AdityaVM wrote:Part 2 of the Post on the thought process behind recent Chinese, behaviour and what can we gleam from the same.
It is my opinion that before we analyse the thought process of the Chinese in the recent incident, we need to first understand what is their “default” mentality. What are the primary motivations that guide Chinese behaviour and how can we understand the same, keeping Chinese history in mind?
Now, more important than analysing Chinese motivations and behaviour, it is important for us to understand what the Chinese DO NOT understand about us.
Because what I have observed here, (and I am guilty of the same as well) is that we assume by “default” that the Chinese understand us, our motivations, our fears, our aspirations and attitude. It is my belief that this is not the case, and the actions the Chinese have taken bears ample testimony to that fact.( I request all the gurus to feel free to pick apart my argument if there are any inconsistencies and things you don’t agree with. The aim here is to start a proactive discussion, allowing us to take advantage of the current Chinese psychological frailties and weakness. This is my aim here and Ego has no place in it. )
I will divide my presentation into Two parts. First part deals with how can we understand Chinese motivations and behaviours regarding us. Second will deal with the things Chinese (individually, as a society and at state level) do not understand about us.
So, allow me to get on with the first part.
I have always believed that the best way to understand a country is to look at how they view their history. Where do they draw the line from the part of their history that is modern ( i.e directly affecting the present state they see) and Ancient. In the Chinese case the modern Chinese history taught to the Chinese begins with the Opium wars. But before we begin with our analysis of the same, we need to understand a historical Chinese pattern that has been repeating cyclically without fail for thousands of years.
Going back to ancient times, Chinese history has had a cycle of events, where periodically, the “Lebensraum” of the Chinese ( Han) shrinks and expands.
Strong Empire- Expanded borders and conquering new territories Expanded military operations causes Imperial Overstretch Rebellions Loss of Centralised Power External enemies attack together - China defeated, Lebensraum shrinks, Chaotic times causes the rise of warlords and local states which fight for dominance From which the Winner establishes himself Strong Empire.
And the Cycle repeats. (This is a very simplistic assessment of the historical perspective, so please excuse)
This cyclical way of things has caused the basic nature of the Chinese state to be a one which expects subservience from its immediate neighbours. Because, your neighbours are not just your neighbours, they are also your primary threat and to neutralise them required you to “show them their place” and “teach them a lesson”. Requiring periodical raids and conquests to subjugate the “Barbarians”.
The way of the Chinese state when looking at war is to look at it in terms of “What price do I have to pay if I have to do this? “and so on. So, the reason the Chinese occupy Spratly and other Sundry Islands in the Champa sea, is because in their calculation, the price they pay for these transgressions is largely overshadowed by the benefit they get. Same principle applies to the LAC.
The Chinese were not following the “no guns” RoE because they have signed an agreement with us. The worth of that Agreement is not worth even toilet paper in a Public restroom. They follow that rule because in the event of escalation with guns, they will have to pay an “unacceptable price” for their misadventure and Salami Slicing.
But here is the more important point. The “unacceptable price “does not remain constant. It varies depending on the expectations from the Centralised authority, and most importantly if they are trying to “stave off” something even more calamitous. Because if they think that there is a situation that is so dangerous, that if they do not avoid that calamity, then the price they have to pay to preserve themselves is more than the “unacceptable price” they have to pay in a misadventure that can stave off that calamity, then what was “unacceptable” before becomes a “something they can live with”.
This distinction is important for us to understand Cheen behaviour in a given situation. The measuring stick should always be “What has changed that made the Chinese Accept a higher amount of “acceptable price” ?
So, in order to make an analysis of the nature of the State-to-State relationship between India and China, we must understand what is the approach of the two countries towards state relations. What is the expectation and the “default” nature of the relationship from their point of view?
India: Equality. The basic nature of the modern Indian state is to deal with any country with a level of equality and expecting the same in return. This can be seen in how India settled its maritime dispute with Bangladesh by accepting UNCLOS judgement that substantially favoured Bangladesh despite being larger and more powerful than it.
China: China’s default expectation in the state relations is “SUBSERVIANCE” The world is a hierarchy with the Middle Kingdom at the top. The only expectations from other states of the world is vassalage and be graced with Chinese magnanimity in return.
