The Instigator
Eitan_Zohar
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
wrichcirw
Pro (for)
Losing
16 Points

China is a serious, long term threat to American strategic interests.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
Eitan_Zohar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,753 times Debate No: 30680
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (89)
Votes (9)

 

Eitan_Zohar

Con

This is a response to wrichcirw's claim that China is "the next preeminent threat to America": [http://debate.org...]

Allow me to define my position: While I certainly don't think China is not at least a moderate threat to the allies or interests of the US, and I agree on a containment policy, I firmly believe that the current regime is structurally vulnerable and that China's internal and international problems will prevent it from ever gaining real hegemony on a global or even regional scale.

From what I infer, Pro's position is that China could actively check US hegemony in Asia and the rest of the world, and has the potential in the long-term future to challenge the US for supremacy in many of its economic, military, and political spheres of influence.

There should be no semantics in this debate, as both sides should have an understanding of what the other is advocating.

Rules:

1. Round One is acceptance and/or rule and definition clarification.

2. The burden of proof is divided equally.

3. All source material must be easily accessable.

4. The rounds must be easily readable in plain text, and usage of Italics, underlining, and bolding should be limited.

5.
Spelling/Grammar and Conduct should not be voted on unless gross violation of either one is committed.

I hope to learn much from my opponent. Thank you; I await his response.
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank CON for setting up this debate. I too hope the debate will be interesting and informative.

---

In the comments section, PRO/CON agreed to the following definitions:

Serious threat - Strong possibility of a non-trivial weakening of the US's hegemonic position.

Long term - Will not go away in a few decades and will PERHAPS remain a threat for much of this century. (I highlighted "perhaps" because I don't think anyone is able to project past a few decades)

American strategic interests - synonymous with the US's hegemonic position - military bases abroad (and other political factors), economic hegemony via dollar/trade hegemony, and cultural hegemony.

---

CON also gave a common-sense explanation of the resolution:

PRO is arguing that China will get strong enough to challenge the US. CON is arguing that this will not happen and that China will be weakened in the future.

---

Lastly I just want to note that the resolution deals primarily with future events, so this debate will engage in quite a few hypotheticals. Regardless, whoever's scenario more supports their side of the resolution will be considered the victor.

Cheers, and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Eitan_Zohar

Con

Thanks to Pro for accepting this debate. I will now begin my case.


China's position in the world.



China currently occupies many regions outside China proper, most of which are distinctly non-Han Chinese regions- Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, etc. These buffer states provide military insulation against foreign aggressors with depth and geographical obstacles (mountains, deserts, and jungles).

Brown = Han Chinese.
Dark purple = Mongolian.
Light purple = Turks.
Dark yellow = Tibetan.



There is a large income disparity between the rich regions of the coast and the much poorer inland regions which have historically resulted in tensions between the two (e.g. Chinese Civil War). This is due to the fact that coastal China has access to major world shipping routes.



China has an extremely rapidly growing economy driven largely on foreign investment and manufactured good exports: [1.http://people.umass.edu...]. It has a huge industrial capacity in its coast that facilitates this growth, which is highly dependent on coal [2.http://china.lbl.gov...] and oil imports [3.http://news.xinhuanet.com...] to sustain the rapid development. China is not capable of overcoming its dependence on foreign trade easily- consumption is only 37 percent of GDP, one of the lowest rates in the world [4.http://www.tradingeconomics.com...].

China's domestic stability.

I am sure that my opponent understands basic Chinese geopolitics, but I will outline them here. Throughout Chinese history, the coastal region and hinterlands have had conflicting interests. This leads to fragmentation and civil war, as was demonstrated in the Chinese Civil War when Mao Zedong conquered the coastal region from the interior and created an extremely centralized society cut off from world trade. Now that a reopened China is once again developing socioeconomic instability and power disparities, China's government maintains support by continual economic growth and mass employment, in addition to increasing development in the eastern and central parts of the country.

China's economy obviously cannot keep growing forever- this would violate basic principles of economics. Furthermore, the regime must allocate money politically rather than allowing markets to allocate capital. Foreign investment and export growth were achieved artificially [5.http://www.theepochtimes.com...] and hasn't created true wealth proportion to China's apparent growth. At the same time, the crony capitalism has created a massive debt bubble in China's banks [6.http://thediplomat.com...].

The similarities to Japan are clear. Japan in the 80's was an export dependent state with little economic responsibility and an unsustainable growth rate. When the bubble bursts, as it did in Japan, it will be different for China, in which the regime's survival requires domestic stability, and domestic stability requires prosperity in the absence of any sort of unifying principle or ideology. It will be far more destructive for an inherently unstable power than it was for the United States or Japan.

China's foreign relations.

China requires significant control over its shipping routes and aims to build up its maritime strength in the future. China has laid their claim in the "nine-dash line" a boundary marking its territory in the South China Sea. This is an important point.




Japan and Korea.

Japan is almost completely reliant on imported energy sources [7.http://en.wikipedia.org...], all of which go through the important corridor that China lays claim to. This is largely the same for Korea [8.http://en.wikipedia.org...]. Both have an interest in keeping the seas under the control of a friendly power, and the United States has, by far, the most navy in the world, with its own interests in containing China.

Anti-Japanese protests and boycotts are common in China [9.http://www.brandchannel.com...] due to cultural animosity. China and Japan will not become friends in the forseeable future.

Korea is less inherently hostile and more dependent upon China, and may be an unreliable ally to the United States.

Australia.

Australia is one of the richest countries in the world, but is heavily dependent on oil and petroleum imports to maintain the standard of living, which are in turn dependent on shipping routes [10.http://en.wikipedia.org...]. Australia must maintain good relations with a maritime power in order to secure those routes, which is cuurently the United States (which also happens to be culturally similar to Australia). Australia will not turn away from the United States unless a new power rises, and China's weak navy and uncertain economy will not give them any incentive to do so. The United States has recently opened a new military base in Darwin in order to cement this relationship against China [11.http://www.thejakartapost.com...].

Southeast Asia.

India and Vietnam also threatened with China's maritime claims. India, while not an ally of the US, is attempting to help the containment effort and establish cooperative relationships with Vietnam and other countries threatened by them [12.http://www.deccanherald.com...]. China and India have been trying to contain each other and each is asserting its influence in other countries such as China's aid to Pakistan [13.http://www.tandfonline.com...].

However, Burma is an ally of China, and in addition to the economic cooperation between the countries, China is building ports in Burma in order to escape encirclement and contain India [14.http://www.dvb.no...].

Out of time for now- I will do an analysis of China's military, navy, and power projection in the next round.

Conclusion.

China is an inherently vulnerable empire. It is dependent upon open shipping lanes and perpetual economic growth for political stability, and its claims have brought it into conflict with its more powerful neighbors, many of which are inherently maritime nations such as Japan or the US. When the economy falters, so will political stability, and the risk of China's critical ports being blockaded keeps it from directly challenging the US. The US has alliances throughout the region, and has centuries of experience at projecting power throughout the world. The Chinese are not an economically or politically stable nation, and that is the determining factor in its ability to act internationally.
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank CON for a substantive argument, and I applaud his thirst for knowledge on this topic. However, while CON presents an excellent synopsis of China's current position in the world, there is scant historical depth in CON's synopsis. I will demonstrate that the history is extremely important in ascertaining the nature of China's ascendancy in the near and long term.

