An exceptional, in-depth article on the threats to China, and the U.S. involvement.
From Oriental Review.org
By Andrew Korybko
March 16, 2015
It’s no secret by now that the US is dead set on containing China, yet it’s shying away from engaging in a direct confrontation with it. Instead, the US is managing a dual policy of creating chaos along China’s western and southwest reaches, while coordinating a containment alliance along its southeastern and northeastern periphery. Central Asia, northeast India, and Myanmar represent the chaos components, while the ‘unsinkable aircraft carriers’ of Japan and the Philippines are the coordinated ones. In this manner, the US is literally surrounding the country with hostile situations and states (with the obvious exception being the Russian frontier), hoping that this can disorient China’s decision makers and consequently pave the way for the external destabilization to infiltrate inwards. Amidst all this plotting, China isn’t sitting on its hands and behaving passively, since it has three specific strategies in mind to break the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC) and counter the US’ Pivot to Asia.
The western and southwestern strategy of the CCC is to create a destabilized ‘rimland’ capable of infecting China’s vulnerable peripheral provinces with contagious chaos. This section examines how American grand strategy in Central and West Southeast Asia is designed to do just that, while a previous publication by the author already explored the prospects of a chain reaction of Color Revolutions emanating from Hong Kong.
The Central Asian ‘hermit state’ is identified as the country most vulnerable to a transnational Taliban offensive sometime in the future. Should this come to pass and the country is not properly prepared to defend itself, then the disastrous consequences would immediately spread to Russia, Iran, and China, as was explained in a previous article by the author. Pertaining to the latter, this involves the massive destabilization of China’s regional gas imports from its largest current supplier, which would of course have negative reverberations in Xinjiang, the ultimate target of the US’ Central Asian chaos policies as they apply to the People’s Republic. The more endangered and insecure China’s continental energy imports are, the more reliant the country becomes on receiving them via maritime channels, which given the US’ naval superiority, places them directly under Washington’s control in the event of a crisis.
The chaotic threat originating in Kyrgyzstan is more tangible than the one in Turkmenistan, as the mountainous republic directly abuts Xinjiang. When looking at the US’ destructive Central Asian strategy, it becomes evident that it has an interest in ushering in the collapse of the Kyrgyz government via a new Color Revolution in order to, among other things, create an Uighur terrorist haven that can enflame the externally directed ethno-religious insurgency against Beijing. From the perspective of American foreign policy, then, a crisis in Kyrgyzstan is a geopolitical lever that can be ‘pulled’ to activate more instability in Xinjiang, with the aim of potentially luring the People’s Liberation Army into a quagmire. In the general scheme of things, both Central Asian republics, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, are essentially anti-Chinese weapons waiting to be (de)constructed by the US for use against the strategic province of Xinjiang, with Uzbekistan also playing a similar role if it implodes (or is prodded to do so by the US).
In this corner of India, which could culturally be considered the northwestern fringe of Southeast Asia, the myriad ethnic tensions and bubbling insurgencies there could make the leap from being a domestic to an international crisis. The author previously assessed that one of the repercussions of last year’s Bodo-inspired violence was to destabilize the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) trade corridor, which would negatively affect Beijing’s plans for a ‘Bay of Bengal Silk Road’. Internationalizing the situation, however, could see ethnic warfare emboldening militant non-state actors in Myanmar, with the end goal that they finally destabilize Yunnan Province, the most culturally diverse area in China that has even been liked to “a perfect microcosm” of it. Although there is no evidence that has yet been procured to suggest that the US played any role in instigating the latest violence in Assam, it doesn’t mean that it can’t do so in the future, especially now that the die of ethnic tension has already been cast. This Damocles’ Sword is continually hanging over the head of India’s decision makers, since they understand that it can be applied against them in the event that they resist Washington’s pressure to commit more closely to the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC).
The greatest conventional threat to China along its southern edge (notwithstanding a hostile India) lies in the overspill of ethnic warfare from Myanmar into Yunnan. This is actually already happening, since the recent violence in Kokang (Shan State) has forced thousands from their homes and into China as refugees, where they are reportedly being seen as ‘burdensome’ to the authorities. Quite obviously, China comprehends the vulnerabilities of Yunnan to Xinjiang-like external destabilization, albeit manifested in a different manner, hence its sensitivity to what may be the reignition of Myanmar’s civil war. After all, the unexpected outbreak of violence has yet again delayed the country’s long-awaited peace talks from being concluded, which were reportedly set to be finalized prior to this.
Now, however, other ethnic groups have become emboldened by the clashes, and are sending their own fighters and mercenaries to Kokang, which has also been put under martial law. It now looks like the fragile nationwide peace process is on the verge of being completely shattered, and the fighting may spread to other ethnic regions if their respective militias decide to take advantage of any perceived government setbacks in Kokang to launch their own offensives. All of this would lead to the deterioration of Yunnan’s security and the influx of thousands of more refugees, some of whom may even be militant-affiliated and intent on starting their own uprisings inside China. It is this factor that scares Beijing the most, namely, that Yunnan’s jungles could one day become home to Xinjiang-like fighters intent on throwing another corner of the country into chaos.
Making sense out of this grand chaos is the fact that it does follow some semblance of order in terms of US strategy. The countries in focus are along China’s western and southwestern edge, which is already ripe for ethnic provocations. Additionally, two of the states abutting the targeted provinces, Kyrgyzstan for Xinjiang and Myanmar for Yunnan, are inherently unstable for their own reasons, thus making them ‘ticking time bombs’ that could be prodded by the US to explode on China’s doorstep. As regards Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and northeast India, their destabilizations are tripwires for the two main ‘bombs’, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar, although the disruption of any of the three aforementioned areas does undermine China in its own right. In short, this vector of American grand strategy is aimed at the destruction of key peripheral states surrounding China in order to chip away at the strength of the central government along its own peripheral areas, two of which (Xinjiang and Yunnan) are susceptible to outside-directed destabilization aimed at ethnic agitation.
On the other side of China, the US is crafting a Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC) to confront Beijing and provoke it into a Reverse Brzezinski intervention in the South China Sea (if it isn’t dragged into one in Myanmar first). Japan and the Philippines are the centerpieces of this strategy, and South Korea and Vietnam are envisioned as playing crucial roles as well. Let’s take a look at Washington’s plans for each highlighted country, as well as how they all fit together into the bigger picture: