The Chinese Century
By: Colonel Charbel Barakat

March 11/07

I read an article in Time Magazine last week about China and how it is starting to spread out of its borders with a prominent future of becoming very soon
the second economic superpower.

It is not strange to see China, the second largest country (geographically) in the world after Canada, but with a population of more than a billon, becoming
one of the economic superpowers.

China, which used to be considered as a continent by itself, did for a long time have a major influence on South Asia and was one of the oldest civilizations
that interested the Europeans. Napoleon I, in his global views, warned about the wakeup of China. The British while occupying India and part of South China
had to use opium as a weapon.

The Chinese Empire, as a well organized civilization in the old days, used to fear the invasions of the barbaric Mongols coming from the North and that is why
the Chinese built the Great Wall. The spread of Islam to the West of China then was the main danger but did stop on its borders.

Japan and Russia both tried in the beginning of the last century to conquer Chinese regions and this ended up with the Second World War that liberated China to
become the home of Mao’s Communism that tried to contain its own problems of growing population and implement the Chinese version of Communism. This
period shows an indirect and limited conflict with the superpower of that time, namely the United States, both in Korea and in Vietnam where China’s Mao was
supporting the enemies of the US.

The new era of globalization set some kind of peace between China and the West, together this time with Japan and Russia. South Asia, once the backyard of
Japan and Australia, started to become more influenced by the Chinese. The way China dealt with Hong Kong is giving a positive view about the new Chinese strategy and prominent future relations with the Five Dragons of South Asia including Taiwan.

The Time Magazine writer did mention the new Chinese global involvement in UN peacekeeping missions for the first time, the deal they reach with North Korea about its nuclear project and the Chinese projects in Africa and the Middle East.

Looking at the map of the world today, and if we have to consider a kind of special feeling toward the motherland and its civilization, we can really see that Chinese immigrants all over the world will become a very positive factor to help China grow to be the superpower.

China is not a stranger to the world anymore; we are using its products, foods, restaurants and superstores. We started to get used to Chinese writings and phonetics, but are we afraid of them as Napoleon I once said? If so, what are we preparing to face this giant spreading out of the “lamp”?

The USSR was in some way a guarantee to keep the Chinese northern borders under control, but now that it is not there anymore, who will do that?

To the East of China we sure have another continent, India, which is a nuclear power with almost a billion people with their own history and civilization, but
can India stand against the spread of the Chinese if needed, and does it have enough will to do the job?

Will the new nuclear (perhaps?) Persia (Iran) be one of the locally-based powers to help in facing this new “danger”?]

Will the radical Islam which surrounds China on its Northern and Western borders be the “new opium” used to neutralize, from the inside with its millions of Chinese Muslims, this great  giant coming out?

With or without planning, the Chinese will be an economic Superpower soon and their interests will push them to start the clash with their neighbours. Until then we will see a growing of the radical Islam in central Asia and for sure more Terrorism around the world.