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Chinese expansionism


Walsingham

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Even though I support the principle of nuking China back to the stone-age I don't think you guys are thinking about all the consequences :skeptical:

 

Where will we get all our cheap noodles and Soy sauce from if China becomes Fallout 3?

 

 

:aiee:

 

Glow in the dark soy sauce!   What a huge marketing opportunity!   :biggrin:

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I don't really agree with the spirit of all the earlier comments about nuclear weapons...

 

Nobody can truly "win" a modern nuclear war. Even if China managed to destroy only 10-20 of the US' largest cities, that would still be over 10% of the US population. It would result in the greatest depression in the entire US history. And 10-20 is a optimistic scenario. It doesn't really matter what would happen to China, (who will likely suffer way worse consequences), the loss for the US would be so great that it couldn't be offset by any gain I can think of.

 

It doesn't really matter whether a country can destroy 10% or 50% of any other country's population in an initial nuclear strike. As soon as we're talking that amount of destruction, both sides are effectively losers. The nuclear weapon is essentially a fail-safe against it's own destruction by another nation. Even during the Cold War, I guess most people were not seriously contemplating actually using nuclear weapons. But if the Russians were making landfall on the coasts of the US, I can bet that desperate nationalistic voices would soon drown out any talk of restraint (compare this with what the Chinese would say in the case of a US-China war) and in the case of the Cold War, the destruction of the entire civilization as we know it would be a fact. I don't think that the US (or any relevant nation) has ever had a chance of a true effective "first strike" where your missiles would really destroy a significant amount of the enemy nation's nuclear capability before a counter-attack (possibly not even against North Korea).

 

So of course nobody will ever launch a nuclear war over some remote isle. But that conflict could escalate, and when the conflict instead seems to be about the future existence of Communist China, a lot of irrational nationalist behaviour is bound to appear. Remember the start of WW1 which seems in hindsight like one of the most stupid acts in the entirety of humanity? If only the world leaders had sat down and coldly discussed how many lives they were prepared to sacrifice for their own vanity, and for whether or not Austria-Hungary should participate in Serbia's inquiry into the murder of Franz Ferdinand.

 

So it is also likely that IF China participates in starting a third world war, now or in 100 years, it will be just over some minor, ridiculous territorial dispute which accidentally triggers nationalistic feelings and the vanity of autocratic leaders. Let's just be hope we get leaders who realize the potentially disastrous escalating consequences an embargo or any type of direct military intervention (from any side) could have, even with rising resentment of China as an equal competitor on the economic scene ("dey took our jebs").

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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The destroyer being ASW would probably only come into play if it was expecting to be attacked.

It was 10 km from the NK coast, a country that they're technically at war with and with which there had been multiple previous (and subsequent) incidents. If they weren't at heightened alert they should have been, and I'd have difficulty believing they weren't.

 

I'm saying they'd have to be actively looking for the sub, which may be they were. But it being an ambush, the sub might have hidden itself in the reflections from the coast, or some rock.

 

Edit: Btw, not everyone thinks US is declining, and China is winning : http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/the-myth-of-america-s-decline--152512864.html

 

I think our main problem is the lawless Marxist government the sans-culotte have installed.

Edited by Wrath of Dagon

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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I feel like I'm talking to a sodding wall here.  :banghead:  

 

Azarkon, since you are going to conveniently ignore any numbers which might disprove your preconceived notions about Chinese food supply and demand I'll provide the following information for the more open minded readers.  The increased demand for soy (Brazil thanks you) and corn is based on a increasing demand for meat (particularly) pork in the Chinese diet.  Soy and corn are used heavily as  livestock feed.  I haven't shown the charts but google Chinese meat consumption and you will find a prolonged and steady increase in Chinese meat demand; so much so that China now consumes twice as much meat as the US.  In 1978, China’s annual meat consumption of 8 million tons was only one third of U.S. levels. However, by 1992 they had overtaken the U.S. as the world’s leading meat consumer. 

 

 

 

 

James Rice, chief of China operations for Tyson Foods was quoted: “This is the end of self-sufficiency for China. This year (2012) will be the last in which China produces enough corn for itself, and the last that it is self-sufficient in protein.”

 

http://www.grain.org/media/BAhbB1sHOgZmSSIqMjAxMi8wNy8zMS8xMV8wNV80N18zMF9QaWN0dXJlXzIzLnBuZwY6BkVUWwg6BnA6CnRodW1iSSIJNjAweAY7BlQ

 

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSDMV_Lsg52Cn9PYV5mAtip7KjgE9bQP1MWfO_mbRJ9aQOiBQsd

 

So China is NOT self sufficient and to make matters worse it's agricultural sector is notoriously inefficient.  And in terms of arable land per capita, China for all it's size is far worse off that you might believe. 

