China is buying up American energy production and resources as Washington stands by and watches. With China’s new leader arming our enemies and threatening to turn us into a nuclear wasteland, one has to wonder why Washington is not more concerned.In one way or the other Chinese companies, especially those in strategic industries, act as arms of the communist party and their purchase of strategic assets does not bode well for Americans. In a country like China where all businesses must comply with the whims of the communist party, selling them our strategic assets seems like folly indeed.China’s rise has lead to an incredible demand for energy upon which China’s economy depends. In light of this fact, China has proven that they will do anything to get strategic resources, especially gas and oil. They will first try to buy or steal them, then use front companies as they try to buy them. As a last resort, they will merely steal them. This last point is best exemplified by plans for Beijing’s invasion of islands in the South China Sea and threat of war there.Although China has not invaded American soil yet, they need what we have to offer. All too often the Chinese motto is “beg, borrow or steal, but get us that US know-how” and resources.
“Everybody knows Barack Obama wants America to be energy independent; just ask him and he’ll tell you so. What he won’t tell you is why he is standing by and watching while China is buying American oil and gas in alarming amounts.” – Coach is Right
Interestingly enough, when it comes to energy generation, America is allowing China to buy their way in. Beijing sits by as we create new forms of energy generation, and then ask to take a peek at our tech. All too frequently now we allow them to do just that. Of course, we admonish them to keep away from our high tech secrets, but looking at their track record, that seems highly unlikely.
Aside from our secrets, China wants our stuff. Both countries have oil and gas, but ours, especially natural gas, is much easier to access. Aside from this, we have advanced methods of fracking which enables its use. The Chinese have no such skills and thus are in need of ours. This exemplifies their dual dependency on America. They need both our technology and our resources.
With the present threat of Chinese military conflict, one has to wonder why more attention is not being paid to the China threat right here, inside our own borders.
Simply put, China does not have enough natural resources to continue its growth. From clean air and water to energy, China is tapped out. This is why it seems that Beijing is following that pre-WW2 Japanese strategy of territorial expansion. I am not talking about China’s invasion of Tibet and East Turkestan, but the South China Sea, the Senkaku Islands and almost all land in between.
A good example of China’s plight can be seen in their paucity of potable water and arable land. China has over 22% of all the people on the planet but not enough water to live like OECD countries. In addition, China Has only 1/6th of the arable land as the USA and that number is shrinking.
The land that is not dried up has been sacrificed for economic growth and ruined. Forty percent of that minuscule “arable” soil is degraded and twenty percent of that potentially hazardous. Doing the math, China has way too many people and too little land.
Their reliance on coal does not help as their mining practices hearken back to the days of Dickens and promise even less fertile land to be had. They serve up a triple whammy of archaic extraction practices, dearth of clean coal and antiquated power generation which has taken a toll on the country. On the bright side, however, the Chinese have found a friend in the USA.
China Is in Trouble
China has to power its economic growth, but lacks the resources. Relying on indigenous measures leaves China covered in a black-lung inducing haze. Half the time one can only tell the difference between night and day by looking at a watch. Things have gotten so bad that China’s air this year has caused a “nuclear winter“. Not only are they short on land and water, but coal as well. And therein lies the rub.
China needs energy to grow or the communist leaders like Xi Jinping will be pulling a Viktor Yanukovych by slinking off to Russia with their hidden millions. Beijing’s leaders would rather not follow in the footsteps of the former Ukraine leader, so Beijing is out purchasing assets.
The pace of China’s growth is not sustainable with the world’s known resources. In order for Chinese to live as well as Americans, they would need all the resources of at least three earths. Although astronomy is not my gig, I am pretty sure that not even one new earth, let alone a trio of ’em has been found.
What this means is that China’s miracle is going to derail, it’s just a matter of time. The truth is that Mao turned China into a paleolithic state of ineptitude and waste. He and the communist party turned back the clock and had Chinese living much worse than they had been under the KMT let alone the final dynasty, the Qing. When Mao was thundering around China, and until his demise and subsequent pickling, the whole of China only had 25,000 cars, and communal living was the norm.
