Thursday, March 27, 2014

Robert Kaplan — The End Of A Stable Pacific

The WorldPost: "China's efforts to enhance its influence as a rising power in an assertive way will backfire and result in an unintended encirclement of China by her neighbors. The irony is that this 'security dilemma' was exactly what happened in Europe when Kaiser Wilhelm II, confident of rising power of Germany, began to practice a muscular diplomacy in 1890."
This is a quote from former South Korean foreign minister Yoon Young-kwan in a recent WorldPost article. Like many others, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he suggests that the situation today in East Asia in 2014 is analogous to 1914 in Europe.
Do you see it that way? In what ways yes, in what ways no?
Robert Kaplan: The better comparison is not with the Kaiser's Germany or World War I, but with American policy in the 19th and early 20th century for the Greater Caribbean.
China sees the South China and East China seas as blue water extensions of its continental land mass, just as a younger America saw the Greater Caribbean that way. Domination of the Greater Caribbean gave the United States strategic control of the Western Hemisphere, allowing it to affect the balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere throughout the 20th century....
Sphere of influence, like the US with the Monroe Doctrine claiming the entire Western Hemisphere.
The center of military power in the world is moving to Asia. Since the 1990s, Asia’s share of military imports has risen from 15 percent to 41 percent. The reason: sustained capitalist expansion leads to military acquisitions, as states consolidate their institutions at home and do more trade and business abroad, they seek militaries in order to defend their new interests. Asian states like China, Japan and Vietnam are no longer internally focused, but projecting power out -- and thus their territorial claims clash and overlap. So we have a great military build-up.

Capitalism leads to militarism.
The United States can preserve the peace by seeking not domination, but a favorable balance of power with China. It must at some level allow China its rightful place in the Western Pacific.
The Asia pivot shows that this is not going to happen, just as the Ukraine crisis shows that it is not going to happen with Russia either. The process of encirclement is underway, and Russia and China will respond predictably by building up their militaries. This is a collision course.

The World Post
Robert Kaplan: The End Of A Stable Pacific
Nathan Gardels

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