7) China: Military bases. Lesson thirtynine

We have touched this topic in previous lessons.

China was leading negotiations with the small state of Djibouti at the Horn of Africa, about building a Chinese military base there. The base officially opened in 2017. There is an American Navy Regiment in Camp Lemonnier in the small country that is no larger than 200 km x 150 km (124 miles x 93 miles). Djibouti is also where the Americans base the bulk of their armed drones, UCAVs that operate over the alQaida-infested Yemen, or they used to at least. Camp Lemonnier is a center for about 6 drone and surveillance bases that extend straight from west to east and symbolically splits northern Africa from southern Africa. Due to its strategic location, Camp Lemonnier serves as a hub for aircraft carriers and aviation operations in the Gulf region. There are about 4,000 American soldiers in Djibouti. Djibouti serves as a base for a number of foreign powers, e.g. for the French fleet and the Foreign Legion. In 2015 Japan built, their first foreign military base since wwii, in Djibouti.

Chinese bases in Gwadar and Djibouti creates an opportunity for China to gain military influence over the oil commerce in the Persian Gulf. and thus an economic influence over the US and Europe. It’s an effective and fearful way, a potential game changer. I mean, the Chinese don’t even have to pass through the Red Sea with their merchant ships to reach their homeland from the Persian Gulf or from African trading partners.

China’s President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April 2015. Several formal visits between China and Pakistan have taken place in recent years. During his visit, it was expected that Xi Jinping was to announce extensive Chinese strategic infrastructure investments in Pakistan. The planned Chinese investment in Pakistan is expected to reach 46 billion dollars. The main purpose of the investments was to create what is known as the Chinese-Pakistani economic corridor. It will become a network of roads, railways and oil pipelines between the two countries. The corridor stretch about 483 km (300 miles), from western China into Pakistan.

Today, most of China’s trade and oil imports run through the Malacca Strait, and Beijing fears that, in the event of a conflict, the US fleet can easily carry out a blockade at the “chokepoints” of the Malacca Strait, the Sunda Strait and the Lombok Strait, thereby giving a hard blow to China’s economy. One could accomplish this remote blockade with 16 smaller military vessels, plus support and rotations, someone has figured out. In reality, a remote blockade requires relatively extensive efforts to search ships and take care of the seized vessels, etc. But practices and regulations are well established by the Royal Navy in the past.

The investments in Pakistan are a key part of an overall Chinese strategy to increase China’s influence around Asia. The United States, and perhaps especially India, regards the Chinese investments with great skepticism. The planned Chinese investment in Pakistan is significantly higher than the US investment in the country. Closer links between China and Pakistan are also not welcomed by the strategic antagonist India. But in Pakistan, they speak very positive about it. The poor country is in great need of investments for its deficient infrastructure. The Government in Islamabad is hoping that the Chinese projects can help turn Pakistan into a regional economic center. The port city of Gwadar is located near the Strait of Hormuz between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. But not as near as the two American air bases in Bahrain and Qatar in the Persian Gulf lies to the Strait of Hormuz. Two US airbases are even located right next to the Strait of Hormuz in the UAE.

In Burma east of India, the Chinese operate the Kyaukpyu port. According to the IDSA – Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, the Chinese are building a 982 km (610 miles) long oil pipeline from the port to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southern China. A motorway will be built along this pipeline to connect the port with China and railways will be linked together. The pipeline shortens the distance by 1,200 km (745 miles) bypassing the normal vessel route through the Malacca Strait, for at least part of China’s oil demand.

Bangladesh in the depths of the Bengali Gulf at east India, and China signed several co-operation agreements and economic agreements, in March and June 2010, including the construction of a nuclear reactor to meet the energy challenges. China also sells modern military equipment to Bangladesh, instead of the second-hand weapons and the outdated technology that the western powers provided them.

On the large island of Sri Lanka off India’s southeast coast, in July 2011, the first part of the Hambantota port was built by the Chinese company Harbor Engineering Company with a Chinese 425 million dollar loan, according to PortCall’s Asia. Hambantota is just one of four ports built or upgraded. China played a major role both militarily as it provided the Sri Lankan government forces with military equipment that became crucial to defeat the Tamil Tigers’ uprising on the island. And China also played a major role politically as they supported international organizations to counter persistent allegations of government’s human rights violations. The small state of Sri Lanka sides with Pakistan.

