Why China’s Behavior Alarms Neighbors

By Vic Odarve

In history, it is the military might coupled with aggressive totalitarian leadership that increases the risk of an incident or miscalculation or fueled by overconfidence bring the world wars. And China has all these elements! China’s exponential military budget over the past few years; military posture over the South China Sea; and aggressive totalitarian leader that defies international norm on settling disputes thru United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea worries her small and relatively weak neighbors.

Yes, China is militarily strong and is still growing. According to the survey conducted by Global Firepower report, China has the third most powerful army in the world next to Russia and United States.

Commercial flight across the South China Sea

Commercial flight across the South China Sea

China military power rises exponentially in the past five years. Beijing is undergoing massive military modernization program widely regarded as among the most aggressive and advanced in the world; aspiring to build a truly powerful 21 st century military with budget excessive for the country’s legitimate defense needs. The elevated budget levels for the past few years may build even more potent forces; attempt to intimidate potential competitors in Asia; and suggests that the primary purpose is projecting power across long distances, not defending the homeland anymore. Today, China has its strategic missile forces combat ready and has also developed a broad array of space weapons designed to destroy enemy’s satellites; and also built the world’s largest army of cyber warriors, and drones.

Moreover, Chinese government, with its Communist party in power, is authoritarian in structure and ideology usually headed by few influential people. Most often than not, authoritarian government can be abused by leaders who are corrupt; people under the leadership just follow the leader without questions; and may lead in making a bad decision. In authoritarian government, there’s a political stability, but it is sometimes ruled with fear.

History always reminds mankind that country with powerful military and authoritarian rule usually have expansionist policy and intimidate the smaller neighbors. That is what happened in Europe before World War II. Germany, with Hitler authoritarian rule backed up with the powerful military machine, invaded her neighbors without considering the international norm of respecting sovereignty. Few months ago, Russian under Putin absorbed Crimea by demonstrating her military might and authoritarian regime rule. Today, China’s behavior is alarming; claims that China’s territorial seas extend into much of the South China Sea and declare to be within their Exclusive Economic Zones and establishes a new demarcation line on the air and naval navigation.

AS always shown in history, military might coupled with an authoritarian leader increases the risk of an incident or miscalculation or fueled by overconfidence bring the world in flames. China’s behavior is likened to Germany and Japan before World War II. This behavior alarms her relatively weak and small neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei

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