If an essay was to be written in clarity and brevity on opium wars, then it would surmise that Britons who were exporting opium to China, ensured large quantity of opium was supplied, so that the substance which till then was being used as a medicine, would begin to be used for it’s mind-altering properties by commoners. Soon a nation was addicted to opium, and Britons hit the iron of war when it was hot. The communist party of China (CPC) learnt it’s lesson from the mid-19th century Opium wars which relegated China to a slave nation. But in recent times, CPC discovered the new age opium—cheap Chinese products, the unfulfilled wish was to find the right man who could bring CPC’s plans to fruition. This is when Winnie the Pooh, emerged as CPC’s saviour.
In an interview he said—I remember clearly, I was 16 years old when I was being sent to the countryside to be trained among the peasants. Everyone in my train was crying, except me. I was laughing, the only one laughing.
This reflects his personality, a man who is ready to endure hardships to manifest his dreams into reality. Not many are aware Mr Pooh was a princeling, whose father, Xi Zhongxun, had fought along with Mao Zedong. Later during the cultural revolution of 1960’s, his father was jailed. Mr Pooh witnessed politics up close, and learnt many lessons on it very early in his life.
So who are we talking about? Xi Jingping, ofcourse!
He earned the sobriquet –Winnie the Pooh, after his visit to America in 2013 where a stout Xi was spotted with the tall and lanky Obama. Little later a movie that was an adaptation of Winnie the Pooh was banned in China. Not a surprise!
If gleaned one would find similarities between his personal life and military strategies. There is a pattern!
- Mr Pooh strongly believes—“Transparency is vulnerability, a weakness”.
- He pounced on his enemies under the guise of false anti-corruption campaign, when the real motive was to remove road blocks in his ascension to the highest and most powerful chair. Examples of this are posted later in this article.
- Once he shored up his foundation to insulate himself from turbulences, Mr Pooh initiated his real agenda of expansion.
- Another important trait is—he supports a balance between traditional and modern values.
In the first glance the above points might appear like an innocuous deet of President of the most populated country in the world. But the above strategies when merged with CPC’s deadly opium concoction, produced a distilled and potent tincture that could help Pooh and CPC achieve their dreams.
Being opaque and being deceptive
Mr Pooh’s first strategic move in his political career was to place himself among the elite of Beijing. The shortest step to this was to get married to an influential woman. Not many are aware that Pooh’s wife, was a very famous folk singer till recently. She ostensibly had more audience than him till 2007, for she used to sing very catchy propaganda songs. By the way, this was his second marriage, and for obvious reasons very little is known of his first nuptial. There’s little transparency on his personal life. Would you believe it??— Mr Pooh was voted last in the rankings of alternate members of the 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party, held in 1997? There are usually about 205 full members and 171 alternates, and Pooh ranked 376th that day.
In the international arena, after being picked up as the man to lead CPC, Mr Pooh ensured he was given enough media attention in every meeting and that he placed himself and his men “strategically”. World health organization’s President Mr Tedros, Financial Task force’s Chief– Xiangmin Liu are few examples.
When it comes to Military strategies his personal strategies are congruent to CPC’s policies.
Yes, he believes that being transparent as an individual or as a country is akin to making oneself predictable and vulnerable. So very little is known of Mr Pooh’s background and personal life. There’s, ofcourse, a paucity of information emanating from China. Infact, things are so murky that the exact intention behind China’s recent tiff with India is still being speculated. So the safest assumption at this point will be— that which is most obvious is definitely not the reason for the Ladakh (mis)adventure of Chinese soldiers. A troop surge in Ladakh could mean CPC plans a real attack somewhere else. But one thing to be noted is—since Mao’s time China has believed in playing the trump card, a single decisive strike after wearing down the enemy with feints. A Feint is a maneuver in sword-fighting to distract and mislead the opponent. So could China’ recent behavior at the border too be categorized as a Feint maneuver?
Purveying a false narrative and then switching to expansion
In a country where a single political entity is supreme, it is not uncommon to see the members of such an entity misuse their power. Once upon a time, CPC members were neck deep in banquet and broth*l culture. This facilitated Mr Pooh in pulling down his opponents. His first high profile competitor, Communist Party boss of Shanghai Chen Liangyu, was taken down in 2007, when it was found that Chen was involved in many scandals.
