The new Chinese Aircraft Carrier “Liaoning” sails into Hong Kong in 2017.
For whatever mysterious reason, I received a shipping supply catalogue in the mail.
I don’t have a shipping business. I’m a martial artist. Not to toot my own horn, but I travel around teaching classes in schools and community centres.
I do, however, have a background in warehousing which does use a lot of shipping supplies. Still, it was a complete surprise to receive a 760-page catalogue and that this Canadian company used 200 pages of it to sell cardboard boxes.
Yes, they have a cardboard box for a unicycle.
What does cardboard have to do with Martial Arts?
Bear with me for bit.
I get to the 755th page and I see yet another surprise. There is a headline for a full-page ad from the shipping company itself:
“All Roads Lead to China”
The ad then describes how China signed a 99-year lease for control of the port in Darwin, Australia. Darwin is located on the Northern coastline of Australia and apparently is just one of 30 ports across the world Chinese companies currently own.
By 2025 these Chinese national companies plan to take over a system of ports, railroads, pipelines and factories in 60 countries as part of their $1 Trillion Belt and Road initiative.
In short, if you control the trade routes, you control the trade.
This advertisement is perhaps the most information I have seen about China’s economic imperatives. This particular tactic screams volumes of complications and probable consequences.
Obviously, to fund an economy you need supply lines. Modern supply lines have taken the form of planes, trains, boats, trucks and pipelines.
Hearkening to The Art of War
It is also a common military tactic to cut those supply lines off. Protecting your supply lines has been a concern since the first scribblings in the Art of War 2000 years ago.
Lo and behold, China will have 6 new aircraft carriers by 2030 costing billions of dollars and will rival the United States complement of which will have at least 6 aircraft carriers built in the 21st century. China has also built 6 artificial islands and installed naval and air bases on all of them creating a tense situation for other nations on the area.
Protecting their shipping supply lines is why they are doing it.
“By taking equipment from your country, but feeding off the enemy you can be sufficient in both arms and provisions.” —Master Sun, The Art of War.
This is key to economic and organizational efficiency and this is exactly what China is doing by buying up land and establishing a presence in Northern Australia and the Middle East. By using these ports, China ships resources from these countries and as a side effect, destabilizes local economies by driving up the costs of real estate in places like South-Western British Columbia.
This is also a concept straight out of Niccolo Machiavelli’s treatise called The Prince.
Instead of military invasion, countries are taking a longer, more patient view of encroachment onto another’s land through economics as a tool of war. It is slow-moving siege warfare.
The Weight of Coffee Beans
Troops enjoying Tim Horton’s at Kandahar.
In the West, things are not so pragmatic. The Canadian Armed Forces subsidized Tim Horton’s in Afghanistan in 2006 for 5 years at an INITIAL cost of $4 million worth of taxpayer’s money for a single store that sold 4 million cups of coffee and 3 million donuts to 2.5 million customers.
Almost immediately after this was announced, concerns were raised about displacing military necessities for coffee beans. Never mind the fact there was no bidding process for the military contract which, if publicized, would suck the taxpayer’s support out of the air.
Examples like this are great for morale if you can afford it, but even with the help of modern engineering marvels, this luxury will still slow you down. It is a distraction and that can leave a person/country vulnerable. In contrast, the Chinese have cracked down on its military officers and political officials for exorbitant spending on such items like French cognac and Italian leather. If the politicians and officers cannot have their fancy booze, then enlisted soldiers are not going to get their coffee!
The marvels of modern engineering allow for this kind of thing to happen. Vehicles are more fuel efficient than they have ever been before. Communications are occurring at near-light speeds. We can fly further and faster across the planet and obviously Western culture has been sucked into this idea going faster because we have been so successful at it.
Things are faster, which is why Russia confirmed it has developed hypersonic cruise missiles. For now, they only have a range of 1000km. However, these new 3M22 Tsirkon missiles are compatible with their current crop of planes and submarines.
Meanwhile China waits.
In case you are wondering about hyper-sonics, the speed of sound at 20C (room temperature) is 1,234.8 kph or 767 mph.
Hypersonic (9X the speed of sound) Russian Cruise Missiles roughly clock in at 11,106 kph or 6,903 mph. These missiles have a range of 1000km.