China's foreign policy activation is caused not so much by Beijing's desire as by the power vacuum due to the departure of the United States.
In the world now there is a set, at first glance, of the weakly related events. The political and economic construction of the United Europe, which seemed so promising for a long time, is cracking and threatening to collapse. The "western" Middle East is steadily demonstrating its own lack of ownership. The King of Saudi Arabia, practically with a direct request for foreign mediation, turned to Paris instead of Washington. In Syria, the case smelled of the Iran-Israel war.
But most of all, since 1945, the world began to change suddenly the accelerated expansion of China. That's just all of the above in reality has one common cause - the loss of America's ability to ensure its global hegemony.
It is officially believed that Beijing announced the program for the creation of foreign military bases simply because the Chinese so wanted, and because they can. Another popular version is the desire of the Celestial Empire with the help of weapons to provide insurance for its investments. A certain amount of truth in the "investment" version is really present, but only certain, as in the well-known aphorism about the connection between trees and wind.
Dollar vs Jena
Take, for example, the US-China trade relations. In fact, the US created the problem of its own balance of payments when they began to massively transfer their industrial production to China in the 80-ies. But now Washington is trying to behave as if it were the victim of an unprovoked and mean attack. And he does it in a very inconsistent form. That announces the forthcoming trade sanctions, then refuses them and reports on successful negotiations, then again imposes sanctions, then again hints at their readiness to cancel if they get a decent offer from Beijing.
In the end, in a purely cowboy manner, the US generally inflicts a direct insult to China about the events in Tiananmen Square almost thirty years ago. To demand explanations from the Chinese about the events in Tiananmen Square is like asking us to give a detailed account of why the Wehrmacht did not surrender in the first three months of the war.
However, like this, hysterically, one-sidedly, extremely inconsistently and, most importantly, the very short-term current US behaves everywhere and with everyone. In the Iranian "nuclear deal". In the Palestinian question. In NATO. In trade relations not only with the EU, but even with its key partner in NORAD - Canada. Thus, America has shown its inability to provide a balance of interests acceptable to everyone, and this is the basis for the recognition of hegemon as hegemon.
And most importantly, even publicly demonstrating indiscriminate egocentrism, the US clearly shows the unwillingness and unwillingness to "fight" for it. The leader of some northern part of a tiny and poor peninsula in Southeast Asia dared, in spite of the will of the hegemon, publicly acquire nuclear weapons. In the old days, US strategic aviation would have at least half a year ironed the North Korean mountains. Under its cover, the coast would have already been stormed by the American Marines. And do not care that at the price of it could be the transformation into radioactive ruins of the base on the island of Diego Garcia or even a couple of nuclear missiles at Honolulu. They would be shot down by ABM. Probably. And even if it had not been brought down, America's attitude to the issue would not have changed. Historical precedents have been. For that matter, the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, too, are not themselves attacked.
Johann Heinrich Fussli. Mad Kate. 1806-1807
But this time is long gone. In addition to their own wants, American elites have forgotten how to perceive anything. But they do not want to risk everything for them either. This created a vacuum in the world. With whom and about what to agree? Iran demanded from the EU guarantees on the "nuclear deal", but so far they have not received it. The CSA "asked" Paris to "influence" Qatar, also with an unknown result. The NATO Secretary General publicly informed Tel Aviv that he would not help Israel in the war with Iran. A dangerous chaos arose in the world, when no one knows the "generally accepted" rules and there is no one capable of forcing dissenters to observe them by force.
However, nature does not tolerate emptiness. International security mechanisms are needed, first of all, because everyone is interested in security. Today it turns out that the situation is drawn to Russia, the EU and China for the role of "the main on the planet". There is simply no one else. Russia, alas, is too small economically and too dependent technologically, although it has, at least, its own position. The European Union is rich enough, but it is also too weak and has no clear position of its own.
It turns out that only China needs the combination of factors at the moment. It is large enough economically so that it would be possible to effectively play with it in sanction games. He has quite sophisticated and numerous strategic nuclear forces, so that he could be really threatened with any kind of direct war. And he is quite determined to fight seriously if, in his opinion, "it will require something."
Beijing can not completely replace American hegemony all over the world. However, he does not claim power over the whole world. A fundamentally different culture. However, in Asia, which the Celestial Empire traditionally regards as its own, only it and nobody else can be the guarantor of international stability. So, any attempts by the Americans to prevent China from doing something there are doomed to failure.
Actually, this is already so clearly seen from the example of the history of the South China Sea. Separate ships of the US Navy are still trying to demonstrate something there, but it does not prevent the Chinese from continuing to develop military infrastructure there. A maximum of five to seven years, when the current shipbuilding program is over, Beijing will transfer the situation from de facto to de jure. And no one can stop him. Because there, under the seabed, is a huge oil and gas field, and it is "very necessary" for the Chinese. And who can say anything to them?
In general, we have to admit that the basis of Chinese expansion is not even the desire of China itself, but the absence of other alternatives. On the one hand, it's bad. And even carries a certain threat. There is in China a good saying on this matter - "Do not hurry to hug the crocodile that just eaten your enemy." But at the same time, such a situation creates good prospects for a serious revision of Russia's geopolitical role in the world. And you can not miss it.