The most likely economic competitor to the United States is China. The Chinese have a strategy to use economic warfare to regain status as the top economy and top military in the world. It is summarized in a 1999 book titled Unrestricted Warfare. The Chinese Dream is the subject of a 2010 book that is gaining in popularity.
China has been building economic alliances around the globe that are designed to position the Yuan to replace the U.S. dollar as primary reserve currency. The Russians have already been very vocal in stating that is what they would like to see happen. We also see thinking from the Muslim world that would suggest a preference for China as well. Consider this recently published at al Jazeera:
Clearly, China has done a good job with their public relations. They have been reaching out to Germany as well:
China is ready to open up new sectors of its economy to German investors, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday, in comments that highlight Beijing's drive for a special bilateral partnership with Berlin bypassing the EU.
"If we both come together in an ideal and optimal way, a dream team will emerge," Li told representatives of German business during a visit to Berlin, his first to a European Union capital since becoming premier in March.
Perhaps the most disturbing news item of the past few months has been the extraordinary closeness of China and Russia as demonstrated in this article:
Exercises are intended to deepen co-operation between militaries, says Chinese army chief
Associated Press in Beijing
China will join Russia later this week for its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner, underlining deepening ties between the former cold war rivals along with Beijing's desire for closer links with regional militaries.
China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware, but only in the last decade have their militaries begun taking part in joint exercises.
China's defence ministry said on Tuesday that its navy would send four destroyers, two guided missile frigates and a support ship for the exercises, which start on Friday in the Sea of Japan and run until 12 July.
The ships departed on Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China's Northern Fleet is based, and headed for the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.
"This marks our navy's single biggest deployment of military force in a China-foreign joint exercise," the ministry said.
General Fang Fenghui, the People's Liberation Army chief of the general staff, announced the exercises during a visit to Moscow, where he met his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov. The two also announced that another round of anti-terrorism joint drills would be held in Russia's Ural mountains from 27 July to 15 August.
I shared that article and my comments on it with one of America's top military minds and this was the note I received in response:
Kevin, thanks for this note…it is timely. President Xi, during a recent statement, said that the most important bilateral relationship "on the planet" is the Chinese-Russian relationship. This is the first time ever that a pronouncement such as this has ever (ever) been made…we need to pay close attention to what is going on between these two superpowers and not be overly naive about their past behavior, instead, we need to focus on future intentions.
Now, consider this article from Qiushi that we have quoted before. Read it carefully in light of what we have been sharing (key points shown in bold):
December 10, 2010
When faced with an aggressive U.S., how should China respond? The article "Cast Away Illusions; Prepare for Struggle" that Mao Zedong published on August 14, 1949, is still applicable to today's situation: Our wishes to persuade the imperialists and those who are against China to be kindhearted and repent are fruitless and will never come to pass. The only way is to organize forces to fight against them. One fundamental principle that we must follow is the strategy, "If friends come, treat them with wine; if jackals come, we have shotguns for them."
