Here is the bearish perspective on China. Short version: the real estate market will drag down the country’s economy. He thinks he’s being generous. If the reality is south of that, watch out. Is there any scenario in which a diversionary war is the optimal strategy for Chinese leaders? I doubt it. Nonetheless, isn’t that the most likely scenario that leads to a US-China clash in the medium term?
More interesting news on China: an admittedly weakly sourced post at World Affairs suggests that civil-military relations in China may have taken another turn for the worse. But is there any real fire behind this smoke (that seems to be eluding the senses of the MSM):
According to a report, around New Year’s day officers in two Chinese air force units were arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup. At the same time, a nuclear submarine on patrol was ordered back to port because some on board were thought to have links with the plotters. This report, circulated on Sunday on a China-watching listserv, remains unconfirmed. This rumor could be linked in some fashion to the detention last month of Colonel Tan Linshu, of the Chinese navy, for subversion.
A coup at first glance seems inconceivable, but there has been an evident erosion in civilian control of the Chinese military in recent years. The most important manifestation of this breakdown is that colonels and flag officers have begun openly criticizing civilian leaders and are now speaking out on matters once considered the exclusive province of diplomats.
On the real estate piece, HT: MR.