 

arable+land+per+capita.jpg

 

Believe anything you want, but the numbers don't lie.   None of this means that the Chinese are starving but it does mean that China is simply not a self sufficient country with respect to either energy use or food supplies.

 

You should google China car usage.   It's not at US levels per capita but ownership is rapidly increasing in China - exponentially too.  lol 

 

http://www.usfunds.com/media/images/investor-alert/-2011-ia/2011-10-28/COMM-NumberChinaVehiclesGrowingRapidly-10282011.gif

 

The issue of whether China can withstand a short term oil embargo was answered a couple of posts ago.  China has recently completed the second stage of their SPR (Strategic petroleum reserve with an estimated capacity 207 million barrels) that will provide a potential replacement for 30 days of imports.  Longer term?  Domestic Chinese oil production is flat, and has been for a number of years, at around 3.2 million barrels a day.  Thinking that Chinese austerity measures can reduce domestic demand so that the  6.3 million barrels of imports are not needed is the only inane comment in this argument.   That would require that Chinese production be brought to a nearly complete standstill since 77% of Chinese energy is consumed by the industrial sector.   And if they shut down undustries how will they generate capital to pay for imported oil and food?

 

As for chinese oil demand increasing exponentially, I suggest you simply look at the following graph.  Ignore the extrapolation and look at the data thru 2013.  That's not a linear trend bubba .....  A sustained 7% yoy increase is exponential growth.  Is that trend likely to continue?  Maybe, maybe not - but Chinese demand has been growing exponentially since around 1990 so I would bet that continued exponential growth in the short term is not unreasonable . 

 

Screen-Shot-2013-04-29-at-11.18.29-AM-80

 

 

I'm not advocating an embargo, but simply pointing out that China will NOT be able to survive a long term one. 

 

Edit:  Sorry some of the images would not link using the image tag.  Use the links to open them..

 

 

You're not answering my arguments, but simply repeating your own. 

 

Citing China's propensity for luxury foods - ie pork - to support their lack of food independence is patently absurd. Do you actually think the Chinese today must eat pork to survive when their diet has consisted primarily of grain for thousands of years? Your entire argument in this post is built on the fallacy that the Chinese must import maize and soy because it's used in livestock feed. Sorry, when did voracious meat consumption become a necessity for life? This is a classic American blunder in projecting first world luxuries to basic human needs and needs no further rebuttal.

 

I've already answered your rationale regarding exponential oil driven economic growth in China: it's not going to continue. I know the figures; you don't have to cite them and act as though you're citing news. My argument is and has been that China is not going to grow exponentially; their energy consumption, which is woefully inefficient, is going to put a cap on that and the Chinese leadership is deluded in case they don't know it's coming. However, it looks to me that they already do know it's coming, which is why they've been restructuring their economy and lowering their growth projections. Ultimately, China's goal ought to be linear growth, not exponential growth, contingent on reducing inefficiency rather than maximizing output.

 

But that does not change what you're arguing, which is whether China is able to survive a long-term oil embargo with the help of the CIS countries. You have argued, in this post, that China's oil consumption is vital to its industries.

 

First of all, oil is not the primary source of energy for Chinese industries. Coal is. Over 70% of energy consumed by China is from coal. See the following chart:

 

energy_consumption_by_type.png

 
By contrast, Japan:
 
Japan+Total+Energy+Consumption.gif
 
The difference between China and Japan is stark.
 
Yes, China is increasing their use of oil - because it's available and the risks of an US blockade are low. But do they need it, and in case they do, to what end are they able to secure oil from CIS and Russia instead of their present maritime sources?
 
 
The authors conclude: "An energy blockade of China would not only fail to achieve its objective but also send destructive shock waves through the global economic and political landscape."
 
They also make mention of the fact that "no blockade of China has ever succeeded without Russian acquiescence."
 
Granted, this article was written in 2008, and since then China has increased its share of oil imports. However, their recent book, published by the US Naval Institute: China's Energy Strategy: The Impact on Bejing's Maritime Policies makes effectively the same argument: a maritime blockade of Chinese oil sources in the Middle East is incapable of shutting down China's economy because of two major shortcomings: the fact that China's economy is not based primarily on oil, but on coal, and the fact that overland routes via Burma, Central Asia, and Russia are capable of making up for the shortfall while China temporarily scales down its production.
 
