Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, December 21st, 2018 - 287 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, China, class war, Deep stuff, economy, Economy, infrastructure, International, Spying - Tags: china, huawei, Spying
By my estimation, the American century started at the end of World War 1. It’s reached its end morally with the election of Donald Trump and financially with the ceaseless rise of the Asian economies from the 1960’s onwards. It was a hell of a ride, America, but your time is up.
We live in new times; this is the Chinese century now. The rules are very different now and they aren’t being written by Westerners. Democracy, as a concept and in practical terms, is looking mighty tired.
We might think that being able to elect politicians every few years is democracy, but that is a mere practical expression of the wider concept. In the west, we assume that expressing free will is something everyone cherishes. In truth, billions of people in this world live under brutal dictatorships and the majority really don’t mind.
We are very used to Russia pursuing it’s geo-political aims through aggressive border wars with its neighbours and the regular theft of territory. The old Cold war tactic of using proxies to prove points continues under Putin, with Syria just being the latest in a long line of countries where local conflicts are escalated to prove Russia is still important.
And of course, killing innocents abroad as part of their spying activities continues as usual, with the unfortunate Dawn Sturgess being the most recent victim of Kremlin mischief making.
But, for all Putin’s dreams, Russia is a spent force.
It’s China’s soft approach that will dominate the decades to come.
Xi Jinping has effectively appointed himself Emperor and there can be no doubt the One Belt, One Road program will extend the state capitalist nation’s influence. That massive infrastructure program is the visible public face of the new Chinese imperialism.
Harder to spot is the influence China is having on the internet. Today, it’s been revealed that a massive hacking program has been exposed. Two Chinese hackers have had warrants for their arrest posted and a handy new acronym has been exposed to the light.
That’s APT 10, the name given to the hacking team associated with the Chinese military.
There are many identified advanced persistent threats (APT) groups around the world, with North Korea leading the way.
APT 10’s claim to fame is it’s close links to the PLA and, by association, phone and telecommunication company Huawei.
The exposure of the hacking today is likely linked to the decisions in recent weeks for NZ to block Huawei’s access to our 5G network. That’s sensible in the circumstances, but like water flowing past a rock, the stream will always find a way.
Still, it’s nice that our participation in the Five Eyes program has some local benefit and if we can try to limit the snooping on our personal information to those we trust, such as the GCSB, the Police and, er, Google, I’m sure we’ll all have nothing to worry about in the short term.
But in the long term, we will have to deal with the fact that China is going to buy up the Pacific’s major infrastructure, much as it has in Africa. The way it does that is by offering apparently cheap loans, with particularly large fish hooks. Get behind in your payments and you don’t own your port anymore.
Frankly, I find this all a bit depressing, but drearily predictable. If we don’t care that we have a (former?) Chinese spy sitting in our Parliament, what will it take to get us really worried?