The next target was the charismatic Bo Xilai. Bo was like a red Robinhood walking across the street—one could not have missed his presence in a crowded room, for he was not just good looking, but was a man who had changed the fortunes of few lesser known cities of China. May be called the Chinese version of Bill Clinton!!! But Bo was not a very innocent man—all the 3 Ws, women wine and wealth, were his weaknesses. There were stories published, that months before Pooh was to replace Hu Jintao as the next president, Bo and few others had plotted to overthrow Pooh. Bo’s is the most interesting story, no less than a thriller. Bo and his wife faced trials on 2 separate cases, while Bo’s wife Gu Kailai was accused of killing a British citizen, ostensibly her paramour, Bo himself faced corruption charges. Both of them are now incarcerated, but their only son lives a low profile life in Canada.
After carrying out an impressive anti-corruption campaign in the country in 2013, Mr Pooh had managed to impress the Chinese populace. Give credit where it’s due—Pooh did manage to curb the rampant corruption in the middle order of CPC. But it’s a fact that while his opponents were being quasi-kidnapped under a draconian law for alleged corruption charges, his own family members continued their corrupt practices with impunity.
So is it about Pooh’s personal life? No it’s about his thought process.
When it comes to military, Pooh expects the soldiers of PLA (people’s Liberation Army), who technically are protecting CPC, to execute his plans perfectly to the last dot. In the international arena, to execute his plan, CPC invested multi billion dollars to carry out a campaign anti-democracratic in nature but pro-communist. The campaign was carried out in many countries. In London, when China’s central global television network, CGTN, decided to hire 90 staff, they received 6000 applications. Ofcourse! Those who apply for such jobs are either naïve or prepared to cooperate with CGTN’s strategy.
Or it could be just that they were in desperate need of a job.
In India, often many media persons are seen supporting China’s campaigns, the reason is as clear as the blue sky—support the false narrative and help the dragon expand and earn some moolah in return.
Vis-a-Vis Ladakh there are many media persons who claimed that China has already crossed LAC (line of actual control) and are now on the Indian side with more than 5000 soldiers. Should we believe them?
Combination of Traditional and modern strategies
Back in 1999, an “accidental” bombing of Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by US, was a lesson CPC learnt in controlling media. So this has now become an imperative element of China’s strategies, and media control is often exercised through it’s military wings. But a lesson that CPC wrote down in the stone was —the one from the opium war. Addiction of the commoners living in China to opium, led to a century long slavery under Britain. Just like Chinese scientists are known to reverse engineer technology, in case of opium war, CPC reverse engineered a military strategy. CPC understood the world would easily fall for cheap goods from China, and over a period of time when everyone would have fallen an addict to Chinese goods, CPC would begin pulling the strings and trap countries into economic slavery.
But did the world not see the big picture? Many military strategists exposed the great dragon’s expansionist intentions but in a hush-hush voice. In any case, it was an onerous task for people to give up their addiction of the cheap Chinese goods. Governments across the world too did not see this as a perilous trend but Corona was the wake-up call for everyone.
Now that many international companies have decided to ditch manufacturing in China, CPC is irked. India has managed to get some of China’s old clients. So is this why PLA’s men are provoking India on it’s borders while strategically placed pro-CPC men in India’s neighbourhood, like KP Sharma Oli, are being tawdry?
May be!!! But Taiwan has faced China’s wrath more than any other country in the world. It understands CPC’s strategies well. Going by Taiwan’s experience, at the peak of Corona pandemic in China, a helicopter crash killed 7 of Taiwan’s senior leaders including Chief of defence staff, just a weak before elections, CPC had made it’s intentions clear –Taiwan’s democracy and forces both were under attack.
India should take a leaf out of Taiwan’s experience. The moral of the story is—once CPC gets the attack balls rolling, it usually doesn’t back off. Albeit, in India’s case China would not risk collateral damage, so weakening India internally using the wobbling 4th pillar of democracy would be a priority. Then a decisive single strike at the border. Opium war 3.0 will be waged against the world in the most surreptitious way possible. Or atleast that was the plan!!!
An article by Levina
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