This is not to say that an US embargo won't have an effect. Stopping the flow of maritime oil to China IS going to have repercussions and drastically slow / halt their economic growth. But it won't lead to widespread economic collapse, and eventually the Chinese ARE going to build new pipelines through CIS and Burma.
 
Go read the book, look at THEIR analysis, and then come back and argue why it's not valid and why you and Wals are correct.
Edited by Azarkon

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I feel like I'm talking to a sodding wall here.  :banghead:  

 

Azarkon, since you are going to conveniently ignore any numbers which might disprove your preconceived notions about Chinese food supply and demand I'll provide the following information for the more open minded readers.  The increased demand for soy (Brazil thanks you) and corn is based on a increasing demand for meat (particularly) pork in the Chinese diet.  Soy and corn are used heavily as  livestock feed.  I haven't shown the charts but google Chinese meat consumption and you will find a prolonged and steady increase in Chinese meat demand; so much so that China now consumes twice as much meat as the US.  In 1978, China’s annual meat consumption of 8 million tons was only one third of U.S. levels. However, by 1992 they had overtaken the U.S. as the world’s leading meat consumer. 

 

 

 

 

James Rice, chief of China operations for Tyson Foods was quoted: “This is the end of self-sufficiency for China. This year (2012) will be the last in which China produces enough corn for itself, and the last that it is self-sufficient in protein.”

 

http://www.grain.org/media/BAhbB1sHOgZmSSIqMjAxMi8wNy8zMS8xMV8wNV80N18zMF9QaWN0dXJlXzIzLnBuZwY6BkVUWwg6BnA6CnRodW1iSSIJNjAweAY7BlQ

 

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSDMV_Lsg52Cn9PYV5mAtip7KjgE9bQP1MWfO_mbRJ9aQOiBQsd

 

So China is NOT self sufficient and to make matters worse it's agricultural sector is notoriously inefficient.  And in terms of arable land per capita, China for all it's size is far worse off that you might believe. 

 

arable+land+per+capita.jpg

 

Believe anything you want, but the numbers don't lie.   None of this means that the Chinese are starving but it does mean that China is simply not a self sufficient country with respect to either energy use or food supplies.

 

 

 

 

Citing China's propensity for luxury foods - ie pork - to support their lack of food independence is patently absurd. Do you actually think the Chinese today must eat pork to survive when their diet has consisted primarily of grain for thousands of years? Your entire argument in this post is built on the fallacy that the Chinese must import maize and soy because it's used in livestock feed. Sorry, when did voracious meat consumption become a necessity for life? This is a classic American blunder in projecting first world luxuries to basic human needs and needs no further rebuttal.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm going to chip away at these one at a time starting with the self sufficiency in food.  The livestock feed was just one example, Azarkon.  Whether or not the rising use of meat in the Chinese diet is a luxury is open to debate, but the fact is that Chinese is not self sufficient with respect to food.  Check out all of the graphs again.  Better still, just listen to what the Chinese themselves have to say.  

 

China has decided to stop pursuing the goal of being self sufficient in food production, a Chinese government official announced this week, according to the South China Morning Post. The rapid urbanization of the country is spurring the need for more food.

 

Chen Xiwen, director of the Chinese Communist Party’s top policy making body for rural affairs, told a forum last weekend that food supplies would come under increasing pressure as incomes improved. Despite the country’s adoption of more production agriculture technologies, Chen admitted that the country could not “turn back the clock” when it comes to imports.

 

“During the process of urbanization, we must pay attention to modern agricultural development and to farm product supplies, but of course, we certainly cannot pursue self-sufficiency,” he said.

China embarked on its policy of self sufficiency in 1978, but since then approximately 260 million farmers have moved to the cities. The rural population has decreased by 80 million between 1982 and 2010, according to census data.

 

By not pursuing self sufficiency, the country faces the question of its imports. Han Jun, head of the rural department of the Development Research Centre, said China should loosen controls over corn imports and rely more on the global market for cotton, sugar and soybeans.

 

China’s demand for corn is expected to increase dramatically as the country’s income boost will trigger a strong desire for more meat.   China is expected to remain mostly self-sufficient in rice and wheat in the years ahead.

 

http://www.agprofessional.com/news/China-no-longer-to-be-self-sufficient-in-food-188895761.html

 

The Chinese themselves had admitted that they aren't self sufficient now nor are they likely to achieve self sufficiency.