I will present my case utilizing a hegemonic framework in an order of increasing importance - cultural, economic, political - vis a vis the US.

For most historical references, I will use encyclopedia.com [1] utilizing the following format: (key word [source]). When the key word is absent, it denotes that it is the same as the word used in my argument.

Hegemony and Realism

This framework has several core assumptions [2]:

1) The international realm is anarchic
2) States are the primary actors
3) States cannot be certain of the intentions of other states
4) All states have an offensive capacity
5) States are rational and have survival as the primary goal

Under this framework, states can never be sure if another state will in some way do harm to each other. Therefore, the best way to minimize harm is to eliminate the potential for harm, usually through hegemony [1]. Hegemony involves dominance through whatever means are available. This will to dominate is inevitable, and is a given in my framework. The only real question is whether or not China will actually be able to usurp in a non-trivial fashion US dominance.

The US currently has a near-global hegemony. The following map illustrates the point succinctly:




(source: http://tinyurl.com...)

- The US has permanent occupying forces in most European countries, and these European countries in turn have troops in Africa. One can draw a distinct border that comprises the US hegemony - only Russia and China, and maybe South America, are outside of this border. Iran looks ripe for the taking. India was a former British colony, and we have occupying troops in Britain.
- US culture enjoys an unparalleled global audience - most large-budget Hollywood movies earn more overseas than they do in the US proper.
- Economically, we are the largest economy in the world. The dollar is the reserve currency of choice. Wall Street's reach knows no bounds.
- Politically, we are a key member in nearly every major international organization, and the UN, IMF, and World Bank are headquartered in the US.

All I need to demonstrate in order to win this debate is that China poses a strong possibility of a non-trivial weakening of the US's hegemonic position - i.e., the "serious threat". I will argue that not only is this happening as we speak, but that this will continue for the foreseeable future, including the "long term" of several decades outward.



Cultural Hegemony


This is probably the easiest to demonstrate. China's cultural impact easily threatens the weak vestiges of America's cultural hegemony in East/SE Asia, and potentially Central Asia and the Middle East.

C1) Confucianism [1] is prevalent in SE Asia, Korea, and Japan. Former prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew is (in)famous for citing Confucian traditions as to how and why it has become successful, in direct contradistinction to Western traditions [3]. Qufu, the Confucian "holy site", is in China. Confucius was Chinese. The implications for US hegemony in Confucianist countries are self-evident - Confucianist countries would naturally gravitate towards each other, with China as the dominant and founding entity.

C2) Buddhism [1] is much stronger in China than in India, its country of origin, much like how Christianity is much stronger in Europe than in Israel. Most Buddhist countries in East/SE Asia share more characteristics with Chinese culture than Indian culture because of the strong Buddhist traditions embraced by China. Regarding implications for US hegemony, see C1 above. This minimizes the impact of CON's arguments regarding Tibet, a Buddhist theocracy. This also strengthens ties between China and India, the world's two most populous countries.

C3) Taoism [1] is also a homegrown Chinese religion prevalent in East Asia, particularly Japan and Korea [4]. For implications to US hegemony, see C1.

C4) China also has Islamic traditions spanning centuries; up to one-tenth of China's population may be considered Muslim (Islam [1]). One of the most famous admirals in Chinese history was Hui Muslim (Cheng Ho [1]). One of the oldest mosques in the world is in China, built by a companion of Mohammad himself, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas. [5] This has enormous implications as to how China could spread cultural influence globally outside of its traditional sphere of influence in East Asia.

The US presence in Islamic countries is tenuous at best. If China were to fully embrace Islam for whatever reason, the potential for a near-permanent Middle-East/Central Asia/China alliance becomes much more pronounced. This is easily possible - over 100 years of constant civil strife, culminated in the cultural cleansing we call the Cultural Revolution (look at second tab, [1]), has essentially left the Chinese devoid of spirituality - they are ripe for embracing a universal religion like Christianity or Islam. By embracing Islam, a religion with which it already has tradition and familiarity, China easily can become a "serious threat" to the US in that it may find easy partners in states like Iraq and Saudi Arabia that, while hosting US troops, have been antagonistic to the US presence.

The US has no credible cultural counter to this. We fear Arabs in our midst in hushed whispers, and the POTUS's middle name is considered unspeakable.

Islam is currently the world's second most populous religion, not including China [6]. Add China into this, and you get the real possibility of a global Islamic cultural resurgence.

C5) Unlike the West, which has a monopolistic religious tradition under the banner of Christianity, China and its neighbors has a syncretic tradition (syncretic [1]); the religiosity of Taoism and Buddhism and the philosophy of Confucianism merge to form a complex moral and ethical tradition shared by many in the region. This syncretic tradition is capable of accommodating external traditions like Buddhism and potentially Islam without social upheaval. Even without considering Islam, China's pre-existing, shared syncretic traditions dramatically lessens the impact of Japanese, Korean, and SE Asian antagonism against China.

C6) China is already threatening US hegemony culturally and economically in countries with which China shares cultural aspects. As illustrated above, China tends to dominate in these cultural aspects. With a growing economy and a reassertion of its cultural traditions post-Cultural Revolution that may possibly further incorporate Islam into its syncretic traditions, the US hegemonic presence will become further threatened in these regions. This is a multi-millennial, long-term trend, one that has experienced a noticeable depression since China's contact with the West, and one that has reasserted its original expansionistic trajectory since Mao's ascension.

C7) CON's points about domestic instability are way overblown; CON has fallen victim to intellectualist propaganda on this subject. The Chinese overwhelmingly identify themselves as ethnically Han [7], not "coastal" versus "inland". CON's claim that Mao was a result of regional differences is false - from 1911-1950 China waged de facto civil war. This conflict and the causes of it precede Mao and are irrelevant to regionalism. I will expound on this later.

---

Next round, I will present China's global challenge in economic and political contexts. I reserve the right to further rebut CON's other round #2 points later, so please do not consider them drops. Thank you.

[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Eitan_Zohar

Con

I thank my opponent for his prompt response and will begin by addressing several preliminary issues that may have arisen out of some misunderstandings between us. (It also seems that the Andale Mono font looks better, so I'll use that from now on).

Firstly, I fully agree with and concede his assertion that the international system is anarchic and that states have survival as their fundamental goal. I also mostly agree with his descriptions of US power. However, I want to clarify Pro's first claim: that the US has "permanent occupying forces" all over the world. What I infer that Pro means is that the United States has military and intelligence rights in those countries and exercises them. The word "occupy" is generally assumed to mean provisional control over a foreign area (similar to Britain in India, or China in Tibet), which is a highly misleading term when applied to modern American dominion. While Britain or Turkey could theoretically choose to expell the US forces and the US would be politically unable to conquer them or reassert control another way, it would not be in their interests whatsoever and thus would be entirely irrational. The US's "occupation" should be understood as diplomatic and political authority.


