What’s with the rhetoric, fist pounding, and war-drumming?
North Korea has a long history of making threats whenever they need food. In the past, war-talk resulted in lots of food and supplies being sent to North Korea a short time after. Maybe there were talks somewhere in that process, maybe not. But the West cow-towed to the Norks like Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler before WWII.
From this perspective, it seems that Kim Jong-un is begging for food, like the family dog who tries to convince everyone at the dinner table that he’s on the brink of starvation.
But from another perspective, East Asian cultures—Chinese, Japanese, and Korean alike—are famous for “fist shaking” in the place of actual leadership and management strategy. Someone stands up and shouts really loud, everyone within ear shot jumps in line—again, like the family dog being beat with two sheets of newspaper who thinks, with all the noise, he’s being pounded to death. · · · →
USA’s Mixed Message to China (mp3)
If politics were a TV show, consider this season of “Pacific Antics”. The United States government has consistently sent “dual messages” to China.
On the one hand, diplomatic, military, and other foreign-related policy indicates aggressive defense posture and retaliation preparedness should a Pacific conflict break out. A new military base is under way in the northern most parts of Australia. US military forces are continually rearranged with “China” as the recurring, vague reason. Trade and visa agreements with Pacific nations, including America’s former enemy, Vietnam, won’t exactly make China feel like the biggest tiger in the jungle. And Taiwan President Ma’s recent and unusual visit to the Pope’s inauguration doesn’t resound with the same “go along with China to get along with China” rhetoric of Ma’s first term. In case you didn’t know, Chinese Communists don’t like the Vatican.
On the other hand, US domestic policies seem to invite invasion from China. · · · →
A friend recently asked me, “Hypothetically, what would it take to tip the tables, break the silence, and move from military escalation in East Asia into either war or peace?”
It was actually quite an easy question to answer. The same event could push the tide either way, though there’s no way of knowing in advance. It’s a rather simple event. But first, we need some background…
In every war, there’s always a straw that breaks the camel’s back, as it were. In WWI it was the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915. Interestingly, also on the 7th, but in December 1941, WWII was joined by the US when the Japanese bombed the naval fleet docked at Pearl Harbor on Oahu island in Hawaii. There’s always something that tips the tide.
In the current Pacific scenario, I speculate that everything could shift, merely if Taiwan commandeered the diesel-powered Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning. · · · →
According to a BBC interview with Sha Zu Kang, Chinese Ambassador to United Nations (Geneva) in 2006, Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan, and the priority of that policy among Beijing’s other objectives, is as unmistakable as it is severe.
Here are some selections from Sha Zu’s comments…
…Taiwan is the most important issue, that is to say, the issue on which we don’t have any room for compromise.
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…I think for any sovereign country in the world today, no country in the world will tolerate division of the country forever… Sovereignty territory integrity it the most important thing… We treat that sovereignty more important than our lives…
…No force on the world can shake Chinese nation’s determination to achieve the unification of my great motherland.
…The moment it declares independence, by Taiwan, supported by whomever, China will have no choice. We will do the business through whatever means available to my government.
That’s not to say someone won’t try. And the obvious country in question is China, of course.
One non-factor is the growing number of Americans living within Taiwan. Based on Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, in 2009, Americans made up approximately 2.5% of the island nation’s 350,000 alien residents. While that number has grown since, and will likely continue to grow, it would never be enough to affect America’s alliance with Taiwan, R. O. C. one way or the other.
So, what are the reasons an invasion of Taiwan is untenable?
The United States will always prefer Democracy over Communism. Likewise, America has a tendency of siding with smaller countries and standing against bigger ones. Taiwan is a small democratic republic that gets along with everyone. China is a large socialist-communist nuisance. Do the math. America will always side with Taiwan because they know, if anyone invades Taiwan, Hawaii will likely follow… And Japan remembers what that would mean. · · · →
TAINAN—Washington’s decision from the Senate could be far reaching. Within Taiwan, the President, Ma (馬英九), is often accused of being in cahoots with Beijing. However, I hold him in similar regard to Obama: inexperienced, not evil. Both presidents should learn that we can’t apologize our way into befriending enemies. But history doesn’t lend infinite time for such lessons. We often don’t realize the importance of Peace from Strength until we’ve lost both.
The international community often views China as an axis of secret evil operating with economic motives. In truth, Asian “Shame” culture, often eluding the Western mind, explains that China merely wants respect. Beijing doesn’t understand that victory over Taiwan, which China is still technically at war with, will only breed distrust.
It’s been over half a century since Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) escaped to the island of Formosa (Taiwan) in flight from the Chinese Communists. When China keeps a silent war with the previous generation on their books, to the rest of the world Beijing simply appears to be insane. · · · →