A foreign ministers meeting of the Quad, the four-nation bloc comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia, sent a strong message to that rogue entity called the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Tuesday (6 October). At the same time, it also sent an additional signal, that the US and Asian members of the Quad have differing approaches to the problem of dealing with China.
While US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was upfront in calling out China, the other three failed to name China, speaking about it in elliptical terms. Pompeo said, it is more critical than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCPs exploitation, corruption and coercion. We have seen this in the South, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Straits.
The tone was different with the other three members. The Japanese talked about developing a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and India about the need for upholding a rules-based international order. The Australian foreign minister talked about the Quad having a positive agenda, reports Mint.
Where there may be substantive agreement between members of the Quad in trade, where at least three members, the US, Japan and India, have quietly decided to move trade dependence and supply chains away from China.
Trade is where the Quad can and should confront and contain China. It is the least damaging among many options.
India has already banned certain Chinese-owned apps and has chosen to vet Chinese investment projects most closely. It has put in place a production-linked incentive scheme to get companies to shift production bases to India under Atmanirbhar Bharat an umbrella term meant largely to get more military equipment produced locally and to get key players in electronics and active pharma ingredients to Make in India (which is code for lowering China dependence).
Japan is offering incentives for companies to relocate supply chains outside China, and Australia is also trying to figure out how to reduce its China linkages after being subjected to state-supported cyber-attacks from Dragon country.
The US under Trump has, of course, been escalating a trade war for years, and has recently extended sanctions and penalties on Chinese companies.
If the Quad has, separately, done much to call out and impose economic costs on China for hostile acts against its neighbours and trade partners, and is yet hesitating to act more boldly in unison, the reasons for the ambivalence vary from country to country.
For the US, which is a Pacific power, putting a check on Chinese domination in Asia is critical. It thus has military (mostly naval), economic and cyber security interests at stake. But it faces no direct military threat from China. And, having actively disengaged from many military conflicts of the George Bush and Barack Obama years, it has no reason to contest China militarily beyond a point.
Japan and Australia face economic and cyber threats from China, but it is unlikely that China will ever escalate conflicts with them to the military arena. So, neither has an interest in provoking China beyond a point.
In the case of India, we face a triple threat: actual possibility of a military conflict, a trade conflict, and cyber-warfare. We are vulnerable on all fronts, though militarily we can give them a bloody nose. But we have even less of a reason to provoke a military conflict right now, when we are down on the economic front.
Most significant, the country that really faces a military and economic threat to its existence from China is Taiwan, but it is not even mentioned as a potential member of the Quad.
Even in the US, the Democratic party is more likely to try and heal its rupture with China, which makes it riskier for the other Quad members to do anything that will end up in military, cyber or economic conflicts that nobody can win.
While the whole of Europe and most of Asia (barring Pakistan and North Korea) are clear that China is no cuddly teddy bear, no one wants to confront it. If you leave out Donald Trump, most of the world (including India) has been extraordinarily nice to China, never mind how badly it behaves with them. This is, of course, basic human behaviour. When faced with a loud and muscular bully, very few stand up to it.
The world did not stand up to Adolf Hitler when he started militarising post-First World War Germany, or when he swallowed up Austria and a part of Czechoslovakia. It was only when he invaded Poland that the world could no longer afford to ignore the new thug who was threatening everybody.
When the US was obsessed with the Soviet Union, and later the non-existent Russian threat, it was over-sweet to China, and allowed it to break every norm of economic behaviour from currency manipulation to intellectual property theft to adoption of non-tariff barriers and predatory export pricing.
India was no different. Jawaharlal Nehru, of course, allowed the Chinese to swallow Tibet without a murmur, declined a UN Security Council seat in favour of communist China, and sent his soldiers to war in 1962 without proper woollies or ammunition. Recently, Narendra Modi, after standing up to China in Doklam, has tried hard to be nice to Xi Jinping in bilateral meetings to his eternal regret, as China repaid his friendliness with hostility.
The problem is, unlike Hitler, Xi Jinping (Xitler) is on a stronger wicket. Hitler did not have the atom bomb or the military might to take on so many great powers all together. China not only has nuclear weapons, but also the conventional military might and the population numbers to thwart any concerted military threat to itself excepting on the high seas, where American naval power still is vastly superior. If the US, India, Australia and Japan decide to block China on the high seas and restrict its sea access, they can do something to thwart the dragon.
But not much more. Even partial denial of sea access will not impact China much as it has enough land and other routes from which its economic power can be projected and trade can continue without too many barriers. This includes the Gwadar Port in Balochistan through Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
To make matters worse, a Covid-impacted world may have no stomach to do even this, and its dependence on Chinese purchasing power may have grown over the last few years as China focused on internal consumption growth.