Secondly, Pro completely misunderstood my claim of the Chinese coastal region being hostile to the inland region. The conflict I talked about was of a purely economic domain and not the result of territorial or cultural differences. The peasants of central China have fundamentally conflicting interests with the merchants of the coast. My point about Mao Zedong was also misinterpreted. His rise was not the result of the tensions, but he exploited them to his gain. After Mao failed to take control of Shanghai, he took the Long March into the interior, and after winning the support of rural peasants he was able to raise an army with which he eventually conquered the coastal region [1.http://en.wikipedia.org...].

A map for convenience:




I shall now address his main points which are various claims about religious and cultural ties between China and its neighboring countries.

1. Pro provides no explanation of how religion or shared value systems would impact foreign relations between two countries. Ethical or spiritual beliefs are reflected in attitudes of the populations of countries and only facilitates economic or social ties if the belief system crosses into those domains (e.g. the survival of the Jews in diaspora was owed in part to social laws in the Talmud; or that the political power of the Pope was cemented by the church being the only stable institutions in people's lives, etc). While this may have been true in the past, religion no longer directly impacts socioeconomic factors in any fundamental way. While it is true that two countries can use cultural similarities to build relationships if their interests are already congruous, political and nationalist motives are the defining factor in modern geopolitics. To apply these interests to non-political things such as the piety or cultural attitude of the populations is entirely out of touch with the reality of today's systems, and as such Pro's idea of a pan-Islamic power combining China and the Middle East is quite unwarranted. The naked assertion that having similar religious customs "strengthens ties" between two nations is not an argument; Pro has the full burden to show precisely how they are doing so.

2. I find it difficult to even recall any examples in history in which similarity of religions has really strengthened relations between countries. Going back to the 17th and 18th centuries, Catholic countries such as Spain and France were generally allies and so were Protestant ones like England and the Netherlands. And yet England and the Netherlands were often at each other's throats during that period and England was also allied to Catholic Portugal. In modern times, Israel, the pariah of most of the Islamic world, remained friends with the Muslim nations of Turkey, Azerbaijan and pre-revolutionary Iran for decades. Likewise, the real motivation behind the Arab invasions of Israel and their refusal to legitimize it was not borne out of simple religious fervor but pan-Arabism, the concept of Arab unity in the Middle East (which the region of Palestine was critical to). It seems to me that religious considerations were generally much less important than geopolitical ones in both modern and premodern eras.

As promised, I will now do a full analysis of China's military capacity and reach.

Chinese Ground Forces.

The bulk of the Chinese army is built for occupation and national defense. China, being an unstable empire, designed ground forces not for power projection but rather to ensure domestic stability in parts of the country and as the main line of defense for an invasion of the Chinese homland [2.http://www.nbr.org...
]. These limitations were demonstrated during the Korean War. While the military has become modernized to some extent it could be put to full use only if the United State directly attacked China, which is extremely unlikely. Modern tactics are not about force, they are about the control, organization, and application of force. Thus, the real issue here is China's power projection.

Chinese Air Forces.

China's air force is tiny compared to that of the United States. The US has over four times more aircraft than China does, and it is far more modernized, as well as deployable from many of the countries surrounding China. Quick comparison: US:[3.http://en.wikipedia.org...] China:[4.http://en.wikipedia.org...].

Chinese Naval Forces.

China's navy has seen substantial improvement in the past few decades, but it is far from being able to challenge the United States (even as the US deploys its navy to other parts of the world). Aircraft carriers are extremely expensive but excellent for power projection. They are, in essence, floating cities. China has one. The only three nations to have more than one are Italy (two), Spain (two) and the United States (ten) [5.http://www.globalfirepower.com...]. In addition, the United States and Japan have four times more destroyers than China does. [6.http://www.globalfirepower.com...] In terms of advanced power projection, China cannot compete with this.

Keep in mind that China has to train specialized pilots to land on aircraft carriers, and train admirals to command aircraft carriers, and train generals to know how to utilize aircraft carriers over large areas, etc. Human resources are far from limitless, while the United States has had an aircraft carrier navy since WWII and has military traditions and experience in using them. Creating entire navies cannot be accomplished in a few years or even a decade. Assuming China survives that long, the United States and Japan, as inherent thalassocracies, will still have a massive head start on them.

This was a brief overview of (what I believe) are the important points of China's military capacity. I now turn the debate over to my opponent.
wrichcirw

Pro

- PRO's quotes in italics
- Sources continued from round #2

Before I continue with my arguments, I will quickly rebut CON's cultural contentions.

Rebuttal

R1) CON asserts that "[PRO] provides no explanation of how religion or shared value systems would impact foreign relations between two countries." History provides all the explanation one needs. From the Crusades (a holy war) [1], to the Spanish Inquisition (cleansing of Muslim Moors (Moors, [1])), and to the modern examples of 9/11, and the state of Israel and the strong alliance the US shares with a country that shares many aspects in common with its Judeo-Christian ethic, all are products of how religion has played a gigantic role in foreign relations. CON's own point about pan-Arabism is a prime example of culture influencing foreign relations. I remind audiences that as agreed upon in round #1, cultural hegemony is its own criteria to be evaluated, separate from politico-economy. Causation (does culture cause economic events? Does politics cause cultural events?) is irrelevant to the discussion.


Economic Hegemony

These points are brief, but immensely powerful. The reasoning from them stands by itself.

E1) According to the IMF (video #1, [8]), China will overtake the US economically in 2016. At this point the US will lose its economic hegemony. I win this debate through this simple point. The only question that remains is whether or not this is sustainable going forward for China. China has traditionally held this spot since economic records have been taken [9].

Ferguson's allusion to a wide-awake giant is quoting Napoleon, who viewed China as a "“sleeping giant” that if awoken, would shake the world." [10] According to one of the world's foremost historians, China is now wide awake.

E2) China is the world's biggest trading nation. [11]

E3) China is the world's largest producer of automobiles, a key metric of economic production. [12]

E4) China is the world's largest producer of steel and aluminum, key commodities for a modern economy. [13][14]

E5) China has directly challenged dollar hegemony via special drawing rights [15] and by influencing US economic policy through its over $1 trillion in US government debt. [16]

E6) According to Pew, China is currently the most optimistic nation in the world in regards to its economic situation, higher than the US, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Brazil, India, and Mexico [17]. This debunks CON's ridiculous thesis about economic instability.

E7) The economic similarities to Japan are NOT clear. Japan was a leading economy when it entered its lost decades. China still has very far to go in order to simply "catch up" to the rest of the world. All it has to do is apply best practices from around the world, which it has and continually does so. It will continue to outpace global growth averages while doing so.

E8) The list goes on and is nearly endless. Bottom line, China is already challenging US economic hegemony. China's current per capita income is less than 1/4 of the US. If they only reach half the US number, they will become a larger economy than the US and all of Europe COMBINED. CON will have to somehow argue that this will not occur, that an average Chinese will not be able to become only half as wealthy as an average American, especially when formerly totalitarian dictatorships like South Korea and Taiwan have already done so.


Political Hegemony

P1) "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." - Mao Zedong [18]. Most people can agree that the primary purpose of a government is to provide security for its populace.