 

That begs the question of whether the Chinese people be persuaded to cut back in the case of an embargo?  Maybe, but it's not a given. 

 

and two more just for grins.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/us-china-pollution-rice-idUSBRE94L17J20130522

 

http://ethanolbiofuels.agra-net.com/?p=710

 

China’s soaring imports of agricultural products remain a sensitive topic for the ruling Communist Party, which has traditionally put self-sufficiency and food security at the top of its agenda. It also fears a spike in imports could hurt the vast farming population and raise the spectre of rural unrest.

 

Oil is up next.

Edited by kgambit
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I feel like I'm talking to a sodding wall here.  :banghead:  

 

Azarkon, since you are going to conveniently ignore any numbers which might disprove your preconceived notions about Chinese food supply and demand I'll provide the following information for the more open minded readers.  The increased demand for soy (Brazil thanks you) and corn is based on a increasing demand for meat (particularly) pork in the Chinese diet.  Soy and corn are used heavily as  livestock feed.  I haven't shown the charts but google Chinese meat consumption and you will find a prolonged and steady increase in Chinese meat demand; so much so that China now consumes twice as much meat as the US.  In 1978, China’s annual meat consumption of 8 million tons was only one third of U.S. levels. However, by 1992 they had overtaken the U.S. as the world’s leading meat consumer. 

 

 

 

 

James Rice, chief of China operations for Tyson Foods was quoted: “This is the end of self-sufficiency for China. This year (2012) will be the last in which China produces enough corn for itself, and the last that it is self-sufficient in protein.”

 

http://www.grain.org/media/BAhbB1sHOgZmSSIqMjAxMi8wNy8zMS8xMV8wNV80N18zMF9QaWN0dXJlXzIzLnBuZwY6BkVUWwg6BnA6CnRodW1iSSIJNjAweAY7BlQ

 

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSDMV_Lsg52Cn9PYV5mAtip7KjgE9bQP1MWfO_mbRJ9aQOiBQsd

 

So China is NOT self sufficient and to make matters worse it's agricultural sector is notoriously inefficient.  And in terms of arable land per capita, China for all it's size is far worse off that you might believe. 

 

arable+land+per+capita.jpg

 

Believe anything you want, but the numbers don't lie.   None of this means that the Chinese are starving but it does mean that China is simply not a self sufficient country with respect to either energy use or food supplies.

 

 

 

 

Citing China's propensity for luxury foods - ie pork - to support their lack of food independence is patently absurd. Do you actually think the Chinese today must eat pork to survive when their diet has consisted primarily of grain for thousands of years? Your entire argument in this post is built on the fallacy that the Chinese must import maize and soy because it's used in livestock feed. Sorry, when did voracious meat consumption become a necessity for life? This is a classic American blunder in projecting first world luxuries to basic human needs and needs no further rebuttal.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm going to chip away at these one at a time starting with the self sufficiency in food.  The livestock feed was just one example, Azarkon.  Whether or not the rising use of meat in the Chinese diet is a luxury is open to debate, but the fact is that Chinese is not self sufficient with respect to food.  Check out all of the graphs again.  Better still, just listen to what the Chinese themselves have to say.  

 

China has decided to stop pursuing the goal of being self sufficient in food production, a Chinese government official announced this week, according to the South China Morning Post. The rapid urbanization of the country is spurring the need for more food.

 

Chen Xiwen, director of the Chinese Communist Party’s top policy making body for rural affairs, told a forum last weekend that food supplies would come under increasing pressure as incomes improved. Despite the country’s adoption of more production agriculture technologies, Chen admitted that the country could not “turn back the clock” when it comes to imports.

 

“During the process of urbanization, we must pay attention to modern agricultural development and to farm product supplies, but of course, we certainly cannot pursue self-sufficiency,” he said.

China embarked on its policy of self sufficiency in 1978, but since then approximately 260 million farmers have moved to the cities. The rural population has decreased by 80 million between 1982 and 2010, according to census data.

 

By not pursuing self sufficiency, the country faces the question of its imports. Han Jun, head of the rural department of the Development Research Centre, said China should loosen controls over corn imports and rely more on the global market for cotton, sugar and soybeans.

 

China’s demand for corn is expected to increase dramatically as the country’s income boost will trigger a strong desire for more meat.   China is expected to remain mostly self-sufficient in rice and wheat in the years ahead.

