Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three Cheers For the North Koreans!

Sure that title will get me into trouble. But one has to cut through the harrumphing verbiage and look on the bright side:

- By firing off its rocket when the Chinese specifically told it not to the Kim regime has humilated the new Chinese leadership lineup. Suffice it to say that the Chinese government may not be too solicitous of the mewling of its cat's paw on the Korean peninsula.

- By successfully testing a multi-stage, long-range rocket, a prototype for a nuclear-tipped ICBM (if the North Koreans can develop a small enough nuclear warhead), the DPRK has put the United States in the same boat as its South Korean and Japanese allies.

North Korean artillery threatens South Korea with massive loss of life and destruction of its capital. North Korea's well-tested Nodong missiles threaten Japanese cities with similar damage. Now U.S. cities are targetable.

Until yesterday, there was ambiguity over whether or not basing large numbers of U.S. forces in the theater made tactical sense. Now it does not matter where U.S. East Asian rapid reaction forces are based: the DPRK can now hit them.

- By thumbing its nose at its ostensible master, the DPRK has exposed the fallacy of China's growing ability to cow countries in the region. If any regime should jump when Beijing says, "Jump!" it is neophyte Kim Jong-eun's.

This has been a lousy year for the CCP-enabling and ally-betraying Sino-centric world order crowd. The DPRK is disobedient; Myanmar has gone off its own sweet way; and Cambodia's clumsy service as China's lapdog has reminded ASEAN of its origins in fighting the influence of China in Southeast Asia.

Take that, Hugh White (Link) and the "over most of human history China has been a benign hegemon" flunkies!

So raise a glass (of orange juice) or a mug (of coffee) to the North Koreans today. The launch of their big birthday celebration rocket is a shot for liberty.


David @ Shikoku said...

Seen that way, it is indeed good news...

My only concern is that this missile will give more votes to the nationalists both in Japan and Korea.

MTC said...

David @ Shikoku -

To be sure, that is a worry.

I have faith, however, in the voters. I am sure that they can see that the solutions proposed by the LDP and the JRA are not viable or smart.

Greg said...

Just one thing. White's thesis is that as China's power grows, it will push back against the status quo in Asia (based on historical precedents concerning rising powers). The US can either choose to accomodate this power, or it can try to contest it. White recommends accommodation, because the alternative is conflict, the scale of which cannot be predicted.

White is not suggesting that US power in Asia is waneing, or that the US simply give up and pull out. Indeed, he suggests that if China tries to unilaterally change the security balance of Asia, then every nation in the region should resist China - and that will require US assistance.

White is neither pro nor anti China, but sees a necessity in a quid pro quo between the US and China if conflict is to be avoided.

As to the question of why White advocates that the US acquiesce and not China, there are two hypothetical reasons for this - the first is that China is the rising power while the US is the established power. Established powers that try to hold on to their position and concede nothing to their emerging rival ultimately end up in armed conflict against that rival.

In the case of China, the size of its economy make it more of a threat to the US than the Soviet Union because it combines growing military power with financial power. While China does not seek world domination, it does believe that the Asian region is its sphere of influence. In White's thesis, if China believes that the US is attempting to limit its (China's) influence in its own backyard, it will push back against this obstruction, most likely through the use of force.

Hence if war is to be avoided, both China and the US need to work out their collective differences and share power rather than seek to dominate their rival.

The other reason is that White is schooled in the Euro-American doctrine of strategy, and so addresses his suggestions to those he understands best - the US government(possibly under the hope that it will listen to his advice).

As for China as a benign power, that is nonsense. It is not White's thesis, however.

MTC said...

Greg -

1) China as a benign power

I know that this is not White's thesis. I am referring to the work of others.

2) I differ with White's assumption that conflict can be avoided through accommodation. Common sense and history tell a different tale.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you applaud and revel in China's loss of ability to reign in a destabilizing act of escalation fully demonstrates the irrational level of your Sinophobia.

China is constantly damned for not doing more to keep NK on a tight leash, yet Sinophobes know for a fact that China doesn't hold the same authoritarian/veto power over the politics of its "allies". Otherwise, its "allies" would not have repeatedly betrayed Chinese interests economically as well as politically.

This doesn't stop the Sinophobes from painting China as the regional hegemon in what I can only surmise as a cynical geopolitical "Great Game" gambit courtesy of Mackinder.

What China was, is and will be is likely to follow the trajectory of the long arc of its history vis a vis its neighbours, i.e. China has never been expansionary as the Europeans were throughout its history. Therefore this dangerous game of encirclement and containment to forestall the *possibility* (not reality) of a future global rival leads only to unnecessary conflict.

The US, Europe and Japan should solve their debt problems the old fashion way, to address their financial and structural corruption instead of holding a gun at the head of the most prosperous continent to exchange their wealth for more worthless First World debt.

As an Asian, we are weary of more of you bearing "gifts" that perpetuate the divide and conquer of our continent.

MTC said...

Anonymous -

1) I do not suffer from Sinophobia. I suffer from CCP/PLA phobia.

2) The DPRK is a horror, without redeeming features. I applaud the North Koreans, therefore, for shooting themselves in the foot.

3) I do not damn China for not having more control over its ally. I mock its pretensions of extending its control over the region.

4) China has been expansionist. It expanded until it filled a half continent. Not bad. Only the Russians did better, and most of what they conquered is tundra.

5) Pan-Asianism has a very fraught history, with Japan taking a rather interesting role in its propagation.

6) Being "an Asian" (whatever that means) cannot make you a better judge of human character or humankind's destiny. Dump your insecure, defeatist racism in the sewer where it belongs.

7) If you reply to the above anonymously, I will not give approval to your comment. Find a moniker.

MTC said...

Anonymous - (reprise)

As regards being "Asian": if we are going to identify ourselves geomorphologically, Tokyo and Western Japan are on the North American Plate.