P2) CON makes the false assertion that the "limitations [of Chinese ground forces] were demonstrated during the Korean War." The Korean War is interesting. It coincided with Mao's ascension to power in China. His mandate was not clear, his position not certain. That the Chinese withstood the military might of the world's most dominant power - something it had not been able to do for 100 years prior since contact with the West (China, [1]), cemented Mao's near-deity-like status in China, one which still stands today in Tiananmen Square. This status survived subsequent monumental miscalculations like the Great Leap Forward [1] and the Cultural Revolution [1]. For the significance of the Korean War, refer to P1. We refer to the Korean War as the Forgotten War. In China, it is the opposite.

Mao's portrait hangs on the Tiananmen Gate, the entrance to the Forbidden City.

Source: http://cf.juggle-images.com...


Mao's Mausoleum is the centerpiece of the Square proper:

Source: http://frontpsych.com...

P3) China has a nuclear deterrent. MAD (mutually assured destruction) is on the table in any military conflict with China. Anyone, including the US, has had and will have to continue to think twice in an engagement with China. For the significance of the nuclear deterrent, refer to P1.

P4) Through its economy, China will build a modern military. It now has the production capacity (E3), and steel and aluminum are primary components for building a modern military (E4). It can now afford to do so (E1, E2, E5, E8). This demonstrates the shallowness of CON's military analysis in how it only looks at current military strength, as opposed to trends in military development. This debate is about future trends, not just current ability.

China has shot down in-orbit satellites [19]. China is the largest cyber-security threat to the US [20]. China is building a blue-water navy to eventually challenge American naval supremacy [21]. Will the US or China risk a nuclear war over naval conflicts? If not, then China will assert its coastal boundaries with a navy that will overpower others in the region and more than likely force the US to think twice about defending its allies in the region.

For the significance of the Chinese military, refer to P1.

P4) The US won the Cold War against the USSR because demographically, the US was much larger than the USSR. Demographically, China is more than four times the size of the US. For the significance of another potential Cold War conflict, see P1.

P5) CON is attempting to equivocate on the meaning of "occupy", how it means "provisional control over a foreign area,"which he claims is "a highly misleading term when applied to modern American dominion." This is EXACTLY how it applies to American troops occupying other countries. We have a permanent presence on foreign soil. Our troops enjoy extraterritorial rights afforded by SOFA (status of forces agreements) with host countries, which makes our troops largely immune to foreign law. "Most SOFAs are written so that national courts cannot exercise legal jurisdiction over U.S. military personnel who commit crimes against local people, except in special cases where the U.S. military authorities agree to transfer jurisdiction." [22] For the significance of occupying bases, see P1.

What this means is that as China develops its military capacity, it will challenge the viability of US military bases especially in Japan, South Korea, and SE Asia, and to a much lesser extent Australia and New Zealand. China's potential cultural connection with the Middle east will further strain the tenuous viability of military bases in that region.

I am out of room. I further reserve the right to rebut CON's round #2 and #3 assertions.

[8] http://tinyurl.com...
[9] http://tinyurl.com...
[10] http://www.columbia.edu...
[11] http://tinyurl.com...
[12] http://tinyurl.com...
[13] http://tinyurl.com...
[14] http://tinyurl.com...
[15] http://tinyurl.com...
[16] http://tinyurl.com...
[17] http://tinyurl.com...
[18] http://tinyurl.com...
[19] http://tinyurl.com...
[20] http://tinyurl.com...
[21] http://tinyurl.com...
[22] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Eitan_Zohar

Con

I thank my opponent for his reply and will now deconstruct his argument.

Cultural Hegemony

Pro claims in regard to cultural hegemony that causation, in the sense of how economics, politics, society, and culture relate to each other, is irrelevant. This is ridiculous; his argument has everything to do with that. An Islamic China (which he has yet to demonstrate is even a remote possibility in the next century) will not make much difference if the interests of the of the regime and the population are incongruent with a Pan-Islamic alliance.

In response to his examples, none of them prove a broad assertion that the world is politically divided by religion or culture. Each one may have been motivated by religion, but they were brought into action for political and economic purposes. Pro must prove that all of these are solely the result of cultural factors, and that politics plays a minimal role in these interactions. Indeed, he seems to be under the impression that I don't think religion plays any role in international relations, which of course is impossible.

Pan-Arabism, which my opponent misinterprets, was a political agenda that used ideology only as a tool. We did not, for instance, see Nasser supporting unification with Morrocco or Mauritania, despite them both being ethnolinguistically Arab nations. It was impossible to form a unified political structure over such a vast distance. Pan-Arabism and radical Islam are products of the disunity and percieved Western aggression in the Levant, Mesapotamia, and Arabia. It is not belief systems that create political and social structures, but the other way around! The people and government of China, even if they converted to Islam, could not possibly share an ideological or strategic outlook with the people and governments of the Middle East, given how fundamentally different the geopolitics, economies and mentalities of the two regions are. Pro has completely ignored the examples I gave in the previous round. He cannot simply assert that culture and ideology control foreign relations- he absolutely has the full burden to prove this extraordinary claim.

Economic Hegemony

Pro asserts that since China's purchasing power parity is almost as high as the United State's, China must have an economy as good as the United States. This is not at all true. Recall that in R2 I demonstrated that China's growth was dependent on exports, limiting its ability to use that strength. No country can simply decide to allocate all of its concrete to build nuclear bunkers or have all its factories produce guns because the government feels like it. China's economic flexibility, however, is even more limited as its export-driven growth must stabilize the regime.

It is consequently
dependent upon the United States and the Western world as its buyers, meaning even low tariffs imposed in those countries could severely harm China and that gives the US much more leverage in economic affairs than Pro believes: [1.http://www.bloomberg.com...]).

Furthermore, I pointed out that China's growth was artificially stimulated by the government in order to prevent domestic instability, and as such it does not generate much real wealth. Pro
completely ignored this critical point. The fact that China's export have an average profit margin of 1.8% illustrates this quite nicely. Some have also argued very convincingly that the size and health of China's economy is being exaggerated by the data: [2.http://www.heritage.org...].

Pro also claims that China being the world's largest producer of metals and automobiles makes it a threat. This is nonsense on stilts. I have already explained
why China cannot simply do whatever it wants with its resources; it must funnel them into products for the US and Europe.

The fact that the Chinese population is confident in the Chinese economy tells us nothing about its actual health and certainly does not have anything to do with my argument. I have no idea why Pro brought it up.

South Korea's and Taiwan's growth was facilitated by the United State's policy of free trade and their economies are much healthier than China's. They also do not have the enormous domestic stability problem that China has. And again, Pro has entirely ignored my critique of China's growth as I showed that their domestic consumption was extremely low.

Political Hegemony

The Korean War was not China "withstanding" the might of the US by any measure. It was a purely limited-scale war in the Korean peninsula. The war was fought close to the Chinese mainland, and even so, the logistical and technological limitations of the Chinese military severely handicapped them, giving them four times more casualties than the UN troops took. Their army is more advanced today, but my points still stands that the Chinese ground army is not designed for power projection.

While China does indeed have a nuclear deterrent, this is only useful in the event that the US military would pose an existential threat to China and so is irrelevant to my case.

I have no idea what Pro is talking about when he claims that China's steel and aluminum will allow it to build a modern military. Building an advanced navy, army, and air force is much more than simply having the materials to do so. It isn't as if the United States's military buildup has been slowed because of any lack of metals. And did I not do an analysis of China's future military potential in my last round?

