Asia&Pacific China military parade

Published on November 6th, 2016 | by Lidija Bojčić


China’s future and possible wars in East Asia

China will face a number of political, economic and security issues and the key issues and challenges in the 21st century. Therefore, it is often asked various questions about China’s future. Will China’s economy to maintain its rapid pace of development? Or Chinese development will stagnate? Will China be successful in the field of scientific and technological innovation, or will it continue to serve other innovations and technologies? How will China develop its political structure? Will China finally to develop democratic processes? How will China solve its demographic problems of old people?

All these questions are important, but the most important factor that will affect the future of China’s development of nationalism. This will be the main equation in response to a question as to nationalism bring China and the Asia-Pacific region over the next few decades.

The future of China has many similarities with Europe’s past. China very much reminiscent of Germany in the early 20th century: economic expansion, geopolitical ambitions and strengthening the military. Many experts believe that the 21st century in East Asia will be a struggle for power in the Pacific. Whoever controlled the Pacific Ocean, it can be a world leader. Therefore, Asia will become the main center of the conflict of the great powers.

Even Asian politicians describe the similarity between today’s Asia and Europe from a hundred years ago. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that relations between Japan and China are similar to the relations between Germany and Great Britain in the past. Germany broke the  power balance in Europe, which until then had held the United Kingdom, France and Russia. Germany and China have similarities and the geographical location. Both are located in the heart of Europe and Asia. It has a geo-strategic advantage, but also a strategic vulnerability to blockade and war on the higher side.

In Asia today, just like in Europe in the last century, it was a large increase in nationalism in all countries, as well as in China. The China Communist Party pointed out nationalism as the main ideological foundation and its president Xi Jinping declared “a great revival of the Chinese nation” as its main slogan on his presidential duties. Two other major Asian countries, Japan and India have strong national leaders – Naredra Modi in India and Shinzo Abe in Japan. Their successors will surely actively promote the idea of ​​”great nation” as they are.

The process of creating new states are still going on in Asia, and as a consequence of these processes is intense nationalism. The process of national states creation in the East began much later than in the West. These countries are now in the phase of transition Europe in the 20th century. At the beginning of the last century in Europe were the classic Westphalian states that have been based on the principle of unlimited sovereignty and emphasized nationalism at the peak of its development. This period lasted until 1945. Today Asian countries have taken the model of the Westphalian state.

Nationalism is already determined by the China’s political behavior and it will last for many years. Westphalian stete model and nationalism leads to deterioration of mutual relations between the countries and the creation of inter-state conflict. An example of this is the Europe’s  history, which had the First and Second World War and nearly all its states were involved in the conflict.

There have been no large Asian wars. Relations between China and Japan have been good throughout the centuries until the end of the 19th century. Then began the construction of the two countries and appeared nationalism. Also, India and China have had good relations over the centuries. This was at the time of their civilization empires until the time of the national states creation. By that time nobody thought about reefs in the South China Sea. But when they started to develop the nation state, the South China Sea has become the subject of conflict, as well as other various fields.

Today’s Chinese nationalism is different from the traditional, which was developed among the Chinese elite, but not among the common people as today. The emergence of the Internet in China is much contributed to the spread of nationalism among all strata of society.

The emergence of the war in Asia

When will we see the real China’s foreign policy? Then when China is equal to the US military. It is likely that the political or military conflicts break out in the near future. China is still cautious as the weaker of the United States. Chinese military still lags behind the United States and the US-Japan Alliance and it could take 5-10 years. Still, China depends more economically than the US than vice versa. The main Chinese markets are the US, Europe and Japan. With these areas, China imported high technology, as well as raw materials by sea. Therefore, China is very sensitive to the naval blockade. China has taken a strategic partnership with Russia and it is working on European integration in the form of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. These actions are intended primarily for the Chinese less dependent on maritime trade. Maritime trade in the Pacific is controlled by the US Navy, and this is why China needs to create a continental market.