 

http://www.agprofessional.com/news/China-no-longer-to-be-self-sufficient-in-food-188895761.html

 

The Chinese themselves had admitted that they aren't self sufficient now nor are they likely to achieve self sufficiency.

 

That begs the question of whether the Chinese people be persuaded to cut back in the case of an embargo?  Maybe, but it's not a given. 

 

and two more just for grins.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/us-china-pollution-rice-idUSBRE94L17J20130522

 

http://ethanolbiofuels.agra-net.com/?p=710

 

China’s soaring imports of agricultural products remain a sensitive topic for the ruling Communist Party, which has traditionally put self-sufficiency and food security at the top of its agenda. It also fears a spike in imports could hurt the vast farming population and raise the spectre of rural unrest.

 

Oil is up next.

 

 

First off - the fact is you should never trust popular media.

 

Whenever talking about strategic calculations, make an effort to cite papers, not what random journalists decide to sensationalize for their page views.

 

Specifically for that article, don't just quote the two lines of 'official talk', especially when it comes to Chinese officials ie party mouth pieces.

 

Instead, pay attention to the fine print:

 

Han Jun, head of the rural department of the Development Research Centre, said China should loosen controls over corn imports and rely more on the global market for cotton, sugar and soybeans.

 

China’s demand for corn is expected to increase dramatically as the country’s income boost will trigger a strong desire for more meat.   China is expected to remain mostly self-sufficient in rice and wheat in the years ahead.

 

 

 

What is essential: cotton, sugar, and soybeans vs. rice and wheat?

 

Also, understand that the Chinese don't need to get their food from the US, and we're talking about an US food embargo. There are a lot of other food producing countries out there willing to sell to China.

Edited by Azarkon

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First off - the fact is you should never trust popular media.

 

Especially when it contradicts you right?    That didn't stop you from using it to support your argument when convenient.  LOL

 

And I was not talking about a US food embargo but a food embargo by the US and it's allies. 

 

A quick note on food.  Again.  We aren't going to agree on the food situation.   You can nitpick about which specific agricultural products are in short supply all you want but the problems extend into most facets of the Chinese diet.  I would dispute that China is self-sufficient in wheat.   Nearly self sufficient but not totally.  I believe China imports about 7 to 8% of their total Wheat and projections differ on whether or by how much that shortfall will increase. Let's just drop it - we aren't going to agree no matter what. 

 

"current USDA projections forecast that China will import 8.5 million tons of wheat from all sources in the 2013-14 crop year" – with some 43 percent coming from the United States.

 

 

http://www.dawn.com/news/1036769/chinas-wheat-deficit

 

http://www.newsmax.com/us/china-american-wheat-sales/2013/08/18/id/520943

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackperkowski/2013/04/25/feeding-chinas-population/

 

 

I read the article by Collins and Murray at the USNWC.  It's a good read but it's short on hard numbers and hard analysis, so I am not convinced that their conclusions are valid.  They handwave (as do you) repeatedly over the claim that the Chinese can adequately utilize rail, truck and existing pipeline to replace most of the 3.3 million bbls of tanker oil per day.  Yet they supply no hard numbers on rolling stock or rail transport capacity (which I did) which showed the magnitude of the problem.  And their analysis is based on the premise that the Russians will  help make up the shortfall which isn't a given. Their ignore the impact that Increased use of rail and truck transport will have on siphoning off energy resources from other sectors.  And they seem to gloss over the increased drain on oil/gasoline reserves to maintain the Chinese armed forces in a heightened state of readiness. 

 

Further their analysis is based on extremely dated figures for Chinese oil imports which are now at over 6.3 million a day as opposed to their 3.3 million a day and the improvements in pipeline capacity have not kept pace. The  CIS and Myannamar pieplines you reference won't be large enough to have a huge impact.  The authors argue that Chinese diplomatic efforts may provide alternate supply sources they neglect to mention that opposing diplomacy may also cut off some existing supplies.  Finally their blockade analysis is based on a single blockading state (country) when that isn't necessarily a given either.

 

So while it's an interesting read, the article itself is short on analysis and very long on conjecture.  So is much of this discussion, but then, this is the internetz.  lol. 

 

 My argument is and has been that China is not going to grow exponentially; their energy consumption, which is woefully inefficient, is going to put a cap on that and the Chinese leadership is deluded in case they don't know it's coming. However, it looks to me that they already do know it's coming, which is why they've been restructuring their economy and lowering their growth projections. Ultimately, China's goal ought to be linear growth, not exponential growth, contingent on reducing inefficiency rather than maximizing output.