Pertaining to the relationship between the two countries, we must understand that the Chinese impressions of India were formed not by the works of Huan Tsang or any other Buddhist pilgrims, but by the Indian troops who were employed by the British in China.
The Sikhs, Dogras, and Madras Sappers along with the others in BIA, actually took part in the opium wars. IIRC the Dogra regimental centre still has an inverted flag of Imperial China from the Second Opium war.
Now, the Opium wars are the beginning of what the CCP terms as its “Century of humiliation” forcing China to sign “Unequal treaties”. A real oxymoron, that is because if you look at the objectives of the Western forces during the opium wars, one of the main objectives was to establish a permanent presence in Beijing. This was resisted by the Qing empire till the end, since it implied “Equality” between the European powers and the Chinese empire.
What we can gleam from this is that, all the treaties that the Chinese ever sign are ”Unequal Treaties” in favour of China which are called as a “natural and harmonious relationship” but the reverse is “Unequal treaties forced upon China when we were weak”, that they see no reason to follow when they see themselves as strong enough to break them.
The only treaties the Chinese complain about being Unequal are the ones NOT in their favour. Any in their favour is “natural and stable”, “Sustainable”, “in friendly spirit”. Now, do people get why these words keep propping up in PRC MoFA press conferences so much, especially when defending Han perfidity?
The Treaty of Peking in 1860 ( Ratified by Prince Gong, since the Xianfeng Emperor actually fled from Beijing.) which the victors forced China to sign, was particularly galling and embarrassing to the Chinese, since the Anglo-French troops were outnumbered by them in a ratio of 10 to 1 and still the Chinese lost. This is one of the events that shaped Modern Chinese thinking, and one of the pivotal moments to understand the worldview of the CCP.
The foreign policemen employed by the British to police the Chinese were Sikh policemen (RaviB garu has elaborated on this) , who in fact used to apprehend multiple Chinese men by tying up their hair braids together and leading them to jail in a procession.
Indian troops took part in the burning of the “Summer Palace” in the Forbidden City, an event so traumatic that it still rankles modern day Chinese. There are photographs available of Indian Cavalry riding into the Summer Palace. In fact, without the Indian troops it would have been very difficult for the Brits to come up with enough numbers to subjugate the Chinese army.
So, what we can get from this is that the Primary experience of Chinese with Indians in living memory is not as Buddhist monks and scholars but as soldiers who conquered them, under the British. (Hence, their paranoia about India teaming up with US and Japan)
During 20th Century Chinese history, by the End of WW2, when China was still in the midst of a countrywide Civil war, with the entire country’s administrative and economic systems in shambles, India had the largest and most battle hardened force in all of Asia and its administrative, judicial and economic framework was robust and stable. If India had the ambition, it could grow into a powerful economy and it could replicate to a small extent what the British accomplished militarily using Indian troops. India had the capability to directly affect China negatively, especially in Tibet.
This was a thoroughly unnerving prospect to the CCP, to have such a powerful state right next to it who could become a very dangerous threat that China would not be able to defend against, at least not without substantial cost. Hence, Mao’s initial friendly attitude and overtures along with Panchsheel nonsense. They wanted to get a feel of the Indian leadership, and estimate their capacity for Ambition and decisive action. We know what they thought of Nehru, so I won’t go there and depress people about lost oppurtunities.
Suffice to say that the CCP has got the measure of the Indian leadership of that time and had seen fit to impose a war not only to “Teach India a lesson” but also to buy a time of Peace for 20-30 years to consolidate their own country. And since 1967, they have been appreciative of India’s capacity to militarily dominate their borders. (At least till Deng Xiaoping)
Now, coming to the recent Galwan valley incident, it is important to remember that while the Chinese use the “Price “aspect to calculate whether a plan of action is feasible or not, some actions which under normal circumstances would be too “costly” become acceptable under specific circumstances as I have mentioned before.
The rise of Xi Jinping and his appointment of himself as “Chairman for life” has had a number of unintended side effects, especially the rise of “Yes men” in his coterie, who do not have the courage to inform him about unfavourable circumstances and force imbalances. They in turn, dump this onto their subordinates and expect them to do whatever the GEISHA Xi asked them to do, damn the reality of the circumstances.
