Deterrence or Readiness?

After ruffling the feathers with its covert land grabbing intentions, China has stoked a fear unseen for several centuries in the South China Sea. The polarization against the CRIPT-K axis has galvanized truly well. This blog talks about the potential for war if it were to happen, providing the underlying dynamics and its fallouts on the outcome. (923 words, reading time 4-5 minutes).

After ruffling the feathers with its covert intentions of land grabbing, China has stoked a fear unseen for several centuries in the South China Sea. Of course, it is not just the passive land-grab, its active intrusion, and malignant interference in the internal politics to influence the decision making. The world is, of course, aware of this potent subvert development.

The CRIPT-K Axis

CRIPT-K stands for an axis formed by China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and North Korea. To the disadvantage of the CRIPT-K axis (just invented this acronym while writing this blog), CRIPT-K has galvanized a congregation of forces against them. Chief amongst those are QUAD, expansion of the Five Eyes to Six Eyes. Initiation of Seven and Nive Eyes countries’ involvement reignited the ‘Durian Pact’ with potential expansion of the ‘Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA), into the South China Sea. Chinese moves have hastened an upgrade and build-up of arms in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, and India, and Australia are already part of the Quad along with the US and Japan.

The Bamboo Diplomacy and Natuna Standoff

I have reservations about Thailand because of the ongoing strife between the king and his populace and its inclination towards ‘Bamboo Diplomacy.’ Let’s now visit the ‘Natuna Standoff.’ In Sept 2020, Chinese vessels infiltrated the exclusive economic zone of Indonesia’s fishing territories of Natuna Island. This resulted in minor skirmishes between China and Indonesia.

Bound by interests

There certainly is a weakness and potential for a few countries getting caught in the crossfire, not because they intend to participate actively. As Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon from the Foreign Policy write, “Even when states do not actively switch patrons, the possibility that they could provide them with greater leverage.” In a real conflict, there is a potential for these countries to not side with either of the superpowers.

Chinese incursions into the Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Philippine, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Indonesian waters and air spaces is now an established pattern. With its recent adventurism from Natuna Standoff and its invasive incursions of several countries’ sovereign waters and air spaces, China has pushed these countries to drop their Bamboo diplomacy and remove their ambivalence to side with the US.

This consolidation and polarization of forces are massive polarization against CRIPT-K (China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and North Korea).


Is war inevitable?

If I understand China, posturing is different than actually going to war. They will test the waters are keep their readiness but won’t dare to open front anywhere. If they sense a weakness in the system, they will right-away grab the opportunity. Under prevailing situations, China is unlikely to undertake any active incursions, not because it does not intend to, but because it knows its flaws and intrinsic weaknesses.

What about Russia?

Russo Putin knows his state is a declared and established pariah state. It has power but not sufficient economic might to wage war. It will provoke China, but it will take advantage of the situation to re-establish itself as one of the mainstream players in the global front-yards. There is a lack of trust between the two major players – China and Russia, to the extent that Russia did not export its S-400 latest technology to China due to the fear that China may reverse engineer and steal its secrets (Conversely, India has S-400).

The China-Pakistan Nexus

This nexus has been mushrooming due to a marriage of convenience. For China and Pakistan, India is an Achilles tendon, impeding their aspirations. Since the 1980s, China has been transferring nuclear technology to Pakistan despite being a consignee to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines and contravention of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) obligations. The world should be aware that, as recent as 2018, China also transferred, Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) for Pakistan’s Ababeel and Shaheen-3. That is an imminent threat. India is on the splurge of acquiring a gamut of weapons to counter this imminent threat. 

The Appendages without independent existence

Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and North Korea are obligate pathogens surviving at the Dragon’s cost. Without the Dragon feeding them, these are unlikely to survive and sustain, economically or politically.

What about Miscellaneous?

“Miscellaneous” groups include Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal, a few South African countries, etc., who have no spine to hold themselves erect, internally or externally. Those will only serve as stations or platforms for the Chinese forces during a global fallout.

Is a war genuinely happening?

If the anti-CRIPT (K) preparedness continues, a global war is improbable to occur unless some major fault-lines resurface.

What are those fault lines? The world survived the weakness unearthed from SARS CoV2. Economic implications and ramifications are still not felt completely; we never know if other “Trumper” events are likely underway, global warming is already getting neglected. Our infamous radical terrorism has truly not reneged. These are not the fault-lines but signs and symptoms of fault lines.

Let us see how global leaders provide a direction in navigating us through these rough patches.

Thoughts, comments, please share. I wish you to be my active audience.

Shashank Heda,

Dallas, Texas

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