1. Economic Warfare. Of course, to fight the U.S., we have to come up with key "weapons." What is the most powerful weapon China has today? It is our economic power, especially our foreign exchange reserves. The key is to use it well. If we use it well, it is a weapon; otherwise it may become a burden. Counting on the fact that the U.S. dollar is the international currency, the U.S. government has increased the number of dollars in circulation, leading to its devaluation. The countries with high reserves in dollars will suffer, but the U.S. itself loses nothing. However, for this to be true there is a premise. Someone must purchase those excess dollars they printed. If no one purchases them, then they will only be circulated domestically, inside the U.S., and cause inflation. In order for the countries with foreign exchange reserves in the U.S. dollar to restrain the U.S. from over-issuing U.S. currency, they must act together and not buy U.S. dollars. There are two ways to achieve this. The first is for all these countries to reach a consensus and act together as one. The second is if one country takes the lead, does not buy U.S. dollars, and other countries then follow. Which alternative should China choose? The first tactic requires countries with foreign exchange reserves to reach a consensus. China, Japan, the U.K., India, and Saudi Arabia are all countries with high foreign exchange reserves. Japan is constrained by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and will not break away from the U.S., so the probability of Japan cooperating is very low. Great Britain has always followed the U.S., so the probability that it will cooperate with China is also pretty low. There have been recent changes in Britain's political structure. Prime Minister Cameron has adopted a new strategy toward China that increases the possibilities for cooperation, making it a more likely player than Japan. Also, the U.K.'s foreign exchange reserves, which are market adjusted instead of sovereign funds, are to a large extent subject to market impact. India has stayed closely allied with the U.S. in recent years, and Obama promised to support India for a permanent membership in the UNSC. Thus, the probability for India to cooperate with China is also not great. India's purchasing power of foreign exchange reserves is very limited anyway, so it cannot influence the overall situation much. Saudi Arabia does not have much political interest in the U.S.; its purchase of foreign exchange reserves is purely commercial. So they are more likely just to follow the market. Based on this analysis, it is very unlikely that China and these countries would ever reach a consensus. Therefore, we are left with the second option, which is to take the lead in affecting the market for U.S. dollars. This approach is market-driven, so others will not be able to easily blame China. It is a good solution, and also we will not owe anyone anything for the favor of becoming our partner. The key issue is that China must have people who understand the market well and are good at using the market at the right time to impact the exchange rate of the U.S. currency. Of course, the most important condition is still that China must have enough courage to challenge the U.S. currency. China can act in one of two ways. One is to sell U.S. dollar reserves, and the second is not to buy any U.S. dollars for a certain period of time. The first option may cause the U.S. dollar to devalue, so China must consider whether it can take a loss resulting from the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. However, the U.S.'s over-printing currency will also cause the dollar to depreciate and will cause the foreign exchange reserve to shrink even more in value. Thus, in comparison, we will probably end up losing less. For the second option, if we do not buy the U.S. debt, what should we buy instead to increase our foreign exchange reserves? Options are the Euro, the British sterling, Japanese yen, Indian rupee, Russian ruble, and Brazilian currency. At the same time, buying the debt of these countries will help promote good relations and economic and trade cooperation between China and these countries. It will enhance China's economic influence in these countries. Therefore, this is a highly cost-effective tactic, and, more importantly, China is the biggest buyer of U.S. debt. China's actions will have a demonstrable effect on the market. If China stops buying, other countries will pay close attention and are very likely to follow. Once the printed excess dollars cannot be sold, the depreciation of the dollar will accelerate and the impact on Americans wealth will be enormous. The U.S. will not be able to withstand this pressure and will curtail the printing of U.S. currency. The dollar will then appreciate. Most importantly, through this, China's foreign exchange reserves will no longer be "the meat of the Tang-dynasty monk"  for the U.S. Instead, they will become a major economic force to constrain the U.S. The key to success is that China needs to have enough courage and determination to take the U.S. pressure. This is exactly what we need. It just shows how much the U.S. needs China. The more pressure we can take, the more successful this strategy. It will indicate that this "weapon" is highly effective and the U.S. will start to fear us.