 

 

I agree that "China's goal ought to be linear growth, not exponential growth, contingent on reducing inefficiency rather than maximizing output" but that's not what we have seen so far.  While it's fair game to argue that exponential growth won't continue long term, even you won't argue that at least short term Chinese oil demand is going to continue to grow.  We can argue about the future rate of increase until we're both blue in the face but Chinese demand is going to increase.  Since  China is not oil sufficient - that is not a problem that is going away any time soon. 

 

I will concede however the fact that Chinese industry is more heavily dependent on coal use than I thought. 

 

This is not to say that an US embargo won't have an effect. Stopping the flow of maritime oil to China IS going to have repercussions and drastically slow / halt their economic growth. But it won't lead to widespread economic collapse, and eventually the Chinese ARE going to build new pipelines through CIS and Burma.

 

So all we are really arguing over is how much of an effect the embargo will have?  Okay, fair enough.  Let's leave it at that.  Frankly I'm getting a bit tired of arguing about this.   

 

Edited for typos. 

 

Edit 2.  Just found this interesting article on Chinese oil demands forecast thru 2030.  http://eneken.ieej.or.jp/data/4648.pdf

Edited by kgambit
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I'm genuinely puzzled by you pointing out that China gets the bulk of its energy overall from coal. I don't think anyone is surprised by that. It's been a key factor in the climate change debate for years.

 

But they use coal for making electricity, not moving goods and people. Cutting oil is far more serious.

 

As kgambit says, we aren't getting anywhere fast on this. So if I can summarise the trenchlines:

 

- We feel that China is vulnerable to a blockade or restrictions on key raw materials such as oil and food

- You feel China can adapt to lower usage and acquire repalcements from elsewhere

 

- I think you are _massively_ underestimating the difficulties, costs, and time involved in shifting the emphasis of an entire nation. I also feel (aren't these discussions wonderfully freeform?) that the strain of any shift would throw China's inequalities and inefficiencies into stark relief. Hungry crowds would show that they were also angry.

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I don't think there's any practical prospect of an embargo being enforced, but if it were it would be devastating, I don't think there's any doubt.

 

Not only can you not retask agriculture at the drop of a hat but you need to have an effective surplus if you're not going to be able to import to cover seasonal and similar effects- and if you're retasking to domestic production you have to move the extra newly produced stuff around from where it's being produced to where it's processed, to where the people actually live, plus any required for the increased agriculture itself. That requires more (domestic) oil to power the trains and trucks in a situation where you're trying to cope with less. At that point it's getting so that it hardly matters whether you can technically produce and distribute enough food, because there won't be anything left of the non agricultural economy anyway.

 

We've got a massive agricultural surplus here, but if we had an oil embargo we'd struggle very hard to feed Auckland and that's only 1.5 million people. Trying to feed a Beijing sized city with a very limited oil supply would not be a fun prospect by any measure at all.

 

[Practically, Russia should be able to provide a fair bit of food if needed and if China can pay, but then the same systems would also be needed to import as much oil as possible too.]

Edited by Zoraptor
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The reaction has already started, it would seem.

From the excellent Stratfor.com

 

Japan will reveal a 10-year defense plan on Dec. 17, Kyodo reported Dec. 11. Japan plans to set up an amphibious unit designed to take back remote islands in the case of an invasion, and Tokyo wants to increase fighter jet squadrons at its Naha base in Okinawa. Tokyo also plans to procure unmanned surveillance planes and establish a unit of E-2C early warning aircraft at the Naha base.

 

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I'm not proposing public action, that would only push them against the wall and make any crisis worse. It needs to be more subtle, like let American companies privately know in no uncertain terms they need to cut back on Chinese investment and start looking elsewhere.

 

It still won't work unless you somehow got 100% buy in, which you won't.

 

Some company somewhere will be presented with an offer that is excessively beneficial for not buying in, and it'd only be bad business to not accept it even if they were encouraged to do something else.

 

Why would it matter what one company does in an economy as big as China's?

 

Because you're taking the one company far too literally. And if that one company ends up becoming a far and away competitive leader by exploiting a competitive advantage denied towards other companies, then they're going to be increasingly influential.

 

But it won't just be one company. Others will see "Hey, that guy is posting significantly bigger profits than us because of China." This goes both for money into China, as well as money from China.

 

The only way to get this to work would be full on regulation. As it stands now, companies are already free to not invest in China (or accept investment from China) based on ethical considerations.

