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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Foreign Relations/World Affairs ...

In my last post, I had a quick aside about Korea, as to whether it can avoid another war. I pondered that question some more, and I conclude, with much trepidation, that there is not going to be another big battle between the north and south. However, that does NOT mean that things are going to be just peachy for the USA with regard to North Korea.

Here’s my geo-political theory du jour. North Korea is essentially China’s puppet, part of China’s plan to weaken the USA’s global strength while keeping it alive as a market for China’s growing factories and trade networks. China cannot afford to take blustery swipes against America and its world dominance, like the old Soviet Union did. But China does want to see that dominance shrunken over time.

North Korea’s unending threats to our interests in Asia certainly are a drag on America’s military and economic posture. This will create an economic, technological, military and doctrinal vacuum in the East, as the USA grows more distracted and weaker. That vacuum will spread throughout the world. China will seize the opportunity to fill that vacuum; in fact, they’ve already started. People in Africa, South America, Asia and other developing areas will increasingly look to China as the model for how to live, how to govern, how to work and trade in the world. China will become the main source of investment and development deals (they’re all over Asia, already doing a lot in Africa, and starting to get their fingers on Latin America). It will likewise become the favored partner in trade agreements. And with all that, it will build cultural bridges that will convince more and more nations to emulate “the Chinese way”.

Given all this, I think that Korea will avoid another war. I don’t think the Chinese would allow North Korea to attack the south, as it would be bad for business in Asia. But the Kim family’s never-ending mad gestures, backed up by a very real threat against Seoul (the massed artillery on the North Korean border, 35 miles away from the city), along with their nuclear weapons and submarines and possible long-range missiles that can hit American soil, will cost the USA a lot of time, energy and economic muscle over time. This increasing American weakness will play into the story of China’s rise, and to the fulfillment of its dream of being a world superpower. Perhaps THE world superpower of the 21st Century. A superpower that will rise without the need for bloody wars of conquest and colonization. Any necessary military unpleasantness will be quietly “subcontracted” to clients on the borders.

I can’t help but wonder if the Iranians are playing the same game with us; I can’t help but wonder if they have hitched their star to the rise of China. Perhaps all the Islamic Shi’ite fanaticism is just a Persian side-show; there are some analysts who wonder if the mullahs there are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

I’ll have to ask my Canadian correspondent what he thinks about all this.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 12:39 pm      

  1. Jim, Since the whole Korea thing has quieted down, I have not given much thought to the situation. I do agree that any problem there will be a major problem for us as we simply cannot support another war.

    As to China: I just finished reading 5 books on China written from the standpoint of the ordinary person in China. (Peter Hessler and Leslie Chang, the authors) After having read those books, I find that any “simple” answer (that is, a non-book-length answer) to China’s plans for the future is an impossibility due to the many variables at work in Chinese society today.

    Then again, I have found that trying to predict what will happen in the future, either with regard to nations or individuals, is a useless task. Anything can and will happen that cannot be foreseen even in one’s wildest speculations.

    As to the rise of a new superpower: I say, what difference does it make if America loses its place as the one that cn dictate to the rest of the world? Superpowers come and go and the world goes on; in one’s personal life few people even notice the difference. Politicians come and go, as do political ideas. A good example of such are the events that happened in China in the second half of the 20th century. Regardless of all the conflicting, contradicting, and just plan makes-no-sense political movements China experienced during that time, still China carries on, the “ordinary” person in China continues on with life.

    As to the Iranians, I have seen nothing (maybe I’m just not reading the right “stuff”) that indicates they are “hitching their start to…China.” I do agree that the mullahs are likely becoming “increasingly irrelevant”–much like in the West the Roman Catholic hierarchy is becoming increasingly irrelevant. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — January 13, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

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