2. Financial War. The fact that the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency makes the U.S. a financial superpower. Currently, China's increased share in the International Monetary Fund and its increased voting rights are a very big step forward. The problem is not that the value of this share is expressed in U.S. dollars, but that it would be best if the share could be expressed in RMB. Therefore, for China to challenge the position of the U.S. dollar, it needs to take a path of internationalization and directly confront the U.S. dollar. The path of internationalization can be done in four ways. First, use Hong Kong as a springboard to increase the payment of the amount and the issuance of RMB bonds; there has been much progress, but not enough; we should believe in the popularity of the RMB in the international community. Second, using the huge foreign exchange reserve as a guarantee, we can issue RMB bonds globally, allowing other countries to use RMB as their foreign exchange reserve; we can consider setting up a central foreign exchange bank, specializing in the deposit and lending of foreign exchange reserves and related financial services. The huge foreign exchange reserves serve the same role as gold, to ensure that offshore RMB can be exchanged for foreign currency at any time. Third, create an international version of the Chinese securities market to attract foreign companies. Participants can buy the securities with RMB or foreign currencies. Overseas companies that are listed can raise funds in yuan or other currencies. Then the listed companies or a foreign exchange policy can determine the specific proportion of RMB or other currencies. Fourth, establish an international currency trade center, allowing world currencies to trade, forming an international financial market and a foreign exchange market. Specific trading rules and the national currency trade volume can be adjusted according to market demand. China's 30 years of history of reform and opening up show that the Chinese government and its people's understanding and application of the market mechanism and free trade will be on par with the U.S. and other Western countries. China's ability to grasp the laws of the market and the ability to control economic trends are not inferior to those of Western countries. The market mechanism can propel the internationalization of the RMB, rather than relying on government negotiations. We fully trust the Chinese government's capacity to handle the market and the regulations. If these four suggested actions can be implemented smoothly using the market mechanism, the RMB will become the world's reserve currency, putting pressure on the U.S. dollar and undermining U.S. financial strength.
3. Military exercises and simulated warfare. No doubt the U.S. military exercises challenge China's strategic bottom line. China should certainly actively respond, but the issue is how to respond skillfully. Wherever the U.S. chooses to conduct its military exercises, let's pick another location for our military exercise. This is not to avoid confrontation; it is "besieging Wei to rescue Zhao."  The timing can be the same, but the location can be different. In areas where the U.S. once engaged in a military exercise, the Chinese military should immediately arrange a military exercise with a clear target, simulating war. There is no need for China to fear the U.S. aircraft carrier. During the Korean War, when the contrast in military strength was much greater than it is now, we were not afraid; why should we be now? Would the U.S. really dare to start a war with China? Facts prove that America is a paper tiger that cannot even handle Iraq or Afghanistan, not to mention China. We should definitely have the strategic determination and courage to defy such an enemy. As for aircraft carriers, they should not put any military pressure on China. Courageously contacting the U.S. carriers will only benefit us, not harm us. Only by in-depth contact can we truly understand the U.S. aircraft carriers. The fundamental purpose of war simulation via military exercises is to show China's determination to meet challenges instead of avoiding them. This will send a clear message to the world that China has the strong will to resolutely safeguard its national sovereignty.
4. Space war. All U.S. strategic forces rely on its strong space facilities, which are both an advantage and a weakness for the U.S. As long as China can fully demonstrate its ability to destroy any space facility, and in particular to attack U.S. satellite facilities with precision, at a minimum cost, China can pose enough of a threat and place enough pressure on the U.S. Compared to U.S. aircraft carriers, U.S. military satellites are more vulnerable to attack. China's missiles can directly attack the military satellites, which usually orbit at an altitude less than 10,000 kilometers. In 2007, when China test fired missiles to destroy an abandoned satellite, the whole United States was shocked. China should make efforts to develop space weapons as soon as possible, as this is the most effective military means of attacking the U.S. If we can eventually fire missiles from a satellite, the U.S. will find that it has nowhere to hide; it will find itself entirely exposed to the attack radius of Chinese weaponry. At the same time, China's satellite technology is what it is most proud of, most good at, and what is most independent (from foreign forces). It is only a small step behind the U.S. and Russia. Vigorously strengthening the building of our space military forces should be not only the focus of our national defense, but also the most powerful weapon to deter U.S. military blackmail. We should learn to explore independence in making more strategic choices and in developing weapons of strategic importance, instead of following the direction of the U.S. military. Of course, the Chinese government should not be afraid of Western media hype about the China threat. Defending our own interests is more important than any PR stunt. When the U.S. government sent troops to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, it didn't even care about criticism from other countries. Following our own way is a reflection of our self-confidence and is also a strategy.
