How the tale of King Cnut helps explain today's US-China showdown - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

How the tale of King Cnut helps explain today's US-China showdown

Questions about whether the "great power rivalry" between the United States and China will lead to war have been on the agenda for some time. Tensions escalated during U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this month. The United States of America continues to provoke China on a regular basis through Taiwan.

Military analysts say that the expected war between the two largest military and economic powers in the world will involve the entire region and will take a long time. It is known that the United States of America and China are the two major nuclear powers. Analysts point out that in the event of war, it is likely that the two powers will use nuclear options, regardless of the devastation that may result.

It has been argued for many years that the "mutual assured destruction" theory would prevent a nuclear war. According to some analysts, this theory may not be entirely valid in the upcoming war between the United States and China.

The voices of those who assert that a new world war or nuclear war is not possible in the twenty-first century are now much weaker than before.

Since the United States regards China as an existential threat, and China is preparing or is expected to equip itself according to this description, war is a possibility at any time. In this context, analysts often refer to the First World War. Before 1914, no one believed that the imperialist rivalry between Germany and Britain would lead to a world war. When the war began, it was expected to be short-lived, both locally and regionally.

Of course, there are strategists in the United States who argue that China will not risk a war with the United States. The American historian and strategist, Edward Luttwak, is one of the proponents of this view.

Luttwak expressed his views through his tweets, which he posted between July and August. Luttwak's hypothesis is that China, the world's most populous country, depends on the outside for food sources. According to Luttwak, the sanctions imposed on Russia do not put it at risk of starvation, but rather put China at risk. This prevents China from going to war. For this reason, Luttwak says, "Nothing the People's Republic of China says can deter us."

Luttwak points out that China is the first country in the world in importing foodstuffs, pointing out that China ranks first among countries that import animal feed from the United States, Canada, Australia, and the European Union. Accordingly, the G7 sanctions harm Russia, but do not stop it; Because Russia has its own strategic stockpile of food and energy. Luttwak believes that the war scenarios in China, which do not enjoy these advantages, are a kind of fantasy and illusion.

Noting that there is a large amount of rice in China's warehouses, Luttwak said, "But rice is not a protein." Luttwak explained that China imports 150 million tons of protein annually, pointing out that the sanctions of the Group of Seven countries could cut off China's supply of protein from the source without the need to impose a blockade.

For this reason, China is no Russia; Because it imports its protein from the United States of America and its allies, so it cannot go to war. Any action that leads to the imposition of G7 sanctions will put China at risk of starvation.

Luttwak also emphasized that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was making empty threats and cannot go to war against the United States and Japan. Luttwak does not rule out the possibility of China using force against the U.S. but stresses that it would be suicidal to do so.

Confidence that China cannot afford to go to war under current conditions may lead the United States to move more comfortably against Beijing. Retreating could be psychologically difficult for China, which claims to be a superpower like the United States. This is because China was humiliated by Western powers in the nineteenth century. So feeling broken can also be a reason to start a war.

Here's an interesting tale that tells the story of Cnut the Great, King of Britain, Denmark, and Norway, known as "the most influential king in Anglo-Saxon history." According to the legends, Cnut, tired of his entourage's constant saying: "Your Majesty, you are capable of all things, and there is nothing you cannot do." And one day Cnut came to the seashore carrying his throne, and after they had set his throne on the seashore, he set his feet on the sand, and though he commanded the seawater at every wave not to touch him, he could not avoid getting wet. Rather, the water level rose so high that the waters swallowed Cnut and his throne. And behold, Cnut, who had narrowly escaped drowning, smiled at his entourage, who were waiting in great fear, saying, "It seems that I do not have the strength that you think I have."


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