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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thinking Big - China: New Panama Canal, Corruption and Asia

It's easy to look at the news with mention of China individually, but when you start looking at a bigger picture I see China as thinking big, and trying lots of things that have risk, but also a high potential of paying off.

Some examples:

Free Trade Agreement with Australia
Panama Canal Competitor in Nicaragua
2nd $400 Billion Russia China Gas Deal
South China Sea
Mapping of US Electric Grid by two countries
Attacks on Corruption
Improving of China's Military

All of the above campaigns are thinking big, and all will have a potentially significant impact on China. It's hard to say which one would have more impact. The Gas Deals with China, at $800 Billion helps China's energy security tremendously. The efforts in the South China sea for securing resources is also big. Helping create a competitor to the Panama Canal in a Chinese politically friendly country would be historic. And the attacks on corruption may have significant impact on the current Chinese society.

I would argue, the one with the most potential is the campaign against corruption, and it's impact on China's military readiness. Historically, there has been a huge corruption issue in the Chinese military that has reduced it's combat ability. If the Chinese government can reform the Chinese military, and my opinion they will, this will be significant. There are two ways to look at a military force, one is by numbers and the other is by effectiveness. The US through training and technology achieved a military force in the Gulf Wars that shocked the Chinese military with their effectiveness. This forced many changes in the Chinese military to improve their effectiveness. China has been moving away from the idea of a peasant army, that would win through a battle of attrition, to one that can project forces outside of China. Chinese ships participating in the anti pirate campaign near Somalia are an example of that.

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