5. Attacking a nearby enemy. The U.S. seems highly interested in forming a very strong anti-China alliance. It not only made a high-profile announcement of its return to East Asia, but also claimed to lead in Asia. What is especially unbearable is how the U.S. blatantly encourages China's neighboring countries to go against China. We cannot completely blame the U.S., as flies do not stare at seamless eggs. Countries like Japan, India, Vietnam, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Korea are trying to join the anti-China group because they either had a war or another conflict of interest with China. They are attempting to gain benefits by using the U.S., and these are the countries that surround China. Throughout the history of the new China (since 1949), peace in China has never been gained by giving in, only through war. Safeguarding national interests is never achieved by mere negotiations, but by war. Therefore, China must adhere to a basic strategic principle: We will not attack unless we are attacked; if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack. We must send a clear signal to our neighboring countries that we don't fear war, and we are prepared at any time to go to war to safeguard our national interests. China's neighboring countries need China's international trade more than China needs them, with the vast majority of China's trade deficit caused by these countries. Therefore, they, but not China, will suffer greater damage by antagonizing China. China should make good use of these economic advantages and strategic power. This is also the most effective means to avoid a war.
6. Befriending distant enemies. To attack a nearby enemy and befriend distant enemies was one of the most brilliant bits of political wisdom (articulated) during the Spring and Autumn Period. It should still be the best diplomatic strategy for China. Regarding the U.S. attempt to build an anti-China alliance, China's counter strategy of befriending distant enemies can have three components: First, disintegrate the traditional U.S. allies, particularly the European Union. Second, strengthen strategic cooperation with the U.S.'s neighboring countries. Even if we do not form an anti-American alliance, at least we can let the U.S. feel the pressure. Third, step up cooperation with Africa and other regions that the U.S. does not pay attention to. Let's first analyze how to implement the first strategy. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and a weakened Russia removed it from being the European Union's biggest threat and strategic rival. The thought of war is far removed from the EU, and peace is the norm. There is no reason for the U.S. to exist in Europe. Almost certainly, Europe does not need the U.S. in the military arena. So is there any economic need for the U.S.? The economies of the U.S. and the EU are quite homogeneous; they are more mutually competitive rather than interdependent. The global financial crisis has saddled Europe with huge losses and the U.S. with almost none. This has made Europe recognize that the U.S. has a reduced value. Many European countries have come to realize that Europe does not need the U.S. The estrangement between Europe and the U.S. is an opportunity for China. The complimentary economic relationship between China and the EU is greater than the mutual economic dependence between the EU and the U.S. Therefore, China should make Europe the focus of its strategy of "befriending distant enemies." Recently, China has increased exchanges with France, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Germany, and the UK, thereby significantly strengthening the cooperation between China and the EU. This is the right strategic direction. We must have the courage to implement the second strategy. The enemy's enemy is our friend; even if it is not our friend, it can be used to contain the U.S. In the Americas, countries surrounding the U.S. are not monolithic. China can further expand its cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries that are not taking orders from the U.S. In addition, China should strengthen its cooperation with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and other countries in the Americas, both in their economies and in trade. These countries' economies do not vigorously compete with the Chinese economy, and there are broad areas of cooperation, particularly in agriculture. China should weaken its agricultural trade with the U.S. but enhance it with other American countries. China should make good use of the huge agricultural market, an important strategic diplomatic tool, to contain the diplomatic strategy of the U.S. On this strategy, China hasn't done good planning and implementation. It should seize the current opportunity, that the U.S. is overlooking the Americas, to weaken the U.S.'s strategic backyard. Third, we should vigorously cultivate Africa. At present, the diplomatic relationship between China and African countries is built upon a good base and prospects are promising. The African countries are not only helping China in competition in the international diplomatic situation, but, in recent years, we have also been strengthening economic and trade cooperation with them. However, there haven't been many military exchanges, so China's strategic and economic interests in Africa are not effectively protected. Piracy is rampant in Somalia and the international community is crying out, but doing very little that is effective in the fight against piracy. Therefore, China can make use of this situation to expand its military presence in Africa
