Sunday, November 28, 2010

Korea, China and the 21st Century

US Navy ships are in the Yellow Sea today for exercises with the South Korean Navy. I hope this has been thought out. What will happen if North Korea fires on American vessels? Will the US retaliate? And after that? We certainly cannot be girding up for another war, this one against a country that does indeed have nuclear weapons -- most of which are pointed at the South Korean capital of Seoul and its 10 million residents.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il is unpredictable -- possibly even crazy. In addition, that country's military leaders may make decisions on their own, and it's hard to say if that is better or worse. It's also relevant to take note that the South Korean military was already engaged in exercises that pressed right up against the border of the two Koreas, which the North has said provoked their shelling. As one web site points out, this fact has been buried by the American media.

However, the key to this entire situation -- and we are hearing this more and more often these days -- is China. North Korea's only ally, the Chinese government could be quite helpful right now, but it's been hesitant to chasten Pyongyang in the past -- at least publicly. If China were to embrace its growing importance on the world stage by stepping up to play key roles in geopolitical disputes, economic crises and environmental concerns, that would seem to make life easier for everyone, but Beijing continues to work at its own pace.

I saw an interesting statistic last week: In 2009 China used twice as much steel as the US, the European Union and Japan COMBINED. Beijing's economic growth is surging at a level the world has never before seen. China recently became the world's second-largest economy, passing Japan, and China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. If the 1900s were the American Century, this is quickly becoming the Chinese Century.


joetote said...

Please note: I firmly believe China has already fired a warning shot at the U.S. also as that thing off the coast of California was definitely a missile, government lies beside. Thanks to Clinton allowing them to buy missile guidance technology along with this President's Chamberlain like tendencies (Anti-American in my book) it stands to reason that China is getting exactly what it wants
I wrote the following well over a year ago. In the full post, I made the argument that this President showing the weakness that he is now known for would in fact aid and abet this tin horn dictator in N.Korea. I just above took the China card into consideration as to my premise. Now, the madman is taking his shots as I feared and the Moron in Chief has the utter gall to proclaim this isn't a crisis or something to that effect.

"WE CANNOT NEGOTIATE WITH MADMEN! Chamberlain Jr. has got to get that through his fat head! While we fiddle/faddle, Korea lies to our faces while working at getting what they want! One other thing here. The folks on the left seem to think the Koreans, being the honorable people that they are would never do anything stupid! Wrong!! As is evidenced buy their latest action, the North Koreans are willing to risk destruction well knowing the weak sister leaders of the world will cave in as always. And in the eyes of the morons in power here, they can't deliver a payload! WRONG! They have a short range missile that can deliver a small warhead. And lest anyone forget, we have 35,000 troops around the border there. One bomb. That's all it takes! But we'll trust the Anti-American UN and a madman?! Good Grief!

Kazak said...


Anyways, One thing to keep in mind is what happened to Russia when it tried to go from feudal society to the Space Age in less than a century -- it could not keep up with the U.S. Never underestimate the benefit of a couple of hundred years of near isolation from threats, a whole lot of land and resources, and room to grow and absorb the best contributions of immigrants. Not to mention imperial control over the other countries (and resources) in this hemisphere.

A lot of Eastern Europe, Russia and the assorted 'Stans's and other "new" nations that once composed the USSR are saddled with some atrocious environmental hot zones. Not to mention the overall societal damage that centralized state control over all aspects of life did to the cultures of these places.

China may have figured out how to harness the untiring workhorse that is egotistical self-interest and meld a capitalist reward system to the totalitarian, one-party state, but in the end the physical limits represented by population pressure and resource use does not bode well for them. Their demographics are all out of whack thanks to state planning and cultural predilection for boys, and you could walk across the surface of almost any body of water in China (and you wouldn't need a flashnight at night, 'cuz they glow in the dark). I'd like to see what cancer rates in China are. And just wait until they start getting fat like us.

The real question is whether they take every one else with them as tank. The U.S. looks to be doing a U.K. sort of slide into less relevancy, although we have years to go before we're reduced to beating up on the Falklands.

Who knows where things end up. You can look to history for patterns but I sort of think we're entering into unique territory for human history. Not so much in terms of politics and rising and falling empires, but more in terms of the physical limits of the planets' carrying capacity.