How Xi’s gambling devastated China’s military

How Xi’s gambling devastated China’s military, by David Archibald.

President Xi wants to be emperor of the whole world and can see a path to achieving that. But he has kicked a couple of own goals that will help preclude it happening.

Xi’s first own goal was to suppress privately owned business activity in favor of state-owned companies. Workers in state-owned companies have about a third of the productivity of those in businesses run by their private owners. … Communist leaders will choose security for themselves over prosperity for others every time.

His second own goal was to delay the news of the coronavirus until after the trade deal was signed with the United States. Xi did not want to show any sign of weakness while the deal was being negotiated. China’s relative position had been deteriorating since 2015, when its share of world exports peaked at about 15%. Trump wanted a trade deal because he would like China to remain stable through the election cycle. The language of the trade deal included a lot of “China shall,” indicating that China needed the deal more than Trump did. We infer that the anti-China efforts will be ramped up again after the election.

The ever-shrinking Mr Xi

The first coronavirus case was reported on December 1, 2019, and the trade deal was signed on January 15, 2020. Wuhan was put under quarantine lockdown eight days later on January 23. In the meantime, some five million people left Wuhan, as estimated by Wuhan’s mayor, a case of closing the stable door after the horse had bolted. So, as a result of waiting for the trade deal to be signed before acting, Xi changed a controllable outbreak into an out-of-control epidemic. …

The hit to China’s economy is real and huge. Coal consumption is half of what it should be at this point after the end of the lunar new year holidays. Air pollution, as measured by satellites, is down 20% to 50%.

China’s ability to threaten its neighbors will be much weakened as its government revenues crater. There is a good case for nominating the coronavirus for the Nobel Peace Prize. The humble virus has certainly done far more for world peace than Greta Thunberg, the current frontrunner.

The PLA can’t attack anyone until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. It’s been reported that the PLA pulled out of Wuhan after 3,000 of its troops became sick. Collecting dead bodies is now on a bounty system, similar to how bodies were collected in Europe during the plague.

Another beautiful outcome from the coronavirus is that it should, in a rational world, eliminate China from the world’s supply chains. It might be good for a couple of million jobs in the United States alone.

We should not leave the subject of China until the terms of the peace settlement, with the Chicoms or any successors, are stated. This should include the return of territory stolen from India in 1962 and from Vietnam in 1990. It will also include China leaving the seven artificial islands it created in the South China Sea. Only then should the Chinese be allowed to be a member of the civilized world.