Milo wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:11 am
As to the nature of the Chinese overseas push, don't forget that the Seeley quote, above:
European colonialism began with support of trade through outposts and coaling stations; and expanded to direct government ownership of huge swaths of land.
The questions are: how far will China go, and will they exercise restraint on their own?
We do not know Milo. That will unfold with the passage of time.
I believe that it was like that with the European overseas empires of yore - they felt their way as they went along - had no master plan for building empires but responded to opportunities as they came along.
Take India and the British for instance. The English East India Company arrived when the subcontinent was under the sovereignty of the Moghul Empire and led by its last strong ruler. The EI Co,. impressed that ruler who granted them lucrative trading concessions - by negotiation, not under duress. I believe that the company shareholders back in London would have been content with just profiting from those commercial concessions forever had the Moghul Empire remained intact but unfortunately it did not. After the death of that emperor the empire went to the pack and soon fragmented into a patchwork of regional principalities. Order broke down, war and banditry became rife. So the E I Co, had to recruit its own private army and become a military-political force just to defend the trading rights it had gained already as well as to fend off foreign competitors like the Dutch and the French.
Having become a military presence, with the help of tactical alliances with native princes they expanded both their territorial domain and pale of responsibility.
No master plan for empire on the subcontinent - just response to unfolding events. The power vacuum brought on by the collapse of Mughal power meant that something, sooner or later, had to get sucked into it. If not the British then perhaps a new invasion from Afghanistan or Persia. Who knows?
Milo, I suggest it will be the same with the PRC. The global expansion will be in direct proportion to Western (and other's)) weakness. Even now the pattern of their expansion has been a matter of probing for weaknesses abroad (like Sri Lanka's government decision to turn its back on Western patrons some years ago) then taking advantage of these.
They will not take on those they respect. Worldwide, respect is all but possibly more so in Asia than elsewhere.