Pro notes that China conducted an anti-satellite test. This is true, but it tells us nothing about China's capability to shoot down America's military and intelligence satellites, as well as the defenses they may have. The publicly available information on this is extremely limited. Information on cyber security is even more difficult to come by- for all we know, the recent exposure of hacking by the Chinese military is simply due to the incompetence of their program.

My opponent also claims that China is building an advanced blue-water navy, and his source only gives examples of anti-piracy operations undertaken by their ships and their goal of having a fully-developed navy by 2050. However, anti-piracy operations do not inform us about the actual strength of the Chinese navy. 2050 is far past the date that I predict China will enter a crisis and fragment, and so this is only applicable if we accept Pro's assertion that China will keep on growing and getting more powerful.

Furthermore, note that, once again, Pro completely ignored every single one of my R3 points! While he says he "reserves the right" to rebut them later, he seems to be making arguments about the exact same subjects that I did. He needs to address my arguments directly if he wants to be able to make any sort of case for Chinese hegemony. That having been said, I don't think it's wise to argue so many points you have to fit them across two rounds, especially when I can go on the offensive myself.

One last note- provisional control means that the army is in charge of the occupied space and physically controls it. As I pointed out, if the country irrationally chose to expell the troops from their soil, the US would be unable to respond. They do not do so because of the political control the US has over them. Any further discussion
should be done in the comment section as it is entirely irrelevant to the debate and wastes valuable character space.

Thus far, my opponent has made bare assertions with insufficient sourcing about China's military (while I gave descriptive analysis), posited an entirely conjectural cultural attachment to its neighboring countries and the Middle East which is not even remotely evidential, ignored basic facts about how China's economy works, and the burden to refute my all of my own arguments now rests on him. I hope that the next round will be more productive.

Thank you to my opponent and the audience.
wrichcirw

Pro

- CON's quotes in italics (same as in round #3, apologies)
- Sources continued from round #2 and #3


Rebuttal


Before I continue with my rebuttal, I will lay out a general framework for many of my points, and what I anticipate to be future points made by CON:

Projection: 8. Psychology - The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or suppositions to others
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

I will demonstrate how many of CON's points, and many of which I anticipate CON to make in the future, will be instances of CON projecting his hopes upon himself, and his fears upon others (in this case China).

I will also link my rebuttals to the various points I made in rounds #2 and #3. (C1-C7), (E1-E8), (P1-P5)

------

R2) On causation, CON is attempting to engage in a semantics argument to detract from his lack of a case. We are evaluating cultural hegemony as a separate parameter from political and economic hegemony. CON does not and cannot contest the monolithic aspects of China's cultural dominance (C1-C7) within its regional influence. This dominance will threaten US attempts to establish cultural hegemony in East Asia, especially in countries like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.

I need not prove that "culture and ideology control foreign relations" - this is CON attempting to strawman by changing the parameters of this debate. I only need to prove that China will assert its culture and ideology within the region, which I did by demonstrating how nearly ALL of East Asia and SE Asia still share cultural traditions that have a foundation and home in China, and how even in the case of a strongly anglicized country like Singapore [1], these Chinese cultural aspects are now re-asserting themselves. (C1)

I do not know why CON is attempting to argue that culture causes politics, or vice versa. That is simply not what this debate is about.

-

R3) CON's exceptionally weak economic case rests on one word: exports. Apparently CON thinks that exports are bad for an economy. First of all, this line of thinking is absolutely ridiculous. A strong export economy means that the products from the exporter find a ready and willing global audience for its products. There is no stronger statement of the viability and veracity of a domestic economy than to be able to also export goods made at home. Germany and Japan are also examples of strong export economies.

I am also very disappointed that CON did not bother to read the voluminous sources I cited last round. Otherwise, he would have learned something, which is ostensibly his purpose for challenging me on this debate. When China overtook America in autos (E3), most of the production was for domestic consumption:
  • "December sales of passenger cars, trucks and buses rose 92 percent to 1.4 million. For the whole of 2009, passenger-car sales rose 53 percent to 10.3 million." [12]

Indeed, Chinese auto market is a prime example of other countries investing (i.e. exporting capital) in China:

  • "GM and Volkswagen have targeted growing Chinese demand to compensate for slumping sales in the U.S.andEurope."
  • "GM, the biggest overseas automaker in China, said on Jan. 4 that its Chinese sales rose 67 percent last year to a record 1.83 million vehicles." [12]

Bottom line, simplistic analysis like CON's "exports are bad" argument simply do not capture the complexity of world trade. The more vibrant an economy, the more vibrant the trade. Again, China leads the world in trade now (E2). It can only do so with exports AND imports.

-

R4) On stimulus, CON is clearly projecting here. The US stimulus was (and is) several orders of magnitude larger than anything China put out, and was also ostensibly for the same purpose of preventing "domestic instability". If you include the ongoing numbers from the Fed, US stimulus would easily top $3 trillion [23]. Why CON singles out China for stimulus and not the US or the rest of the world for that matter is beyond me.

-

R5) CON repeatedly makes bald and totally unsubstantiated assertions about supposed "domestic instability" and how it may result in a domestic Chinese conflict that "is purely [in the] economic domain and not the result of territorial or cultural differences."
This is another clear case of CON projecting his own fears upon China. CON would essentially have us NOT believe that the mere existence of the massive economic inequities between the 99% and the 1% (video #2, [24]) in the US pose an imminent threat to the stability of the US - instead, this type of imminent threat ONLY applies to China. He does not explain why he harbors such a bias.


I have explained that in China, things are good and looking better, not just to an investor, but to the Chinese themselves (E6). CON would rather have us believe in the preposterous notion that optimistic people are inherently unstable.

Until CON actually explains why he thinks China is "unstable", any more so than any other country that has economic inequality, I cannot argue the point. Why? Because CON does not have an argument in this regard - it is nothing but a bald assertion.

-

R6) CON makes another case of confused projection: "China...designed ground forces not for power projection but rather to ensure domestic stability...defense for an invasion of the Chinese homeland"

Madlibs time - replace "China" with "US", and you will get a very popular stance on the purpose of ground forces in the US. This logic is simply not unique to China. In my realist framework, our "domestic stability" requires us to pursue hegemony. So will China's.

-

R7) CON would have us believe that South Korea and Japan do not trade with China, and that ONLY the US "policy of free trade" (whatever that means) is responsible for those countries' successes. South Korea and Japan trade more with China than with the US [25] [26]. Even Australia trades more with China than with the US. [27]

-

R8) CON does not have a credible argument against my assertion that the Chinese withstood potential US aggression along the Yalu River (China's border with Korea) during the Korean War. Nothing he notes about casualties or technology changes the simple fact that China withstood the world's preeminent military force in that conflict. For the US, we would rather forget the war. For China, the results are enshrined in the pictures I posted of Tiananmen Square. (P1, P2)

-

R9) I fully agree with CON that "building an advanced navy, army, and air force is much more than simply having the materials to do so." I have easily demonstrated that China also has the political will (P1-P3) and the economic foundation (E1-E4, E7, E8) to do so.

CON seems to be continually handicapped by looking at the current military situation, and seems to be unable to look at trends, which is the primary purpose of this debate - to consider potential long-term threats to American strategic interests. The trends clearly demonstrate that China will approach, if not surpass, US military power, especially in the East Asian region (P5). China has come a long way from poor, starving peasants led by Mao.