To implement these plans, China will need very many years, and some larger shift will not be before 2025. Then China could be equated with the United States in the Western Pacific. China will then fully carry out the objectives of its foreign policy and will inevitably come into conflict with the US and its allies. Unlike Europe, the United States is still the classic Westphalian state with very large nationalism. Therefore, the United States will sooner or later declare China as an enemy. These two countries could develop mutual behavior that will have major and serious consequences. As the final outcome, the war was possible between them in the next 10-20 years. The conflict could break out between the two countries or for third parties: Taiwanese territorial disputes in the South China and East China Sea, the Korean crisis. Of course, there is the possibility of disputes and that will only arise and which today can not be predicted. It is possible, the United States will form a military alliance in the field of Indo-Pacific that could be included Japan, India, Vietnam and Australia. The status of the Philippines as a US ally is currently unclear because of recent policy Philippine President Duterte who has made a diplomatic shift towards China. In the event of such an alliance, the war with any country would mean war with all of them. On the other hand, China could create an alliance that would include Russia, Central Asia and Pakistan. This would ensure China itself back and get some kind of military support.

Will a nuclear weapon be used in Asia?

The war in Asia could be the first in which the major nuclear powers could clash directly with nuclear weapons. China’s nuclear weapons possession and nuclear weapons strategic delivery systems so far provided the necessity of continuous contact at the highest level and intimidated with their weapons. But China does not yet have a global nuclear power not in terms of quality not quantity of weapons, so it has no interest in nuclear weapons threatens to now. China has promised not first use nuclear weapons, but there are no guarantees. The situation could change in the coming years as a result of the increase in China’s nuclear forces. China could overtake the United States and Russia, and perhaps even threatening. China did not participate in the process of reducing nuclear weapons in accordance with Article VI of the Treaty on the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation. China issued a White Paper on Defense in 2013 to the effect that it improves its technological base strategic nuclear forces, and not to mention the policy of first use of “no first use” (NFU).

In the near future, China can reach the full potential of nuclear power mid-range. At gunpoint China could meet all of the East Asia countries territory. Except that it is progressing in the development of its hypersonic and ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets at sea, China is working on defense against enemy missile capabilities. It is working on the   military-industrial complex development in order to improve the accuracy of the strategic and nonstrategic  weapon.

The greatest danger to the United States as Chinese systems ICBM with MIRV on mobile platforms patrolling Chinese waters. This is a serious threat to Japan’s nuclear strategy and US aircraft carriers sailing waters in China near the northeast and southeast Asia.

Furthermore, the big question represents North Korea in East Asia. It was carried out by the fifth nuclear test in September this year and therefore to Japan, South Korea and Australia could throw in a nuclear arms race. All these countries including North Korea are aware that a nuclear strike led to large mutual destruction and perhaps would refrain from using nuclear weapons. But it is possible that to avoid this. Currently, the US has a strong anti-missile potential in the coming years will be even more advanced: the US mainland will be protected by land interceptors (GBI) in Alaska and California, and the US strategic places abroad and territory to the allies will be covered by maritime systems Aegis and THAAD land and land missile system Patriot. In this case, the US would have a tactical advantage, however, that today can not predict whether it will be more precise highly developed missile systems or advanced nuclear warheads systems.

It’s hard to believe that the warring parties have undertaken nuclear strike. The first option would be conventional warfare. But if the enemy would take great and effective attacks on densely populated territory or major cities, it could follow the nuclear response. Nuclear battle would be taken to the sparsely populated and unpopulated areas. The main battle could be at sea, mountain areas and cyber warfare.

People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) conducted its modernization based on the restriction of access to certain areas (A2 / AD). At sea, China built a large naval fleet which should be the main instrument in the Chinese defense interests in the Pacific.

For a short time, the Chinese navy will become a dominant force and will be stronger than the United States and its allies. China aims to curb US naval forces in the area of ​​the Okhotsk Sea, Japan Sea, and the area between the Mariana Islands and the Caroline Islands. It is the middle zone. After that, China is planning their maritime potential development that can oppose the US fleet in the outer zone, which covers the area to Hawaii.

How could take the war in Asia? Maybe a few weeks, or months. In this case, one side will win or will to find a compromise between the warring parties. If the war is lasting for years or decades, it will take not particularly intense. States involved in the conflict will have to mobilize all its human and material resources. Diplomacy and communication will take place through a third neutral party.

The period after the war

The war will end by winning some or compromise, but a very important will be the development of the situation after the war. Will the warring country to develop more aggressive nationalism in Asia. Most likely that will be followed during the Cold peace and the country will be divided into opposing blocks, waiting for the right moment for a new war.

But, there is a possibility that the Asian country after the great war could leave nationalism as an ideology and establish a lasting peace and to create a stable Asian community. The leading countries would be China and India.

In conclusion, China will keep its place on the world political map at the turn of the 22nd century, and many other countries in East Asia will not exist.








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