Although a great article, the author seems to whitewash the intentions behind China’s global military expansion as if it won’t be a threat. It seems to be strangely forgotten how the United States started going global: Protecting its economic and political interests. Though it’s gone wayward the last few years, the U.S. had well-intended interests and goals in mind whereas the Chinese don’t and never did. You can tell by looking at its own domestic affairs and how it handles them — the crackdown on the current civil unrest in Hong Kong or its infamous Tiananmen Square murder. However, you can decide for yourself who would be better in leading the world.
The burgeoning need to protect commercial assets and Chinese nationals abroad will inevitably lead Beijing to develop new military capabilities and take on missions further afield.
THE CHINESE armed forces are on the move—but to where? For over a decade, academics, policy wonks and government officials have been engaged in a relentless debate about Beijing’s military capabilities and intentions. To some, China is an expansionist country akin to Wilhelmine Germany. Others argue that while China’s assertive behavior in its regional island disputes is disconcerting, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is completely focused on domestic stability and therefore lacks global ambition.
This debate about current Chinese capabilities and intentions is widespread, fervent—and beside the point. While the Chinese leadership would prefer to stay focused on internal development and regional issues, facts on the ground will increasingly compel the CCP to develop some global operational capabilities. Specifically, the burgeoning need to protect commercial assets and Chinese nationals abroad will lead the country to develop some global power-projection capabilities, regardless of its current plans. Even though the Chinese leadership will embark on this path with very limited goals in mind, Chinese thinking on how and when to use force could change once its strategy, doctrine and capabilities evolve to incorporate these new roles. Continue reading