Am I ignoring CON's case? No, not at all. Instead, I am pointing out that CON has no real credible case for the long-term. I have debunked his military argument completely by pointing to the rapid modernization of the Chinese military (P4). and how this trend simply does not show any sign of abating.

Again, this debate is not about a gladiatorial grudge match between the US and Chinese militaries TODAY. It is about strategy GOING FORWARD. CON does not seem to understand this purpose inherent in his own resolution.

------

Finally, I would like to add that just because a threat exists, does not make the source of the threat "evil".

I wish my rebuttal was more substantive, but it is a rebuttal to the substance of CON's arguments, which I found lacking.

[23] http://tinyurl.com...
[24] http://tinyurl.com...
[25] http://tinyurl.com...
[26] http://tinyurl.com...
[27] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 4
Eitan_Zohar

Con

I thank Pro for his response.

Cultural Hegemony


R2) Pro starts off his round by engaging in further semantics and attempts to duck the issue. During the previous rounds I argued that Pro had to show
how culture affected foreign relations- that two countries having the same belief system necessarily strengthened relations. While it might be true that being virtually the same ethnolinguistic group has fostered relations between countries such as America and Britain, Pro gives zero explanation as to how Taoism or Buddhism will have a noticable effect on foreign relations because he hasn't told us how they effect anything! I gave examples of culturally and religiously similar countries being at odds with each other and he has not responded to them whatsoever. In addition, Pro once again gives zero evidence for his ad hoc assumption that Islam could assimilate the largest country on Earth within a few decades when they currently make up 2% of the population. The point goes to Con.

Economic Hegemony

R3) Pro claims that my case was that exports are bad. I'll pause for a second so that the readers can scroll up and and see my argument.

When they're done laughing, I'll explain now that I claimed China does not have a true free market, and that the government has artificially inflated exports in order to facilitate growth, meaning that little real wealth is being created. I gave numerous details to prove my point (such as the extraordinarily low profit margins that the Chinese are getting of these exports). He has not responded to or acknowledged one iota of my case.

Pro then argues that China's domestic consumption is doing fine (despite the very clear GDP statistic I gave proving otherwise) because they have a large market for cars. However, it makes quite a bit of sense that this is the case- developed countries such as the US have enough cars for their populations already, while China has almost ten times fewer cars per capita then the US does [1.http://en.wikipedia.org...]. Shortages create demand, and the auto companies start selling in China. That's how supply and demand works. The point goes to Con.

R4) My argument has been completely strawmanned here. My source did not say that China's economy was doing badly because of their stimulus package (or whatever Pro interpreted it as), my source said that China's stimulus package in response to what apparently seemed to be a slight slowdown in growth was inconsistent with the official data and thus their economy was not doing as well as most believe. I encourage the readers to actually look at the source and see if he refuted anything in it: [2.http://www.heritage.org...] The point goes to Con.

R5) Pro asserts that since the US has economic inequalities as well as China, it makes no sense for me to posit that China is unstable because of it if the US isn't as well. However this fails because:

1. Con engages in an equivocation between percentages and actual wealth. While China and America both have massive income inequality gaps, America's poor simply have a much higher standard of living than China's poor.

2. The Chinese income gap varies across regions. This makes those regions have different interests and the government has to balance these out in order to maintain control.

3. The Chinese do not have a unifying ideology the same way Americans do. For all of its propaganda, China has historically had numerous problems retaining power even among its own population [3.http://en.wikipedia.org...]. As I said, the government buys popularity with mass employment and continuing growth.

My point about income inequality was not as simplistic as Pro makes it out to be.

Pro then claims that "CON would rather have us believe in the preposterous notion that optimistic people are inherently unstable." This is a bastardization of my argument to such a degree that it is ridiculous. My point was that the fact that China's population is confident does not necessarily mean that they are right to be confident in China's economy any more than the investors were right to be optimistic about the US's housing market in 2006. Estimating the long term-strength of an economy is not done by asking random people how they feel. I urge Pro to drop this for his own good.

R6) I am not referring to propaganda or public opinion. I am referring to the actual capabilities of the military. My point about China's ground forces remains true- they were always designed for domestic security, and the continued instability of the country will force them to remain suited for that purpose and make it harder for them to allocate funds for power projection. Fragile states do not create empires. The point goes to Con.

R7)
Recall that in the last round Pro used examples of successful Asian economies as evidence that China could follow the same path. I pointed out the differences between them (which have been ignored by Pro) and I also claimed that the US boosted their economies with free trade agreements- not in the present day, but during their economic miracles! Once again, Pro has completely misinterpreted my statement. The point goes to Con.

Political Hegemony

R8) I don't have a credible response? Really? As I have said, the US cannot invade China directly and never could. My entire purpose in bringing up the Korean War was to highlight the limitations that the PLA has always had, and that even in neighboring countries like Korea they needed massive forces in order to hold off overseas invaders. Whether or not this is a propaganda victory for the Chinese has little to do with my point. This, once again, goes to Con.

R9) I did argue against China's long term prospects for a military. As I said, China's ground forces are designed to occupy and stabilize the country, and are irrelevant to any potential war in the Pacific. I pointed out how weak and small China's air force was, whereas the United State's air force is the most sophisticated in the world and has support of the air forces of its allies. I also highlighted the enormous time it takes to build aircraft carriers and train human resources. As far as I can see, he has not responded to anything I said, while I directly rebutted his own claims about China's military in the previous round!

Conclusion

Pro claimed at the beginning of his round that I was "projecting" my own fears onto China and my hopes onto America. Has that claim been substantiated? These criticism have often been turned on their head by my opponent who claims that my argument consisted of basic assertions such as "exports are bad" or "inequality will lead to instability" and then refuting them thus, whereas they really were substantial, detailed objections that have not been touched throughout the debate. My claims of economic and political instability were, as I showed, very different from the problems America faces. My military analysis from Round 3 has not even been mentioned despite his repeated assertions that I am not looking at future trends, even though I repeated myself in Round 4.

Arguments: Pro thoroughly ignored my case and was unable to concoct direct refutations of my points, failing to answer my questions about how religion would give China hegemony over its neighbors, my detailed claims about China's overblown economy, China's power projection, and the fundamental geostrategic advantages the US has over China in the region.

Conduct: As of this writing neither of us has committed any egregious violation of conduct.

S/G: Both of us have had adequate spelling and grammar.

Sources: The quality of source material should be left to the discrepancy of the voters.

As I have undoubtedly fulfilled my burden while my opponent's arguments fail to respond to my case, I strongly urge a vote toward Con. Thanks to wrichcirw for this debate and thanks to the audience for reading!
wrichcirw

Pro

Firstly, I thank CON for this debate, and I applaud CON's efforts to learn more about this topic, and hope this debate and the ideas within it give him a fresh perspective upon which to do further research. (video)


- CON's quotes in italics (same as in round #3, apologies)
- Sources continued from round #2 and #3
- Links are to the various points I made in rounds #2, #3 and #4. (C1-C7), (E1-E8), (P1-P5), (R1-R9)


Closing



Cultural Hegemony


C8) CON does not contest that China has a gigantic preponderance of cultural traditions (C1-C3, C5-C7) that have influenced many in the region. CON instead repeatedly attempts to link culture to politics. I have repeatedly not only demonstrated that this link is self-evident (Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, the mere existence of the state of Israel), but have also repeatedly reminded CON and audiences that culture is its own separate parameter for evaluating hegemony. Countries would gravitate to traditions that happen to be Chinese, not because of the political entity that is China, but because the cultural traditions that compel them happen to have a home in China.