7. Public opinion war. The basic function of public opinion is to arouse the attention of the majority of the population, who are either for or against a certain issue. The media's influence on public opinion agitates for support of or opposition to a person, an issue, or a country. So far, compared to the U.S., China's position in international public opinion is vulnerable. It is often in the position of being opposed, with the initiators usually being the U.S. media. However, is the U.S. media loyal to the U.S.? No, the media is loyal to the market. Whoever can ensure that the media makes a profit can control the media. The media's greatest goal is to expand their influence and expand their market share. In this regard, we can capitalize on the current advantage, which is that China is the object of a high degree of concern in the world, to fully use the role of the market to leverage the tone of international media coverage. For example, the Chinese leaders can take the initiative to accept some important Western media interviews, showing the world the real China and real Chinese leaders. In the past, Chinese leaders' tendency to appear in a group has been very different from that in Western culture, which focuses on individuality. Westerners like to see more concrete and vivid individuals, especially the leaders. Therefore, Chinese leaders who have more charisma, personality, and the courage to accept a Western media interview are usually popular in the West. There are a number of media outlets in the world, but the opportunities to interview Chinese leaders are scarce. Being able to interview the Chinese leaders would certainly help to improve the media's influence, would be conducive to attracting attention, and would expand the market. Therefore, Chinese leaders can fully take advantage of the market to let the world know the real China, understand China's policies, and understand the Chinese people and government, so as to win the support of upright people, increase China's influence, and create a favorable international environment. Past history has proven that whenever Chinese leaders take the initiative to actively accept the Western media, our policies are in an advantageous position, the Western media's reports on China are more objective and comprehensive, and the Western public's understanding of China is comprehensive and concrete. Recently, there has been a great breakthrough in Chinese leaders' acceptance of Western media interviews, but there is still great flexibility in the choice of media and in the way interviews are conducted. We can further explore this area, and choose how to publish information that Western people are used to. For example, we can do television interviews, publish articles in newspapers, give comments on the Internet, and even post a message on the micro-blog. Internet tools played a great role in U.S. President Barack Obama's election campaign. We can use the new media and actively seize the international public opinion market.
Editor's Note: On December 10, 2010, the website of Qiushi Journal, the official publication of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, published an article examining six strategies that the U.S. has developed to contain China: a trade war, an exchange rate war, a public opinion war, an anti-China campaign, military exercises and simulated warfare, and the development of an anti-China alliance. The author also analyzed seven counter-strategies for China to adopt. The entire article is translated below.
[Days after Chinascope published this translation, Qiushi website took down the original Chinese and then restored the article with an additional sentence added at the end: "The above article only represents the personal views of the author and does not represent the position or views of Qiushi Journal or this site." Chinascope has kept a Google cached copy of the original article. To read that copy, please click here.]
Now, compare what you just read with the following quotes from Jan Sejna's We Will Bury You written 30 years ago, before the fall of the Soviet Union:
The Soviet view was that during Phase Three Capitalism would suffer an economic crisis that would bring Europe to its knees and stimulate the influence of ‘progressive' forces in European governments.Our planners believed we could discount the possibility of a world war in this phase because the U.S.A. would have withdrawn its commitment to help its former allies. We could therefore foment local or regional wars in Europe in support of progressive movements – if it should be necessary. Once America had abandoned the defence of Europe, we should apply ourselves to convincing the Europeans that the U.S. was pursuing a self-interested policy and even conspiring actively against them; thus we would increase America's isolation . . .
The fourth and final phase of the Plan looked forward to the dawn of ‘Global Democratic Peace'. At the start of Phase Four the U.S. would be isolated from both Europe and the developing countries. We could therefore undermine it by the use of external economic weapons, and so create the social and economic conditions for progressive forces to emerge inside the country.
Now consider that Russia has urged China to join forces against the West. We have written on this before:
And if you are interested in reading even more that we have written on this, check out our cover story in the current issue of The Counter Terrorist magazine.
Watch the Snowden affair carefully. It clearly appears that Russia and China have been willing to exploit his revelations to hurt U.S. credibility.
The bottom line is this: we are in a global economic war. Perhaps nothing will have a greater impact on our way of life going forward. It's time we recognized this reality.