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They should go ahead and build nuclear weapons, we'll see how much China will like that.

 

That's simply playing to China's strengths!

 

They need to emphasise areas requiring technical innovation, that are best in blue water (Japan's strength). This basically comes down to drones and subs. The Germans have some fancy new subs the Japanese could buy OTS.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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First off - the fact is you should never trust popular media.

 

Especially when it contradicts you right?    That didn't stop you from using it to support your argument when convenient.  LOL

 

And I was not talking about a US food embargo but a food embargo by the US and it's allies. 

 

A quick note on food.  Again.  We aren't going to agree on the food situation.   You can nitpick about which specific agricultural products are in short supply all you want but the problems extend into most facets of the Chinese diet.  I would dispute that China is self-sufficient in wheat.   Nearly self sufficient but not totally.  I believe China imports about 7 to 8% of their total Wheat and projections differ on whether or by how much that shortfall will increase. Let's just drop it - we aren't going to agree no matter what. 

 

"current USDA projections forecast that China will import 8.5 million tons of wheat from all sources in the 2013-14 crop year" – with some 43 percent coming from the United States.

 

 

http://www.dawn.com/news/1036769/chinas-wheat-deficit

 

http://www.newsmax.com/us/china-american-wheat-sales/2013/08/18/id/520943

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackperkowski/2013/04/25/feeding-chinas-population/

 

 

I read the article by Collins and Murray at the USNWC.  It's a good read but it's short on hard numbers and hard analysis, so I am not convinced that their conclusions are valid.  They handwave (as do you) repeatedly over the claim that the Chinese can adequately utilize rail, truck and existing pipeline to replace most of the 3.3 million bbls of tanker oil per day.  Yet they supply no hard numbers on rolling stock or rail transport capacity (which I did) which showed the magnitude of the problem.  And their analysis is based on the premise that the Russians will  help make up the shortfall which isn't a given. Their ignore the impact that Increased use of rail and truck transport will have on siphoning off energy resources from other sectors.  And they seem to gloss over the increased drain on oil/gasoline reserves to maintain the Chinese armed forces in a heightened state of readiness. 

 

Further their analysis is based on extremely dated figures for Chinese oil imports which are now at over 6.3 million a day as opposed to their 3.3 million a day and the improvements in pipeline capacity have not kept pace. The  CIS and Myannamar pieplines you reference won't be large enough to have a huge impact.  The authors argue that Chinese diplomatic efforts may provide alternate supply sources they neglect to mention that opposing diplomacy may also cut off some existing supplies.  Finally their blockade analysis is based on a single blockading state (country) when that isn't necessarily a given either.

 

So while it's an interesting read, the article itself is short on analysis and very long on conjecture.  So is much of this discussion, but then, this is the internetz.  lol. 

 

 My argument is and has been that China is not going to grow exponentially; their energy consumption, which is woefully inefficient, is going to put a cap on that and the Chinese leadership is deluded in case they don't know it's coming. However, it looks to me that they already do know it's coming, which is why they've been restructuring their economy and lowering their growth projections. Ultimately, China's goal ought to be linear growth, not exponential growth, contingent on reducing inefficiency rather than maximizing output.

 

 

I agree that "China's goal ought to be linear growth, not exponential growth, contingent on reducing inefficiency rather than maximizing output" but that's not what we have seen so far.  While it's fair game to argue that exponential growth won't continue long term, even you won't argue that at least short term Chinese oil demand is going to continue to grow.  We can argue about the future rate of increase until we're both blue in the face but Chinese demand is going to increase.  Since  China is not oil sufficient - that is not a problem that is going away any time soon. 

 

I will concede however the fact that Chinese industry is more heavily dependent on coal use than I thought. 

 

This is not to say that an US embargo won't have an effect. Stopping the flow of maritime oil to China IS going to have repercussions and drastically slow / halt their economic growth. But it won't lead to widespread economic collapse, and eventually the Chinese ARE going to build new pipelines through CIS and Burma.

 

So all we are really arguing over is how much of an effect the embargo will have?  Okay, fair enough.  Let's leave it at that.  Frankly I'm getting a bit tired of arguing about this.   

 

Edited for typos. 

