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CSIS Lunatics Advocate Deploying Privateers against China’s Commerce

May 4, 2020 (EIRNS)—The depths of sheer lunacy to which the anti-China war party is descending is demonstrated in a pair of articles that were published in the April issue of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings advocating the resurrection of privateering—seizing China’s merchant ships—as a weapon against China, even in peacetime! The first article in April is by Col. Mark Cancian (USMC, ret.) and Brandon Schwartz, both associated with the Center for the Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. The second article, by Schwartz alone, argues that privateering is legal under both U.S. law and international law. “Privateering, authorized by letters of marque, could offer a low-cost tool to enhance deterrence in peacetime and gain advantage in wartime,” Cancian and Schwartz opened the first article. “It would attack an asymmetric vulnerability of China, which has a much larger merchant fleet than the United States. Indeed, an attack on Chinese global trade would undermine China’s entire economy and threaten the regime’s stability.”

Cancian and Schwartz’s make clear their objective is to have the capability to destabilize China and its population of 1.5 billion people. “China has aggressively expanded its global economic and diplomatic influence through its Belt and Road Initiative, but this expansion creates a vulnerability, as these investments must be protected. Chinese vulnerability goes deeper. China’s economy has doubled in the past 15 years, driven by exports carried in Chinese hulls. Thirty-eight percent of its gross domestic product comes from trade, against only 9% of U.S. GDP. Chinese social stability is built on a trade-off: The Chinese Communist Party has told the people they will not have democratic institutions, but they will receive economic prosperity.”

China’s merchant fleet, they report, is about nine times larger than that of the U.S. “This asymmetric vulnerability gives the United States a major strategic advantage. The threat privateering poses to the Chinese economy—and hence the Communist Party—could provide the United States with a major wartime advantage and enhance peacetime deterrence, thus making war less likely.” Like many U.S. so-called strategists these days, they ignore the old military maxim that the enemy gets a vote, and the Chinese would certainly respond in some way were the U.S. to actually adopt such a policy.

Indeed, the Chinese Defense Ministry has taken note of these articles. Ministry spokesman Senior Col. Wu Qian, in a May 1 news release called the idea “an act of piracy.... These actions are criminal activities explicitly prohibited under international laws, and will absolutely receive joint opposition and a severe backlash from the international community,” he said. Wu said that publicly endorsing piracy had exposed the authors’ hegemonic ideas and law-of-the-jungle mentality, “and the international community should be on guard against these thoughts.”

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