Recalling Poverty of Yesteryear
Recollecting that Mao kicked the bucket just 36 years ago, we see that hundreds of millions of Chinese remember those days. Back then, a rich Chinese guy had a bicycle and a few extra rice coupons at the end of the month. He lived in a squalid apartment not much larger than a full sized pick up and literally shared a toilet and shower with all those in his neighborhood. The legacy of this can still be seen in hutongs across Beijing.
The upshot of all this is that Chinese in their 40’s and above remember all this. They recall the poverty, the misery and they don’t want to go back. Then you have the post 80’s one-child policy contingent. This group has lived a relatively good life and never had to forage for food and consider tree bark a snack.
Both of these groups fear a reversal of fortune, which means the communists must not only provide but up their game as well. The Tienanmen massacre neutered the democratic spirit of that generation, but they needn’t worry about the post 1980’s tribe. Democracy seems to be the last thing on their minds.
That does not mean that they won’t try to revolt, however. This group didn’t hear the rattling of machine gun fire, nor the monstrous tanks as they rolled into Beijing, and they don’t know the terror. They do know other things, however.
The post 80’s Chinese know that the air is actually a colorless gas in countries other than China. They also know that a house, decent education and health care are all safely achievable around the globe. China sends almost one million students overseas each year. Most of this group cannot realize their dream of emigrating and are forced to return to China to work.
Although their experience in democratic countries has done nothing to create a desire for democracy, it has pushed younger Chinese to demand a higher quality of life. If the communists fail, change will be demanded. The communists will be ousted and replaced by another oppressive regime and the cycle will repeat itself.
How the Communist Party Survives
Beijing must fill this need or face the wrath of disenchanted Chinese. China does not have enough raw materials to meet those needs, so Beijing is going on a buying spree. The problem is that it is a stop-gap measure to say the least.
In order to grow like they have been, China needs to add an England’s worth of power generation each and every year. By using dirty Chinese coal, they foul their air and land all the more, but purchasing foreign gas and oil leaves them dependent.
If they choose to purchase land, then they are still beholden to foreign powers, a thing they would like to avoid. And that is the good news…
The elephant in the room is what will happen when countries refuse to sell China their gas, coal and oil.
From the looks of it, we should not have long to wait. Beijing is banking on extracting oil from the south China sea, but that poses problems. That oil is on land that does not legally belong to Beijing and its extraction could start a war. In addition, their energy needs are so great that the South China Sea oil reserves are only a drop in the proverbial bucket.
China’s insatiable demand for resources has put them on a collision course with the reality of scarcity of resources. They simply have too many people and too little of what they need.
Impact on America
China is diversifying its portfolio and buying up America. For now everything is good. Washington is allowing the Chinese to gobble up our energy stores and the Chinese are content. But the global geopolitical situation is anything but stable, especially when China is involved. What will happen should the Chinese demand more of US resources or we cut off the spigot? Will they merely shake their heads in disgust and walk away?
Confucianism revenge being what it is, I sincerely doubt this. In the addict world of scarce resources, China is a crack-head with a pocket full of cash. When he cannot get his oil fix, he’ll be that guy wielding the ragged shards of a bottle of Boone’s farm and demanding his fix.
While a guy brandishing broken glass may be slightly unnerving, his threat footprint is relatively small. When that sweaty oil junkie is packing nukes and vehicles with which to deliver them, things get really scary.
The communists have shown they will stop at nothing to maintain control. Men, women and children are merely tools of the state and expendable; the party must go on. The communist party knows that its continued control relies on economic growth. That growth is predicated in good part on energy, a thing it needs more of.
China’s energy footprint will become monstrous if they continue as they have been going, which is a cause of concern for everyone. When push comes to shove and the communists need more energy, how far will they go to obtain it?
Considering that America has gone to war to protects its oil interests, its not far-fetched to think the Chinese would not do the same.
Or maybe its just me…
Conversely, this article may only be filled with alarmist rhetoric and everything will be just fine. The world will provide and new means of resource extraction will be found. We will all will get along just as we always have and China’s growth will present no bigger problem than that of the USA.
Then again, maybe its wise to start looking for a few more earths floating around out there…..