 

Edit 2.  Just found this interesting article on Chinese oil demands forecast thru 2030.  http://eneken.ieej.or.jp/data/4648.pdf

 

 

Murray and Collins is not just talking about 'trucks and trains'. They are also talking about the difficulty of maintaining an US blockade of the Chinese coast, which is necessary because a 'soft embargo' of the Malacca Straits does not prevent the Chinese from diverting oil tankers around the Malacca Straits and by subterfuge. Obviously, a full US blockade of the Chinese coast - which requires large scale naval involvement - stops oil, merchandise, and food from passing through - and is therefore regarded as a full act of war. Escalation is then certain.

 

One of my big issues with this thread is that people are talking about embargoes casually, as though it's simply a button we get to press when China retaliates against us economically. A full embargo is a decisive act of war. In a war, I agree that the US is capable of shutting down China's industrial capacity, because then we get to attack their oil pipelines, hard pressure nearby countries into not supplying them, bomb domestic oil fields, etc. There's a lot you're allowed to do in war that you're not allowed to do in peace.

 

But then, in a war the Chinese are also allowed to do moves that they're not allowed to do in peace, and pretty soon we're in the domain of ballistic attacks against carrier groups and nuclear escalation, which becomes a debate I'm not keen on having. The US and China are not going to escalate to that level, and because they both know that they're not going to escalate to that level, they're not going to implement full embargoes / make moves that are going to result in full embargoes.

 

The concept of a casual embargo - the minimal type, in which the US simply wags their finger at China and puts a squeeze on the Malacca Straits to 'punish' the Chinese for, say, not getting along with the Japanese - is what I was responding to, not Tom Clancy esque world war scenarios. Fact is, even such embargoes are severe moves in international politics and are not going to happen because we had a fit over trade. But for the sake of theorycrafting, my argument is that China is not that vulnerable to casual embargoes, especially not over food.

 

I have not looked in detail into the academic crunching about food embargoes against China, mainly because I never considered such strategies viable given that the Chinese, up to the end of the Cold War at the minimum, was self sufficient when it comes to food due to Beijing's paranoia about food security and the manta of Communist isolation. Indeed, that's one motivation for their one child policy - to ensure that China does not grow beyond its carrying capacity.

 

But for the sake of argument, I went and looked at China in the Global Economy, a 2000 book, and https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/pep/pep-304.pdf, a 2004 paper. These are two readily available sources on the web talking directly about a food embargo vs. China. Both conclude that food embargoes implemented by the US and its close allies are not practical and have minimal effect. Now, a counter argument is obviously that these articles are 'old news' and that China is now so intertwined with the global economy that they are vulnerable to food embargoes. But I have a difficult time believing that a country that is seeing declining birth rates, barely an increase in population from 2004, and which has plenty of overland agricultural neighbors - eg Burma and Thailand, two major exporters of rice - needs to worry about a food embargo for the next 5-10 years. Those rural cities that China is talking about setting up all over the country by 2020 - they're not built yet.

 

Of course, you are free to do the math, but keep in mind that when the math involves specific types of food, and not food as a whole, that diets are capable of, and do, change. China is in fact the best example of this, as just 20 years ago the Chinese were consuming a lot less meat. In the end, I think that the only way to use food embargoes vs. China presently is to use it to exacerbate bad decisions; for example, the Chinese government makes an obviously aggressive move that their people are not happy about, then the US goes in and puts additional pressure via a 'moral embargo' that increases food prices, triggering mass protests from people who are otherwise on the fence. But in nationalistic scenarios, where China's population has little cause to side with the US - and in matters having to do with Japan, that's a given - the US is not going to, for the lack of a finer word, do **** with a food embargo.

Edited by Azarkon
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They should go ahead and build nuclear weapons, we'll see how much China will like that.

 

Japan having nukes is pretty irrelevant in the scenarios they're in conflict over. Japan is not going to fire nukes at China because China took one of their offshore rocks; that's the sort of escalation that only happens in armchair fantasies. Nobody takes that sort of gamble when it's their existence on the line; MAD in this situation simply cancels itself out.

Edited by Azarkon
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Az, if the US doesn't want oil - especially oil - to move into China it's very simple. By threatening action, and by pressuring reinsurers they can prevent oil being insured on the journey. At that point no shipping company is going to move one single barrel.

 

Even if they only close the Malacca straits you are still talking about adding hundreds of miles to every single journey. Suppliers will not want to move oil with added delays, and China would have to pay a serious additional sweetener on top of direct costs.

 

You do NOT have to lock down the entire Chinese coast like this was the 18th century. Bulk trade occurs through a handful of ports, and is only really profitable along a handful of routes.

 

I'd really encourage you to look at the effect of shortages in non-democratic regimes to get a better handle on this. All it takes is a spark.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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