Bolton: South China Sea Belligerence, Rising Military Budget Show China Is Not Pursuing a ‘Peaceful Rise’ Strategy

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton looked at the growing power of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

“The China analysts … say that Xi Jinping now has more power than any Chinese leader since Mao Tse-tung are right,” Bolton said. “I think he’s undisputed in being at the top of the pyramid. It gives him fearsome control over China, both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the upside to Xi’s unitary power is that he might be able to move quickly on some issues favorable to the United States, notably the confrontation with North Korea concerning its nuclear missile program.

“I wish we were pressing the Chinese more on why it’s in their own interest to get rid of the Kim Jong-un regime,” Bolton said. “But it also means that if Xi Jinping decides to take a very hard line in the South China Sea, in the East China Sea, with India, in the trade area, and a whole range of other areas, I think he’s got the undisputed power to do that, too. The threat that China poses, I think, on balance, is enhanced by this centralization of power, which we haven’t seen in 50 years, basically.”

Bolton said Xi has been able to “harness a lot of credit for the economic growth” in China, even though current growth is arguably more attributable to market reforms implemented by his predecessor Deng Xiaoping.

“What you’ve got is a very mercantilist policy, where the Communist Party dominates basically all the key economic decisions. A lot of the Chinese economic growth is overstated,” he added.

“I don’t think it’s that that gives him the leverage. I think he’s a very crafty politician, and for years, in his first and second terms, he was engaged in what the West and the Western press called an ‘anti-corruption campaign,’” he recalled.

“Everybody said, ‘Oh, what a wonderful thing; we’re all against corruption!’ Well, by the definition we use of corruption, practically every Chinese political official is corrupt. But just by coincidence, I’m sure, the politicians that Xi Jinping and his allies brought down tended quite substantially to be his political opponents as well. By this vigorous anti-corruption campaign, he was also cleaning away the political opposition,” Bolton said.

“It took time, and he had to do it in stages, but at the 19th Communist Party Conference concluded last year, he was elevated to the status of ‘Xi Jinping Thought,’ right up there with Mao, as you mentioned, and now, he’s removed the term limits,” he told Marlow. “It’s a step well-planned and well-executed. He has consolidated both political and economic power in his own person. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, in a way since Mao Tse-tung had that power.”

Bolton said China is pursuing a “very long-term global strategy.”

“They are buying assets that they need in their manufacturing sector. Unlike most companies or even countries, they don’t buy their requirements for a particular mineral; they buy the whole mine in Latin America or Africa,” he noted.

“They’ve got what they call the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative to try and tie Central Asia into China, away from Russia, away from India,” he continued. “They’ve got the ‘Maritime Silk Road,’ they call it, that’s part of that as well. They’re mapping the seabed in the Indian Ocean, and they’re not looking for fish; they want to know where to put their ballistic missile submarines. It’s a very long-range plan.”

“For a long time, the West has bought into the argument, China’s illusion of a ‘peaceful rise’ – the buzz phrase that you hear that they’re going to be a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in world affairs; that’s another buzz phrase,” he argued.

“Look, it’s a possible scenario, but it’s not the only scenario, and in my opinion, it’s not the most likely scenario. They’re not engaged in ‘peaceful rise’ activities right now as you look at what they’re doing with their military budget and their belligerent conduct in the South China Sea and elsewhere,” he cautioned.

Bolton concluded by responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia has developed “invincible” nuclear missiles that can penetrate American defense systems.

“We’ve known Russia was working on this hypersonic cruise missile for some time,” he pointed out. “So are we, frankly. It does not follow a ballistic missile trajectory, so our anti-ballistic missile defenses are not likely to be able to deal with it, although, frankly, our anti-ballistic missile defenses were so gutted by the Obama administration that the president’s budget has a substantial increase for it.”

“Putin has undoubtedly overstated the actual operational capability that Russia has, but make no mistake: China is, if not right behind him, only a step or two behind him,” Bolton warned.

“This threat of missiles that can move at incredible speeds over long distances, just a very few feet above the surface of sea or land, and then suddenly pop up over their target with nuclear payloads is very, very dangerous and the kind of technology that you can expect even North Korea and Iran to be looking at very soon as well,” he predicted.

“The world is a dangerous place. It’s filled with bad people, and it’s filled with people who don’t have the best interests of the United States at heart. If you’re not ready to protect us, we’re going to face consequences,” he said.

“We’ve come out of eight years of dreamland under Obama. A lot of this that sounds shocking was actually going on during his presidency. It’s just that nobody paid any attention to it in the media and certainly not in the Obama administration. The bills are coming due for Donald Trump, and that’s why his agenda is so full,” said Bolton.

John Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and head of his own political action committee, BoltonPAC.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern.


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