The Expectations from the Chinese side during the clash was, they would take the IA by surprise, kill a few men, and retreat before the Counterattack into their side of the “LAC”. By doing this, they would have calculated that they can tolerate the “Cost” of this adventure so long as it was limited to India huffing and puffing diplomatically, Grinding its teeth in rage at its inability to impose costs on China ( Which would require crossing the LAC) finally forcing us to concede the encroached no mans land.
What they did not count on, was the Ferocious response of 16 Bihar, coupled with their willingness to cross into Chinese controlled territory to butcher them. That has completely thrown their entire Cost Benefit analysis of this entire operation into disarray. They were not counting on taking casualties, especially when they outnumbered us and had higher ground.
And they were especially not counting on the Casualties being so many.
Thus, they resorted to what the Chinese do when things do not go their way. They threaten and warn about “Consequences” and “Miscalculations”
So, what made the Chinese escalate so much on the LAC, even risking a small-scale war? What actually happened that suddenly made a previously “unacceptable price” of tangling with India “a price they can live with”?
Its because there is a silent storm brewing both inside and outside China.
Outside, the world has got a taste of what happens when the Chinese control the manufacturing of essential commodities, medicines and medical equipment. They will bully you by threatening the lives of your innocent citizens, for financial gain and advantage. (Who were put at risk because of a Bio weapon the Chinese intentionally released into the world.)
There is a silent movement of boycott of Chinese products and bringing back manufacturing from China. Countries are openly calling for investigations into the source of the Wuhan virus and how it spread around the world. There are calls for China to pay reparations to the world and the People who lost their lives because of the Chinese virus.
There is slowly but surely a backlash building against China. A silent gathering storm, that can rock the foundations of the wealth and power of the CCP. Because China’s economic growth has come mainly from export-oriented industries, any move to block, sanction, substitute or curtail these exports coming from China will have a disproportionate cascading effect on the Chinese economy and employment figures.
Already there are major protests against CCP because of large scale unemployment and growing food inflation. What most people do not know is that China is a net food importer. They do not grow enough food to feed their own population. They import food. (this is not the case with India, we are a net food exporter. Our problems of food security come from distribution side constraints. Anyway OT for this topic.) Any lack of consistent double digit or high single digit % economic growth, or sanctions will mean, there will be a problem for China in importing food. They will have to burn Forex to import food items to supply their population. Which is only a temporary fix anyway.
What I am getting at here, is that unlike India, which has a large internal market and is food self-sufficient, China is not. It has a small internal market for its size not sufficient to keep its industries afloat.
Which means lack of economic growth and any actions from the outside world on China in revenge for unleashing Wuhan virus, will result in direct financial pain to the “man on the ground” by rising food prices and lack of jobs. Already people in China complain of rising meat prices because of large scale culling of their pig population due to African swine flu. An increased inflation in other basic food items will mean increased unrest in China.
Because the CCP will have failed in two basic things to provide to the people. Food and Employment. No amount of propaganda can fill an empty stomach.
So, in this situation, the external storm will create the perfect conditions for an internal storm in China.
Remember, by appointing himself as Chairman for life GEISHA Xi has made a lot of enemies. These enemies are looking for an opportunity to bring him down and this will be a perfect situation for them to enact a “Purge” like the “Gang of Four” were purged in the 1970s.
If the external storm I mentioned comes to pass, the internal storm WILL always follow. Because, it’s the last opportunity for a generation of Chinese leader “hopefuls” and their backers to claw back their own space before they too are purged for “Corruption”.
GEISHA Xi and his internal coterie know this. They are probably already monitoring diplomatic channels and are getting strong indications of the actions to follow. So, if the external storm comes, then the only way for GEISHA to weather it is to pre-empt the internal storm with a distraction.
Hence, the constant stream of Chinese needling everyone and picking fights with everyone. It’s to create so much noise in the system that, any situation can be escalated with a prepared scenario of China “teaching a lesson “ to those who have wronged her under the revolutionary leadership of GEISHA Xi.
Hope this was useful and will start a conversation that will allow us to understand The present situation better.
It seems we have some new members now who understand lizard pisko pretty well. I found the above post pretty informative and encouraging. Will post further comments soon.
Suraj san, if you could lay down the law to this new member - henceforth, no free time; day job to be kept to bare minimal; spend maximal time posting on BRF; if GHQ/ SHQ exists, find ways to resist pressure (refer to me for pointers in this, I have a pretty good idea of what does NOT work).