Tag Archives: China

US Must Hold China Responsible for North Korean Crisis

North Korea has a long history of ignoring the global community and making dangerous and hostile moves that threaten to engulf East Asia in military conflict. In 2006, the Communist Nation tested a Taepodong missile over the objections of the global community. Last year, the attempted to detonate a nuclear device underground, though the results were questionable. Just since President Obama took office, they have tested more missiles, and successfully detonated a nuclear weapon equal in size to the Hiroshima bomb which killed more than 70,000 people.

Combined, these tests threaten the security of the United States – it is now clear that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and that they are quickly developing the technology (through improvements to their Taepodong missiles) to deliver such weapons to distant locations – presumably including the United States. These facts demand that the United States eliminate the North Korean threat before it can be used to further blackmail the developed world.

Thus far, Dimplomacy has failed. Only through what amount to bribes has the international community been able to delay – and just delay – further development. This is unacceptable. Continued appeasement of the North Korean regime will only further damage our credibility and will, in the end, still lead to a Korean nuke that can be delivered at will.

While, at this point, military action is clearly justified, there are good reasons to avoid yet another military conflict on the Asian continent. It may still be possible to avoid such conflict, but in order to do so, the US must move beyond North Korea and the United Nations and put direct, significant pressure on China to solve the problem before we do. As Gordan Chang points out on Forbes.com, China holds enough leverege in North Korea to put to rest any crisis that develops:

Today, China supplies about 90% of North Korea’s oil, 80% of its consumer goods and 45% of its food. Beijing is Pyongyang’s only formal military ally and its primary backer in the United Nations Security Council and other diplomatic forums. If it weren’t for the Chinese, there would be no North Korean missile program, no North Korean nuclear program and no North Korea.

Knowing the power China holds in this situation, and their need for continued good relations with the United States (on whom they are just as dependent as the reverse), President Obama must issue an ultimatum to the Chinese government, making it clear that we view our national security to be at risk, that we will take action to end the Korean threat if China does not, and that we will view attempts to restrict any efforts to block such action as hostile acts. It goes without saying that we must also be willing to back up that ultimatum with action if China is unwilling or unable to prevent further development of the North Korean threat. That must include, but not be limited to, airstrikes and limited ground incursions to eliminate missile pads, and, if possible, nuclear weapons development.

-Matt

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Defense Cuts Good For Now – But What About the Future?

For those who haven’t heard, the Secretary of Defense has recently announced a shift in priorities that includes the cancelling of several high-cost programs which attracted criticism from many who believe them to be excessive or no longer necessary – among them them the F-22, an air-superiority stealth fighter jet with roots in the Cold War; the Airborne Laser, a missile defense system mounted on a modified Boeing 747, and the missile defense shield, which consists of radar detection and interceptors to shoot down any threats from East Asia. The President’s new Marine One Helicopter was also cancelled, but that is far less of an issue, since those helicopters do not see much combat action.

Now, for the threat we currently face – Islamic terrorists, rebels who hide in caves or in the shadows of Arab cities, those with no radar, and very limited rocket technology – these cuts (combined with a greater focus on anti-insurgent technology) are a good thing. Its true that a multi-million dollar warplane that can avoid radar detection has limited use (or at least little advantage over other, less high-tech warplanes) against those like UBL, and its true that a missile-shield has little use against terrorists who’s closest resemblance to a missile is a steal pipe on the back of a truck – and who’s nuclear delivery system is most likely to be a backpack or suitcase. So, in this regard, this shift in priorities will help us to fight the current enemy more effectively.

But what about the future? Al-Qaeda will not remain our primary opponent for the next 100 years, eventually the leaders will die, the money will dry up, and security improvements will severely restrict their ability to conduct attacks. Even a quick glance at the front pages of CNN or FOX News will tell you who is in line to be our next major military adversary – Rogue nations like Iran or North Korea, or restless superpowers like Russia and China. All of these nations have developed armies, modern military hardware, and most have ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. We’ve seen how Russia and China aren’t afraid to use force to spread their influence, and anyone with access to the news knows that North Korea and Iran have been creating problems for years – so with these threats in mind, is it really a good idea to be cutting the kind of technology that gives us an advantage over other nations? Probably not.

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Should the U.S. Boycott the Beijing Olympics?

The recent protests in Tibet over Chinese rule have been met with a violent and deadly crackdown by the Chinese military, which in turn has been met with condemnation from the U.S., Europe, and other areas. Now, the E.U. has floated the idea of a boycott of the Chinese Olympics in August, and some in the U.S. are suggesting we do the same thing. It wouldn’t be the first Olympic boycott – the United States, along with other nations, refused to attend the 1980 summer games in Moscow, and the Soviet Union and its allies boycotted the 1984 games in Los Angeles. Needless to say, these boycotts accomplished hardly anything.

…and that’s why I’m hesitant to support a boycott this time. The Olympics are designed to be above politics, and, in my opinion, the two should only be mixed when it is very likely that something can be accomplished. China is very concerned about their image, so it is possible that a boycott could pressure them into at least loosening restrictions on Tibet, but for how long? And there is always the chance that China would simply not do anything. After all, concern about their image didn’t stop them from running over protesters with tanks ten years ago.

Simply put, I don’t think that refusing to run sprints in Beijing is going to reverse a five-decade old policy. Economic sanctions, political pressure, both are good ways to try and force change, but at least at this point, I think the athletes should be left out of it. In the meantime, if nations want to make a statement, follow the French lead and refuse to send political leaders to attend the games.

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