Similarly, the West is greatly influenced by Judaic traditions. No one would say that Judaism or the state of Israel has a political hegemony over the West...this would be absolutely ridiculous. But a cultural hegemony? This is much more believable. Again, cultural hegemony is its own separate parameter in this debate.

After the cultural void that was the Cultural Revolution, Chinese cultural traditions are reasserting themselves (C1), and will impact people that believe in these traditions going forward to the detriment of competing idealogies, such as a Judeo-Christian ethic. (C4) Cultural hegemony clearly goes to PRO.


Economic Hegemony


E9) CON would have us believe that there are such things as "artificially inflated exports". There is nothing artificial about economic activity (E1), nor the gigantic alleviation of poverty that has happened in China post-Mao [29] [30], nor China's being the world's largest trading nation (E2), a status dependent upon imports as well as exports (R3, R7).

What is truly artificial is foreign demand (i.e. nations that China is exporting to), which has been sustained only by egregious debt loads (E5). The West for the past 5 years has been attempting to rectify this wrong. Japan remains gleefully oblivious. Debt is a painful addiction.

All trade is contingent upon the willingness of both sides of the trade. Thus, trade is by its nature "free"...no one is forcing a party to trade with another...this would be extortion by definition, not trade. CON, along with most of the world, acknowledges that China trades, as opposed to extorts.

What then does CON mean exactly by the expression of "free trade"? This is doublespeak at its pinnacle of obfuscation. It simply means "trade within the 'free world'", i.e. trade within the West. All trade is free. Again, China is the world's largest trading nation. (E2, R7)

I could also continue that CON is again projecting here, and that agreements like the Plaza Accords [31] [32] [33] are clearly US attempts at extorting the population of Japan, that there was nothing "free" about such agreements, and that China may or may not have similar agreements with its own trading partners.

-

E10) CON does not contest that the Chinese stimulus was a fraction of that of the US, and that he is clearly projecting phantom fears of instability here. (R4)

-

E11) CON does not contest that there is income inequality in the US and in China (R5) and that such inequality is also regionally based in the US as well, thus making China as "unstable" as the US. The Gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality) [34] is almost the same in China as it is in America (0.4-0.45) - both countries have a lot more inequality than Denmark (below 0.25), and both have a lot less than South Africa (above 0.6).

CON does not contest that things are getting better in China, according to the Chinese. (E6, R5) This conforms to the goal of achieving a Pareto efficient notion of economics (Pareto, [1]) - that Chinese growth, while creating inequality, is still making even the poorest in their country better off. This type of growth mirrors US growth that preceded the Progressive era [35], which occurred only after the US had sufficiently urbanized.

-

E12) CON does not contest that China continues to grow and will overtake the US economically within 3 years (E1). CON may quibble about the IMF's numbers, but the trend is unmistakable - China will overtake the US in the near future. Economic hegemony clearly goes to PRO.


Political Hegemony


P6) CON does not contest the primary purpose of a government - to provide security for its populace, and that political power grows from winning armed conflicts. (P1) This is true regardless of culture - any government that does not conform to this purpose through coercion does not last very long.

China had well over 100 years of internal strife and losing wars that preceded Mao - the Opium Wars [1], the Taiping Rebellion [1], the Sino-French War (which resulted in the ceding of Indo-China to France) [1], the Boxer Rebellion (an attempt to eliminate foreign influence from the Qing government) [1], the collapse of the Qing Dynasty [1], the failure of Yuan Shih-Kai [1] in establishing his own dynasty, the failure of Sun Yat-sen [1] in establishing a Republic, and the failure of his protégé Chiang Kai-shek [1] in doing the same. During these 100 years, China was carved via extraterritoriality [1] between non-hegemonic Western powers, endured decades of civil war (C7), and fought off Japanese coastal aggression - these are the main reasons for the continual regionalistic strife 100 years prior, and especially in regards to the coastal nature of the Sino-Japanese wars [1], why a hinterland peasant named Mao prevailed (C7).

Mao ended all this, and established a SECURE, unified polity. (P1) He asserted the integrity of China's borders through the Korean War. (P2) All of the misery that took place during Mao's entire tenure pales in comparison to just the Taiping Rebellion - an event that consumed more lives than all civilian AND military deaths suffered by Germany and Russia COMBINED during WWII. This establishment of a credible polity - that provided RELATIVE SECURITY for its populace - is why Mao is still enshrined and highly regarded in China, unlike say Pol Pot in Cambodia, or George W. Bush in America. His actions may seem justifiably monstrous if applied to US standards circa the 1950s, but compared to the 100 years of Chinese history prior to Mao, he's regarded as a saint.

From this political base comes the political will to establish hegemony. (P1-P3) Why? Because in my hegemonic framework (round #1, #2 introductions), which CON did not contest once in this entire debate, all nations seek hegemony to establish security for its populace. I have also established that China has the economic foundation to properly develop a modern military. (E1-E4, E7, E8) All China needs is time to develop, and for the purposes of this debate, time is on PRO's side. (P3) Political hegemony clearly goes to PRO.

-

P7) On CON's assertion that "China's ground forces are designed to occupy and stabilize the country" - play madlibs again, and replace the word "the" with "a". Then you realize that any occupying force can stabilize any country. (P5)


Conclusion


This debate is about China's long term prospects of challenging US hegemony culturally, economically, and politically. I needed to only demonstrate one case, and have instead demonstrated all three, especially in areas like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and even Australia and the Middle East. VOTE PRO, and thank you.


[28] (not used)
[29] http://tinyurl.com...
[30] http://tinyurl.com...
[31] http://tinyurl.com...
[32] http://tinyurl.com...
[33] http://tinyurl.com...
[34] http://tinyurl.com...
[35] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 5
89 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
lol, yours is the 4th "non-vote" that has gone my way. :/
Posted by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
Alright, I've been biting my tongue long enough here. I'm not going to vote because I don't have the stomach to read the whole debate, but I don't see how Pro could possibly lose this debate. China is clearly the biggest long term threat to the US, hands down. I mean who is a bigger threat?

What little I read of this debate, Con seems to be arguing that there are NO long-term threats to the US (since as I said China is clearly the biggest and Con argues they are no "serious" threat). If I know nothing about anything, then clearly China poses the largest threat due to sheer numbers, with India being right behind them. It seems to me that the arguments made against China here would have been better suited for an argument against India threatening US hegemony, not really China.

However, knowing that China is due to surpass the US's economy soon (in the next 5-10 years), it seems to me that the economic argument alone would support Pro's position.

