Tag Archives: Hal Brands

BOOK CORNER: DANGER ZONE: The Coming Conflict with China … by Hal Brands and Michael Beckley

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    The book enumerates the possibility of why the US-China conflict can happen soon. It is because Beijing is worried that its power is peaking soon. The subject book claims that a decisive showdown between the US and China could come sooner than anyone thinks. Sino-US rivalry is not a marathon, but a sprint that will play out in this very decade only, says the book.

    The book starts with a highly plausible doomsday scenario in January 2025, in a situation where China has invaded Taiwan, putting the US in a bind, and the world on the brink of World War III. It could have been avoided, by reading the signs right, the book claims.

    The authors counter the Thucydides trap theory about a great power replacing another—the threat is not because of China’s inexorable rise but because it knows it has peaked and is desperate. It is strong enough to disrupt the existing order but is losing confidence that time is on its side. This gives it incentives to use force against Japan, and India or teach the Philippines a lesson, or even bring Taiwan to heel.

    The Chinese Communist Party wants to maintain its iron grip on power, regain territories like Taiwan, and force settlements on border disputes with countries from India to Japan. It aims to marginalise the US in Asia.

    This means nothing less than an epochal change in regional and global rules. China’s relentless military build-up, its trade, infrastructure and investment gambits across Eurasia (ie. land consisting of Europe and Asia), its overland supply routes and access to the Indian Ocean, its power play in international institutions and its ideological offensive against liberal democracy—in all of this China knows the US is in its way, invested as it is in preventing a rival in Eurasia.

    The US-China relationship, the book says, unravelled gradually, then suddenly in recent years, with Donald Trump’s presidency, Covid and Xi Jinping’s own sense of urgency. China has been concealing a sharp slowdown, resource shortfalls, and a demographic catastrophe brought on by its one-child policy. They see the red alerts about their country’s rise and the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party’s) fate.

    The confrontation is forcing others to take sides, creating a ring of rivals. The Galwan clash of 2020 with India might be a victory for China, but it lost more than it gained, as New Delhi accelerated its swing towards America. Chinese aggression is beginning to backfire, as it creates fear and resistance from countries near and far that have benefitted from the American world order.

    Australia has leaned towards the US, the EU calls China a ‘systematic rival’. As China seeks greater arks of influence, it is confronting greater arcs of hostility. Even the Sino-Russian autocratic axis has its costs, as Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine raises the costs of teaming up with him. CCP officials are haunted by the twin spectres of economic decay and geopolitical encirclement, claims the book—and this peaking-power dynamic is precisely where the danger lies. A revisionist power that feels its moment is slipping away will act more impulsively than the one that thinks tomorrow will be better than today.

    The book advises the US to take calculated risks, and avoid reckless ones. It must take on China’s high-tech economic imperialism, digital authoritarianism and its intent to take Taiwan. It must be willing to anger China and bait it into strategic blunders, rather than push it into a corner where violence becomes the only option.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

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