What is cabbage strategy?
In wiki words: Cabbage strategy is designed to occupy a larger Maritime zone for a particular nation, in order to gain exclusive national rights over certain bodies of water. The strategy involves building large amounts of man-made islands in the middle of a large body of water, building them up until they have enough land mass to claim a local sea under the UN’s “Law of the Sea”.
How China is using it in South China Sea and how effectively
China’s claim over islands in the South China Sea is of centuries old. However, the first official claim in the modern period dates back to 1947, wherein it demarcated its claims with a U-shaped line made up of eleven dashes on a map. In the early 1950s’, two dashes of the proposed line around the Gulf of Tonkin were removed to pacify the Communist Government in Noth Vietnam. Subsequently, the nine-dash line has emerged as the new flashpoint, which covers two groups of islands — Spratlys and Paracels — within its ambit.
In cabbage strategy it’s basically covering the area by multiple layers and denying access to enemy entities until you establish your military base on that region.
Let us explain it through a real life example: which includes Shri Lankan and Vietnamese ports
Step 1: Blocking trade
As per an estimate, over USD 5 trillion worth trade passes through the region in a year. India’s trade through the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea has been steadily increasing over the past few years due to the growing trade ties with Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, the USA, Australia and South Korea.
So China has to acquire the access and control over the ports involved in it. And how will China do it? By taking legal control over the ports.
Step 1.1 : Provide unpayable amount of loans with visibly less interest rate.
Step 1.2 : After they couldn’t repay, provide they extension period with additional unpayable loan with new and malicious terms and conditions.
Step 1.3 : As those countries can’t pay the loan, take some percentage direct control over the port.
Step 1.4 : Increase Chinese workers in port construction more than locals.
Step 1.5 : Go to international courts, win a legal battle as what those signed agreements were meant for.
Step 2 : Blocking foreign transitions
Step 2.1 : Introduce more Chinese labour force on the location.
Step 2.2 : Manipulate local labour force to function as of with peer pressure or any unethical way.
Step 2.3 : Initiate protests/riots in CCP’s favouring thoughts.
Step 2.4 : Showing local’s interest in banning no Chinese foreign trade and thus legally doing it then after
Step 3 : creating artificial islands
Once the shore and ports are aquired it’s not that difficult.
Step 3.1 : deliberately showing the necessity of trading checkpoints at Strategic locations and commercial necessity if required.
Step 3.2 : Deploying big ships as checkpoints for trading operations.
Step 3.3 : Showing it’s not economically beneficial to use ships and is necessary to build artificial islands.
Step 3.4 : Building artificial islands under economic reasons.
Step 4 : deploying military
Step 4.1 : Showing that the trade or trade federation is in dander.
Step 4.2 : Showing that costal guards are unable to handle the situation neither the local police
Step 4.3 : Crying crocodile tears on internet about it.
Step 4.4 : Snoopingly deploying military for counter actions and showing it as last option to counter threats.