Monday, May 6, 2013

Creating the Situation

Creating the Situation
by Erick San Juan                                                                                                                                           

I read the book review of Timothy Westmyer, research and program assistant-Rising Powers Initiative, Sigur Center for Asian Studies at the George Washington University about  paradoxical trend which came from the lecture of Andrew Wedeman, professor of political science at Georgia State University. In Wedeman's recent book, "Double Paradox: Rapid Growth and Rising Corruption in China", he explained how and why the Chinese economy performed so well in spite of widespread corruption at almost kleptocratic levels in China.                                                                                                                                                                                             

Wedeman argued that by any reasonable measure, China had a long standing serious problem with corruption. He cited Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog that ranks countries by their levels of corruption. China was pinpointed as the second most corrupt nation in the world on their 1995 list. He added that China has a number of high-profile corruption cases ranging from dishonest deals in real estate, massive smuggling operations to pension fund thefts and the controversial murder-bribery story of Bo Xilai.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Timothy Westmyer said that the conventional wisdom of economic theory would predict a strong negative correlation between corruption and economic growth. As the rate of extortion, bribes, kickbacks and looting  increased in a nation, one would expect economic growth to suffer. But not in China?                                                                                                                                                                                               

Professor Wedeman pointed out that China's GDP(gross domestic product) per capita was unaffected by persistent corruption and grew rapidly since the early 1980's. He cited 3 major reasons how China did it. The timing of economic growth before corruption took hold, the specific nature of it's economic reforms and a genuine anti-corruption efforts advocated by Deng Xiao Ping in 1982 when he declared a 'war on corruption' that is still echoed by China's  leaders today.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

But what went wrong?  China now felt the danger to it's economic growth and party control of too much corruption. One of Deng Xiao Ping's economic reforms like the transfer of assets such as property from the state to entrepreneurs that fostered economic growth became an important source of corruption. According to pundits, the new generation of Chinese leaders headed by it's new president, Xi Jin Ping, regrouped and shift gear, focused on external threats to unite China. It is believed that the new politburo is quietly making serious adjustments in their foreign policy. The focus is South China Sea firstly, to counter the U.S. pivot in Asia. In particular, a more tough defense positions in the South China Sea.                                                                                                                                                                                                

China could be fighting several fronts in the process. The aggravation of several territorial disputes between Beijing and Tokyo regarding the Diaoyu island; between Beijing and Manila regarding Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group and between Beijing and Hanoi over the Paracels. China's PLA(People's Liberation Army) sees the US as the biggest threat and using their allies in Asia to contain China.
Peter McKenzie of believed that China could spark the next big war. The territorial disputes could allegedly herald a volatile flashpoint where a large incident could provoke war on an international scale. With China's 9 dotted lines and other historical claims, McKenzie argued that a single blunder could further incite either China or the coalition of Asian states that usually oppose to declare war on one another. He concluded that a war in this region will greatly affect the international community as well as Asia.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Almost every nation in Asia-Pacific can hear the drums of war. David Wroe , a defence correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a US military strategy being mapped out to deal with the growing power of China in the western Pacific- a plan that would inevitably ensnare Australia could escalate into a nuclear war. In a study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the fashionable "AirSea Battle" concept which Washington strategists are developing to keep the US grip on its air and sea power near the Chinese mainland, contains uncertainties and potential shortfalls that could heighten the nuclear risk.   So who will create the situation? Who will blink first? The economics of war is in the offing!


Alex Refuerzo said...

Hi Dr. San Juan, good day;
reflecting on just the title: "Creating the Situation" i remember the time when Zobel de Ayala talked in a interview about his meeting with ex-Pres. FM. the meeting said about the certificates of gold owned by the Philippines. i have also read about this gold in your book, "The Marcos Legacy Revisted." i have wondered whatever happened to the issue with Zobel, i remember it only lasted for a few days, there must have been some "situations created" to have the issue just gone away like that. and also, i could not recall when did it happen, do you happen to know when was that. i have been telling my friends about this, but i could not back them up with a solid evidence that it did happen. maybe knowing the date would help me find it in the web. thank you so much.

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