China's supremacy with the New Colonialism: 1 of 2: Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Jun 03, 01:47 AM


(Photo:Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), 3 to 5 Dec 2015 

President Jacob Zuma and President Xi Jinping share a light moment during the closing ceremony of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. (Photo: GCIS) )

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China's supremacy with the New Colonialism: 1 of 2: Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Beijing, Tehran: Suzerainty, New Colonialism, and Crime Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs. Global strategic competition remains within a framework of a “balance of weakness”, in which most major players are currently forced to resort to indirect maneuver and proxy actors in order to avoid direct confrontation. No major power is ready for direct, or decisive, military action against another major power, or even against a secondary unconventional opponent, a reality reinforced by the economic and political exhaustion of the US campaigns of the early 21st Century in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rising powers, such as Russia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and even embattled Iran, seek to expand or survive strategically by using mechanisms which avoid the prospect of direct confrontation, or even avoid creating sufficient alarm in po-tential adversaries that they promote a concise and well-organized response. Moreover, as indirect strategies which also utilize proxy, mostly non-kinetic forces, they are not only difficult to detect and quantify, they are more difficult to counter. Established powers, or powers which feel that they have command of the “rules-based” international framework which developed over the past seven decades, tend to act as defensive players, utilizing formal mechanisms (armed forces, overt government financ-ing, etc.) where possible, and have reverted to the use of proxy forces mainly in situa-tions where kinetic projection is required. The US use (and attempted use) of Sunni jihadist forces in Syria, Libya, etc., has been a case in point, often leading to unanticipated outcomes. Many of the proxy assets of the “rising powers” have mostly avoided kinetic engage-ment, and involve either criminal organizations, usually trans-national organizations, or suborned officials (including politicians and national leaders), and corporate executives in target countries. Their goal is to gain strategic projection and dominance without overt force. To call this an “operating model” would be to imply a defined hierarchy and assigned responsibili-ties, which this model very pointedly eschews.

Some “rising powers” (particularly Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran) have used kinetic (fighting) proxy forces for limited theater operations, but these have been less strategi-cally significant than the more diffuse criminal and civilian indirect operations. What is significant is that, by utilizing a systematic campaign of commercially-led “di-plomacy”, the PRC has, within the past two decades, successfully colonized Africa, much of the South Pacific, and much of Central America and the Caribbean, and the Balkans. It can be called a “new colonization model”, and it certainly took advantage of the retrenchment of US, European, and Australasian commercial, diplomatic, and mili-tary presence and prestige during that period. It has been a period of often messy transactions for the PRC (sometimes in concert with Iran), often involving the cover of private investments, and often through subsidiaries of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Australia’s Lowy Institute in January 2018 noted that PRC formal aid to nine South Pacific states (Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Microne-sia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Niue, and Cook Islands) between 2006 to June 2016 totaled $1,781.2-million. Australia’s aid to those states during the period was $7,703-million. Australian influence, arguably, should have been quantitatively greater than the ...