Commentary: US withdrawal from Afghanistan puts an end to China’s free play on international security
With growing interests abroad and unstable, ungoverned areas near China’s western border, the math for Chinese security interventions may change.
And for the first time in modern history, with rapidly developing power projection capabilities, China is able to export security beyond its borders.
The last time China went to war was in 1979, with Vietnam, just four years after the fall of Saigon and the equally dramatic withdrawal of the United States.
Then, the instability on the Chinese border with the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the invasion by Vietnam of its neighbor inspired an operation to punish Hanoi.
It remains to be seen whether the US withdrawal from Afghanistan will be followed by a similar Chinese adventurism. The country’s economic interests are few there, except for a concession on a $ 4 billion copper mine in Mes Aynak, the second in the world, blocked for a decade.
And while Beijing is keen that Afghanistan under the Taliban does not become a training ground for extremists or, more importantly, Uyghur separatist militants, it has proactively and diplomatically engaged with the Taliban to get assurances on this fact.
However, it is now clear to Beijing that in Afghanistan, as elsewhere in the world, it must increasingly shoulder this security burden itself. His free round has ended.
Christian Le Miere is a foreign policy advisor and founder and CEO of Arcipel, a London-based strategic consulting firm.