The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is over. It was a seminal event. It...
- ...firmly consolidated political power in the hands of a single man, Xi (no successor was named).
- ...clearly informed the world that China was now a global superpower (and the US was its only rival).
- ...would promote a world based on 'capitalism with Chinese characteristics' (a capitalism in a Leninist cage) in opposition to Western Democracy.
In short, China publicly announced that it is now in a 'cold economic war' with the US for the future of the world. In fact, China was so confident of its eventual victory, it clearly articulated the centerpiece of their effort to accomplish it: one belt one road
- It's an investment of $8 trillion (to start!) to build a global road, rail and maritime system that connects Asia, Africa, and South America (60 countries in total) to China.
- It isn't only backed by Xi personally, it is also now enshrined in the Communist party constitution (!). In other words, it's going to get done.
- By the time this round of investment is completed, a majority of the global economy will be in economic thrall to China. Subsequent iterations ensure that the US will become a second tier economic power. All within 20 years.
Unfortunately, due to a self-inflicted wound (Trump is merely a symptom), the US couldn't be in a worse position to counter this effort. Decades of blind adherence to economic and social neoliberalism has shattered US cohesion along all three vectors: moral, mental, and physical. The result has been intractable economic stagnation, social turmoil, and political chaos. Even worse is on the horizon: the US is careening towards identity authoritarianism. In time, the US may be able to regain stability. Regardless, it's unlikely the US will find a way through this crisis fast enough to mount a successful counter to China's challenge. So, what is to be done under the assumption the US will eventually recover?
One solution is to mount a rearguard action -- a method of delaying an advancing enemy when your forces are in retreat. An action that buys time for the US to regroup and regain cohesion. In this case, the rearguard action I recommend is the disruption of China's plans for one belt one road. This could be done inexpensively and with very little manpower or visibility. How?
- Create groups that operate like global guerrillas. Small groups that operate independently w/o oversight. More letters of marque than special operations.
- In the short term, disrupt the Chinese construction effort. Double and treble construction costs by delaying timeliness and forcing increased security efforts. Drive up the costs of financing. Drive away subcontractors.
- Next, force the Chinese to physically and logically protect the entire system, from roads to ports to trains, from disruption. As my analysis of Lawrence of Arabia shows, it's more damaging to partially disrupt a system than to completely break it. Keep up the pressure -- with the ability of systems disruption to generate a million to one return on investment, this is sustainable.
Writing on a crisp fall day in New England
PS: Doesn't the US risk more from disruption than China? No. With this project, China becomes more far vulnerable to disruption than the US. Also, the US doesn't have a choice. If it doesn't act, the US will cede global dominance to China forever.