provides:
“WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR CHINA TO RULE THE WORLD? The answer has been in front of us all along. It has been in front of us as we read the Chinese Communist Party’s statements, observe their strategies and actions, and come to understand the intentions behind China’s ascendency in this century. It is simple: China’s rise, in the minds of its leaders and many of its people, is not a rise, but a restoration. It is a restoration, simply put, of the power and prosperity enjoyed by the Chinese Empire. It is the restoration, as the Communist Party sees it, of an entire world defined by China’s supremacy. Most importantly, both as a political culture and as a civilization, China has plenty of experience ruling a world system. It is from the earlier time of supremacy that much of the character of current-day Chinese political thought and action derives.
Author also provides an interesting list of values of Western world that are completely unacceptable to Chinese communist party and are intensively suppressed by all means necessary:
Author also presents a vision of what world would look like if Chinese communist party will be successful in achieving economic, military, and ideological supremacy, and it is not a pretty picture.
MY TAKE ON IT:
To me the author’s warning about China’s ideology and objectives sound quite convincingly. Actually it is not that China specific, as author believes. Russia, Germany, and some others believed in their special destiny as world superpower coming from century or two of humiliations. I appreciate author’s understanding of complete support of Chinese people that party enjoys, which is kind of a feast for an American whose culture built on idea of people thinking for themselves. I also think that China is real and present danger to the free world, but I believe that we are already over the pick of this danger. Reason for my opinion is that China’s superfast growth was not generated by its system or even by its people. It was more consequence of China’s low labor cost and protection from regulations, especially environmental regulations ubiquitous in the Western world. There are a number of factors that made this calculation outdated, not last of which is Chinese leadership’s arrogance in announcement of China’s intentions. All together it lead to wide recognition of danger by the Western politicians and business, which in turn will most probably cut China off Western investment, technology transfer, and access to know how in many areas, most important military. The consequence will be beneficial for China because it will eventually send its Communist part to the same place where Soviet Communist and German National-Socialist parties ended – dustbin of history. The only question is whether it will happen within near term with CCP leadership starting process of peaceful self-dissolution with intermediate transfer to oligarchy or over long Cold War with the whole world consolidated around USA.