The dispute between India and Pakistan has prompted Pakistanis to support the Chinese in order to in return gain military support from China. A strengthened Pakistan can force India to take a defensive stance in the event of a war with China over territorial claims, because if Pakistan is allied with China, India will be in a difficult seat with two enemies and thousands of miles of militarized border. According to an article in Reuters electronic edition in January 2012, China was an important supplier of technology and equipment to Pakistan. In the 1980s and 1990s, China provided Pakistan with knowledge so that Pakistan could develop nuclear weapons, and the Chinese also provided the Pakistanis with short-range ballistic missiles in 1992. The Chinese also built a facility to produce this type of weapon near the town of Rawalpindi. In 2004, the Chinese helped Pakistan build two nuclear reactors in the Punjab province, and more recently, China has planned to build two more reactors at the same construction site.

Neither the Indian nor the Pakistani side have attempted to resolve the issue politically. Instead, India has in April 2012 developed and launched its first long-range ballistic nuclear weaponry that can reach targets at a distance of 5,000 km including targets anywhere in Chinese territory. This makes India a member of a very selective club of countries which owns intercontinental ballistic missiles, along with the US, Russia, China, UK and France.

China builds or invests in, from East to West, the port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta Indonesia, and Port Klang, Penang and Tanjung Pelepas in the Malacca Strait in Malaysia. These are at present date not military Naval ports.

The Chinese have also built a military runway on a Kambodian island and they have invested in a Kambodian Naval base in the Gulf of Thailand.

 

Sources; Raimundo Oliveira, Social and Political Scientist, and SR; Ekot on April 20, 2015. Modified by the author.

 

Homework:

Why do you think China would need a Naval base in Djibouti for? Please explain your thoughts.

https://anchor.fm/roger-mikael-klang

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

Liberal decadence; Putin. Lesson twentyone

At the end of June and the beginning of July 2015, Putin put in a higher gear and was accusing the West again for depraved liberal decadence. Putin claims that he and Russia maintain a kind of moral conservatism, that contrasts with the western countries’ depraved lifestyles with gay rainbow parades and all that nonsense. But this moral conservatism is obligatory for the individual in Russia. It is not possible to talk about Russian freedom anymore.

Interestingly, Russia, after 2011, according to Russian academy member Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal Center for the Fight against AIDS in Russia, has withdrawn all state funds for HIV/AIDS prevention in the country. This resulted in that the number of HIV-infected Russians increased by ten percent in just one year, and the increase continued. 90,000 new infected people were discovered in 2014 and Pokrovsky said there would be one million HIV-infected Russians by the end of 2015. The medical specialist Pokrovsky expected the actual number to be much higher, perhaps as much as seven times higher. In 2014 alone, 190,000 Russians died of AIDS or AIDS-related diseases. Almost half of those infected with HIV in Russia are drug addicts, but those who catch HIV increasingly acquire it through heterosexual contacts. 3 percent of all Russian men are infected.

Vladimir Putin thus believes that the West is depraved. But at least classic Americans and Swedes believe that we have got a free will, of which we are meant to use. We have the God-given right to choose God or to reject Him, man as well as woman. One cannot force anyone to choose heaven, it does not lead to the heavenly kingdom either for the coercer nor for the coerced!

Therefore, it is we who are right, who let every man and woman decide for themselves how to live their lives, without reprisals from a hypothetic state church or from the politicians. Freedom of agency is so important to God, because God wants you to seek him up of your own free will.

If it then would turn out that we are the same scrap of iron as the Russians, then we at least are only coercive to a much lesser degree, and we are supported by God unlike Putin’s Russia. Those who are the least wicked are also those who are commissioned by God to lead the free world. Traditionally, the Americans have been the only ones who have been able to do so. Therefore, Putin’s new-Roman ambitions will fail, for he does not have God on his side.

Putin’s Russia is more like a corrupt kleptocratic central African country with a consolidated and stable post-colonial rule than it is like America. And I have been so keen on that the United States does not deviate from the straight path, because then it would be all over for everybody. And it appears like it is going to be over soon.

 

Homework:

It is time to confess color. What do you think of the following statement:

”One cannot force anyone to choose heaven, it does not lead to the heavenly kingdom either for the coercer nor for the coerced.”

You might think the above sentence to be unrelated to strategy. But it is not unrelated at all. The manner in which we answer this question says everything about everything. Your answer reveals more about your implied strategy and also tactics than anything else you can say or do. If I know that you are the kind of person who disagree about this statement I also know that I can beat you. You wouldn’t know what hit you if you were a foreign statesman and I would decide that my country should attack your country or your country’s interests! Smack.., you are dead!

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden