Remember, it was the great United States of America that built the Panama Canal, with tremendous exertions. It was built for a very strategic purpose: the easy shifting of US Naval forces from the Atlantic into the Pacific ocean. It was an American president, Jimmy Carter, who gave away the Panama Canal, and subsequently, Chinese contractors took over its operation. China is building port facilities in the Caribbean Sea, quite close to America, in places like the Bahamas and Jamaica. Thus, regarding China, it is more a question of their strategic endeavors.
Where China is looking to be now? Well, it should alert us as to our true geopolitical foe and adversary.
As reported by the South China Morning Post:
“China has started building a training camp for Afghan troops in a narrow corridor that connects the two countries – a project Beijing is fully funding to help its neighbour improve counter-terrorism efforts, sources close to the military said. Once the camp is completed, the People’s Liberation Army is likely to send hundreds of military personnel, or at least one battalion [approx 600-800 troops], to Afghanistan’s isolated Wakhan Corridor, one of the sources who is familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post. The corridor is a narrow strip of inhospitable and barely accessible land extending about 350km (220 miles) from the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan to China’s Muslim region of Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities have carried out sweeping crackdowns on the Uygur ethnic minority group [we recently shared this with you] in recent months.
It will be the first time in modern history for China to have a military presence in Afghanistan, which is known as the “graveyard of empires” for being notoriously difficult to conquer and govern. But the war-torn Central Asian country has become increasingly important for China’s own security as well as President Xi Jinping’s new Silk Road trade and infrastructure plan.
China set up its first overseas military base last year in Djibouti, a facility Beijing describes as a military logistics outpost for resupplying Chinese vessels on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in the Indian Ocean. Russian news agency Ferghana News reported in January that Beijing would finance a new military base in Badakhshan after defence ministers from the two countries agreed last year to work together to fight terrorism, citing General Davlat Vaziri from Afghanistan’s defence ministry. At the time, China’s defence ministry denied it had a plan to build a “military base” in Afghanistan, but said Beijing had provided aid and support to its neighbour as part of security cooperation efforts, including counterterrorism operations. Li Wei, a counterterrorism specialist at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that in addition to providing military support, Beijing had also increased economic cooperation with Afghanistan, which is rich in natural resources, with more than 1,400 mineral deposits.”
Just so you know, the US also has a military base operating in Djibouti, and not too long ago, the Chinese were blamed for laser targeting of a United States military aircraft. There are also rumors — okay, reports — that China is also seeking to establish military bases, footholds, as close as Central America, in El Salvador.
If there is one thing we must recognize it is that anywhere there are vital natural resources, you will find China. And, now, Afghanistan is clearly in their strike zone. All of this is part of the “One Belt, One Road” economic strategy of Xi Jinping, and Beijing. This can also be seen with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that includes increased cooperation between Pakistan and China, including a port facility in Lahore, along with a potential Chinese naval base. Never forget that it was one week before the US-North Korea summit, that China hosted a gathering in Shanghai that included Russia, Pakistan, and invited Iranian leader Hasan Rouhani.
What is very disconcerting for me is the fact that we are up against adversaries who have a grand strategy. There is a reason why China has been stealing our intellectual property and forcing businesses to surrender their technology. The result, well, it is not about improving the quality of life for Chinese citizens, but rather China’s first domestic made aircraft carrier which is undergoing sea testing. An aircraft carrier is not meant for fishing. It is a means by which a nation extends its hegemonic power, and China is looking to do so. In the meantime, China is developing more surface-to-ship missiles with the capability to strike aircraft carriers . . . ours.
There is a reason why China has, illegally, constructed man-made islands in the South China Sea and developed military fortifications, including airstrips. The South China Sea is a major sea-lane of commerce, and China’s belligerence went unchallenged for eight years under the Obama administration.
The littoral areas, where sea touches land, are vital. And China has also considered means by which they can connect their nation, through Afghanistan, all the way to their new port facilities in Pakistan. The issue will be, can China successfully prosecute a combat operation against Islamic terrorism? That short answer is yes. China will not have to worry about groups like CAIR operating within their borders and having influence on their defense policies. China will not be concerned about “proportional” rules of engagement. China will come in with a strong hand and with their ultimate economic goal, and crush anything in their way. Last time Afghanistan saw a powerful and determined enemy, it was Genghis Khan, and the Mongols, who didn’t execute war based on being “kindler and gentler.”
“China has extended more than US $70 million in military aid to Afghanistan in the last three years, researcher Ahmad Bilal Khalil, from the Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies in Kabul, said in February. He added that Beijing feared that instability in the neighbouring country could threaten its growing economic interests across the region.”
If you have not studied China’s One Belt, One Road or Silk Road strategy, you should . . . and I have. They are embarking upon a grand economic endeavor, and are building up their military capability and capacity, to enable, and safeguard, that interest. What can stop the Chinese is economic pressure, and a strong information operation that informs these nations that China is there to rape them of their natural resources, and nothing more. That economic cooperation with China comes with a very high price. We must understand that China realizes that free market economics can serve the purposes of a communist country, enabling them to be a near peer competitor. China is the head of the Hydra right now. Russia, Iran, and North Korea are all marching to the beat China sets. We have a window of opportunity to thwart China’s expansionist efforts, remember they are communists. It is best to do so early in their hegemonic development. That means we can leverage improved relations with countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, and yes, Taiwan. We need to send a message to Pakistan: no more foreign aid if this is where you wish to make your bed. We need a great alliance of the willing to combat this new 21st century axis that is forming, and spreading.
Where is China? China is everywhere.[EDITOR’S NOTE: After LTC West wrote this piece, the NY Times posted an article about developments with China, which we are linking here.]
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom. His forthcoming book, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, is due fall 2018 from Brown Books Publishing Group.