First Humanitarian/Military Ship off Libya is Chinese
China bashing is a minor but seriously misguided sport in America but just wait till politicians grasp the fact that China is building a major naval force and is already confident enough to send its first naval vessel into The Mediterranean Sea.
China's military is often thought of as a land force and it is, but that is changing as China's involvement overseas changes. Major countries always develop ways to project power and protect their interests.
Recently the first naval vessel to arrive off the coast of Libya was from the Chinese Navy - this was a humanitarian mission to secure the safety of Chinese citizens and diplomats, but it will come as a real shock when people begin to realize the significance of this event. It never happened before in 5,000 years of China's history.
Despite recent political tensions, China's government has also acted quickly to offer help to Japan in the current humanitarian crisis.
Count on it, some politician or talking head is going to try to build a reputation by reacting to China's new presence as a world power in a totally inappropriate way but the simple fact is that the first naval vessel to move off the coast of Libya for humanitarian purposes was Chinese, not American, or even French despite the fact that France has recognized a new government in Libya.
It is time for Americans to recognize that, even if they don't like the Chinese government, China is already a major world power, perhaps (probably) by mid century it will have a greater presence in the world than the U.S.
That isn't good or bad, it is just a fact. Facts are something American politicians and the public find difficult to understand.
China is increasing its military budget by about 10% each year and faces no land-based threat.
China has 8 or 9 nuclear powered submarines.
China has taken a 70,000 ton, 900 foot unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier and is actively converting it into a usable naval vessel.
China has tested a stealth fighter/bomber.
Every major power has aircraft carriers and, since China has moved economically (not militarily) into Africa and other areas which the U.S. has mostly ignored perhaps because they have little or no oil. China is, very reasonably, moving to show it can protect the assets and people where the country has made investments.
Someday soon that will cause a major panic in Washington, just watch for it.
China has, in the past 20 years, outsmarted the U.S. in virtually every critical area including education, building nuclear power plants, developing "green" power industries, locking down rare earth element sources, stockpiling uranium, and in managing its budget and economy - after all, China doesn't owe the U.S. billions of dollars.
When that finally penetrates both the collective public mind in full force it will probably cause a shock in the voters that will make the Tea Party tax revolution (as important as it is) seem like a tempest in a tea pot.
It is important to begin thinking about this now and begin to treat China as a partner and ally, not an enemy. It isn't as if the U.S. never works with dictators, kings, and other foreign political environments we don't agree with. Often we seem to prefer them to legitimate democracies.
The British Empire used to control much of the world. Later the U.S. did. We get along well with most of the former British Empire, there is no basic reason we can't get along with China.
If you don't believe China is so important, look around your home and try to find something marked "Made in the U.S.A."
China has quietly made its way into a position of great economic power and political influence not through conquest (the way countries often did) but simply by being much better capitalists than we now are in America.
We let our infrastructure collapse. China builds high-speed rail systems.
We buy virtually all consumer goods from overseas because they are cheaper. China builds factories and creates jobs.
We borrow money. China loans money.
We start wars in places where no invader has won since Alexander the Great. China buys companies and develops mines.
If current trends continue in 20 years more people will be English literate in China than in America.
How hard is it to believe that China could soon become the world's dominant super power?
How we treat China will determine in large part how China will treat us.
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