A McKinsey study last year, titled China and the World, written before China started baring its fangs over Hong Kong, Taiwan, India and much of its southern neighbourhood, had this to say:
The relationship between China and the rest of the world appears to be entering a new phase. Chinas economic miracle was fuelled by industry and investment, but today domestic consumption is the main driving force of growth. The country is becoming less exposed in economic terms to the rest of the world. However, reflecting Chinas rise to being the worlds second-largest economy and its leading trading nation, the rest of the world is becoming more exposed to China. These shifts have been accompanied by trade tensions and rising protectionism in many countries, raising the question whether we have reached a point of peak integration between China and the world.
The report raises the right question: have we a reached a point from where the worlds engagement with China can only fall?
The answer is a big yes. Xitler cant be confronted militarily like Hitler was. He can only be sanctioned and isolated in trade, with the hope that the Chinese people will, at some time, realise that the cause of their increasing isolation is not the rest of the world, but their own autocratic party and its bosses.
This ought to be the Quads primary prong of strategic containment of China, apart from naval coordination in the Indo-Pacific region. Xitler cannot be defeated like Hitler; he has to be worn down economically like the Soviet Union was. The world has to brace for multi-year economic warfare. It should not blink first.
- China and the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean - The Diplomat - June 10th, 2021
- Africa must protect the high seas before its too late - Mail and Guardian - June 10th, 2021
- Bringing the High Seas Biodiversity Treaty Into Port - Council on Foreign Relations - June 10th, 2021
- SEACOR Power survivor begged God to 'calm the seas' after being swept overboard - WWLTV.com - June 10th, 2021
- Why the Ocean Needs the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Prevention Act - Earthjustice - June 10th, 2021
- Ambitious treaty offers a once in a lifetime chance to protect the high seas - Euronews - June 10th, 2021
- Two Members of the Jamaica Defence Force Are First-Ever Appointed to United States Coast Guard Academy - US Embassy in Jamaica - June 10th, 2021
- Oh. My. Gawd! A Friends-themed cruise is setting sail and heres what you need to know - Woman & Home - June 10th, 2021
- Why its time we woke up and listened to the ocean - The Citizen - June 10th, 2021
- Taking Lighthouse to the Top - The SandPaper - June 10th, 2021
- 1823: WHEN A FEW BAD APPLES SPOILED THE WRECKING TRADE - Florida Keys Weekly - June 10th, 2021
- Food for sailing: Our guide to the best options - Yachting World - June 10th, 2021
- On the International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing, Pew Advocates Discuss Their Work - The Pew Charitable... - June 10th, 2021
- These non-profits are determined to conserve the vast oceans of the Earth - YourStory - June 10th, 2021
- Beverly High graduates encouraged to enjoy the little things, do some deep introspection - Wicked Local - June 10th, 2021
- Didn't get enough of a 'Friends' fix from the reunion? How about a 'Friends'-themed cruise? - USA TODAY - June 10th, 2021
- Protecting the ocean from 5 big threats (photo gallery) | US Embassy & Consulates in Italy - US Embassy Rome - June 10th, 2021
- Tracking down mystery boats on the high seas - The Verge - February 20th, 2021
- This 262-Foot Superyacht Concept Comes With Its Own Stage for Concerts on the High Seas - Robb Report - February 20th, 2021
- Will NPFC Protect Pacific Saury by Cutting Fish Catch? China and Taiwan Might Disagree - JAPAN Forward - February 20th, 2021
- 2018 covert op that is embarrassing India - The Tribune India - February 20th, 2021
- Opinion: The other environmental treaties the US must confront - Ensia - February 20th, 2021
- China's New Coast Guard Law and Implications for Maritime Security in the East and South China Seas - Lawfare - February 20th, 2021
- AI can help reduce the risk of HIV in high-risk communities - Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - February 20th, 2021
- 'Wicked Tuna' rivalry gives way to cooperation | Local News | newburyportnews.com - The Daily News of Newburyport - February 20th, 2021
- Croatia claims that BiH's Right to the High Seas Access has not been endangered - Sarajevo Times - February 20th, 2021
- This Sea Dragon Skyrim mod brings a dash of Sea of Thieves to Tamriel - PCGamesN - February 20th, 2021
- Sea Of Thieves: 10 Tips And Tricks To Know Before Playing - TheGamer - February 20th, 2021
- A TikToker Captured Australias Own Black Hawk Down Moment On The High Seas Of Sydney Harbour - Pedestrian TV - February 20th, 2021
- WCU professor emeritus explores the adventures of early women explorers in new book - Western Carolina University News - February 20th, 2021
- NEWPORT AREA WEATHER REPORT: Feb. 20-21 - newportri.com - February 20th, 2021
- The Staggering Decline of Oceanic Sharks and Rays The Revelator - The Revelator - February 20th, 2021