I think the threat of Civil War in China is probably sort of true. However, I suspect it will more resemble the US's civil rights movement rather than the US's Civil War and other counties' Civil War. That is, it will likely be a political war, not an actual military war. There are inequities in China, no doubt, but it resembles inequities that ushered in the US's rise to dominance, so I don't see that, historically, as a convincing factor. I would argue that inequities are what have allowed China to thrive, much like they did for the US. It's the dealing with inequities that has crippled the US and will, eventually cripple China (unless something changes globally about how we see the role of government and the economy).

As for military mite. Yes, no one can match the US. However, the US is too diplomatic in how it uses its military. For instance, we could obviously wipe out China with our nuclear arsenal, but we won't. We cannot challenge China's sovereignty with our current morality when it comes to war.
Posted by frenchy39 4 years ago
frenchy39
Pooor Babies! Living in fear are we? Try controlling that emotion and you will live a more enjoyable life. And make more sense.
Posted by frenchy39 4 years ago
frenchy39
Pooor Babies! Living in fear are we? Try controlling that emotion and you will live a more enjoyable life. And make more sense.
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
Thaddeus
Hmm... wrichcirw won this, but unfortunately for him, it was close enough that I'd have to write a fairly lengthy RFD which I am quite simply far too lazy to type. Good effort chaps.
Posted by Yraelz 4 years ago
Yraelz
My mistake, I actually wrote it as 37% on the flow. I don't why I decided it was 33% while typing. This was a good round all in all. The analysis surpasses most debates on this website.
Posted by Yraelz 4 years ago
Yraelz
Political: This debate gets a little jumbled. I mention above (but below in the comments) that economics debate affects the political debate. This gives Con a head start. Ultimately when viewing the resolution I'm considering whether or not China constitutes a 'serious' long term threat. With that in mind I don't think that the PLA being capable of stopping the United States on the Chinese border while losing 4x more forces demonstrates this. Pro has great analysis about Mao being a hero and stopping the United States aggression. I agree with these points, but it doesn't demonstrate that China is a serious threat to American interests. To the contrary, I think the argument is in line with Con's analysis that China can defend their own border but cannot encroach on other's interests. The economics arguments precluding China from fully modernizing their military bolsters this story. Outcome: Pro doesn't give enough predictive analysis as to why China will be able to move beyond defending their own border. Con wins political hegemony via isolating the distinction between offensive and defensive.

Outcome of debate. Cultural Hegemony - Barely Pro. Economic Hegemony - Strongly Con. Political Hegemony - Mostly Con. Net - Con wins.
Posted by Eitan_Zohar 4 years ago
Eitan_Zohar
@Yraelz, it was 37%, not 33%.
Posted by Yraelz 4 years ago
Yraelz
I want to start this RFD by suggesting that you two should be making 'weight' arguments. I'm dissatisfied as critic who has to decide which form of hegemony is the most important. I also think it's strategically advantageous to argue things like, "even if I lose economic hegemony, political hegemony is more important because blah blah blah..."

Cultural Hegemony: I think this debate mostly becomes a wash. My rational is that the arguments presented in round 2 are mostly repeated throughout rounds 3-5. In my opinion there is not a great deal of additional analysis. However, I will give Pro some weight in "like minded religious views facilitate alliances."

Economic Hegemony: There are two arguments here that a really key and end up interacting with the political debate. In round 2 Con argues that only 33% of China's economy is comprised of domestic consumption. He then argues that because their economy is so export dependent they can't simply reallocate resources in order to build a high tech military. Compounding this problem is the fact that small trade tarrifs can reek havoc on China. Pro says that most of China's trade goes to S.K., Japan, and Australia. However, Con already articulated that those countries are strong allies with the U.S. Outcome: China can't modernize their military and is at the economic mercy of the U.S. if they attempted to.

Second, the heritage source that Pro cites is doing work. It articulates that China's economic numbers don't make sense in light of China's economic policy. The source, and Con, states that China's economic numbers are false... Which makes the debate awfully one sided on this issue when Pro keeps citing china's economic numbers. The validity of the numbers is a prior question. The profit margin (a factor of companies and not the government) is therefor an indication that China's economy is not at all healthy. Outcome: Economics flows Con -- A chance for collapse exists, and military is precluded.
Posted by Eitan_Zohar 4 years ago
Eitan_Zohar
Look, can we stop this? We aren't supposed to argue outside of the debate.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Eitan_ZoharwrichcirwTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Very strongly debated from both sides. My opinion on this falls closely in-line with Yraelz. Cultural hegemony didn't much sway me one way or the other, but I find myself siding with Con on both his arguments on economics and politics. China, for all its economic development, is strongly dependent on the nations it exports to, and losing those ties would drastically cripple China as a threat. Pro gave a strong case for China's defense capabilities, but that falls significantly short of establishing China's ability to push out into other countries, especially considering the previous argument about China's dependency on other nations.
Vote Placed by rross 4 years ago
rross
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro won this mostly on the economics, IMO. That China is a dominating, growing economy is such an accepted idea (and shown by Pro) that this is the main point that Con needed to counter. I was unconvinced by his arguments that the economic success of China is artificial, inflated and too dependent on exports. Easily dismissed by Pro. The idea of the Chinese, en masse, adopting Islam seems far-fetched. Probably, Con should have spent less time rebutting this point and more time on the economic arguments. I disagree that the Andale Mono font looks better ; it's harder to read (didn't influence my vote, though). Sources. In Round 4, Con wrote "some have also argued very convincingly that the size and health of China's economy is being exaggerated by the data" but the link didn't work. Anyway, I don't think you should let the sources argue for you. Con seems to rely on sources which are no more than opinion pieces.
Vote Placed by Yraelz 4 years ago
Yraelz
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm going to put my rational in the comments because I think it will be longer than 1000 characters and also I would like to format it beyond what this little box allows. Summarized though I think con wins Economic and Political Hegemony while Cultural Hegemony is mostly a wash.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
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Reasons for voting decision: Good job to both Pro and Con for presenting well-researched, well thought-out cases. Since I had no previous opinion on this issue, I'm giving arguments to purely who convinced me. Well, there were three different dimensions to this debate -- China's political hegemony, cultural hegemony, and/or economic hegemony. It was no contest who won the cultural hegemony point -- Con. I think his historical analysis of European religious relations (Catholic/Protestant) was pretty convincing in how he applied it to Asian relations, since it was almost the same concept. Next, economic hegemony was Pro's -- Pro's external statistics concerning China's trade (particularly China being the largest trading nation in the world) were far more convincing than Con's internal arguments about China's economic policy. That leaves us with political hegemony. However, I found Con's current statistics on the Chinese military superior to Pro's survey of its history. Good job both, but I give arguments to Con.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
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Reasons for voting decision: I agree with F-16's RFD, and I don't really see any reason to repeat what's already been said. The military/economic aspect of Con's argument was the most convincing though I think there was some implicit disparity between pro and con as to what constituted a threat. Interesting debate, that both sides argued in a fashion that was fairly novel in analysis and perspective to follow.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 4 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Comment #47
Vote Placed by Raisor 4 years ago
Raisor
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
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Reasons for voting decision: Con has a very poor sense of time and focuses too much on China's capabilities in the present. The dismissal of cultural hegemony is embarrassing as well. It's as if he believes people are mechanical robots rather than psychological beings. I suppose he hasn't heard of cultural imperialism from globalization either, something which many third world countries are trying to escape and blame on the West.