- The Future Of The Aircraft Carrier - CNBCAfrica.com - February 20th, 2021
- Hillicon Valley: Congress prepares to hold hearing on SolarWinds breach, Big Tech content moderation | Tensions rise between Capitol Hill and... - February 20th, 2021
- PES University will launch satellite to monitor ships - The New Indian Express - February 20th, 2021
- Sea of Thieves is now cross-platform compatible thanks to steam network. - Joplin Business Journal - February 20th, 2021
- What's the secret to BTS' Jimin's shoulder reveal? Seven highlights from V Live for 'BE Essential Edition' - MEAWW - February 20th, 2021
- Life and death on the Mediterranean Sea - Morning Star Online - February 20th, 2021
- This 262-Foot Superyacht Concept Comes With Its Own Stage for Concerts on the High Seas - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 17th, 2021
- Uppena movie review: Romance on the high seas - The Hindu - February 17th, 2021
- Amid rising seas, 'dry' resort is wetter than it likes - Minneapolis Star Tribune - February 17th, 2021
- Review: All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace - The Nerd Daily - February 17th, 2021
- A Deep Dive Into the Sea Shanty Craze, And Why Chicago Was Ahead of the TikTok Trend - WTTW News - February 17th, 2021
- Is This the End of the Ocean Beach Pier? - OB Rag - February 17th, 2021
- While sailing the Caribbean, Athens man, crew rescue members of capsized cargo ship - Online Athens - February 17th, 2021
- Sea of Thieves Season One Still Doesn't Address One Big Problem - GameRant - February 17th, 2021
- Get To Know The Star of Nickelodeon's New Show 'Santiago of the Seas' Kevin Chacon! - Just Jared Jr. - October 10th, 2020
- The Need for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean - The Pew Charitable Trusts - October 10th, 2020
- Japan seeks to boost catch limits of prized bluefin tuna - Thehour.com - October 10th, 2020
- Graham Elders grand adventures led to the publication of a novella - SooToday - October 10th, 2020
- 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Screen Rant - October 10th, 2020
- SECDEF Esper Calls for 500-Ship Fleet by 2045, With 3 SSNs a Year and Light Carriers Supplementing CVNs - USNI News - October 10th, 2020
- Avast! Boss Audio's new weatherproof touchscreen brings CarPlay and Android Auto to boats - The Verge - October 10th, 2020
- Changing dynamics in the SCS and increasing Chinese aggression - Modern Diplomacy - October 10th, 2020
- Africa: Continent Urged to Protect Sea Life - The Streetjournal - October 10th, 2020
- Kevin Chacon Talks Santiago Of The Seas Exclusive Interview - BSCkids - October 10th, 2020
- COVID-19 Leaves Fisheries Observers in the Dark - The Maritime Executive - October 10th, 2020
- Most of My Friendships Were Toxic, But Now Im So Lonely! - The Cut - October 10th, 2020
- Kyndra Sanchez to star in Nickelodeon series Santiago of the Seas - Animation Xpress - October 10th, 2020
- Genting and Royal Caribbean to relaunch Singapore cruise operations - TradeWinds - October 10th, 2020
- Dog saved on the high seas - kdvr.com - September 4th, 2020
- Vault of the Ancients update brings dogs and treasures to Sea of Thieves - PC Invasion - September 4th, 2020
- Piracy in 2020: the trends you need to know - Lexology - September 4th, 2020
- 'We are closer to the other side of this crisis every day' Cruise boss confident of a return to sea - Telegraph.co.uk - September 4th, 2020
- How Chinas Massive Fishing Fleet Is Transforming the Worlds Oceans - Slate - September 4th, 2020
- Apps and after: Chinas growing naval muscle will have to be jointly countered - The Times of India Blog - September 4th, 2020
- The human impact of organized crime in fisheries extends far beyond the ocean - GreenBiz - September 4th, 2020
- The Italian Navy Arrives in World of Warships: Legends - War History Online - September 4th, 2020
- 42 Crew, Nearly 6000 Cows Missing After Ship Sinks In Storm-Tossed Seas Off Japan - NPR - September 4th, 2020
- Can the world unite to combat illegal fishing? - Equal Times - September 4th, 2020
- Ocean Infrastructure Has Basically Created Cities at Sea - Gizmodo - September 4th, 2020
- Urgent action needed for small-scale fishers to withstand the climate crisis says new WWF repor - WWF International - September 4th, 2020
- Reducing inequalities to save the planet - ScienceBlog.com - September 4th, 2020
- Is China Behind a Recent Insurgent Attack in India's Northeast? - The Diplomat - September 4th, 2020
- Alta Mar High Seas Season 4? Is There Any Possibility? - The Buzz Paper - August 10th, 2020
- GAME ON: Drift gently along the high seas with your 'Raft,' your pals and sharks - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - August 10th, 2020
- Alta Mar High Seas Season 3: Release Date, Cast, Plot, Trailer And All New Latest Information Here - World Top Trend - August 10th, 2020
- Alta Mar season 3 cast: Who is in the cast of High Seas? - Express - August 10th, 2020
- High Seas Season 4 Expected Release Date, Cast Info and Every Other Detail - News Lagoon - August 10th, 2020
- Shark Week 2020: How The Pandemic Added To This Years Programming - Forbes - August 10th, 2020