Will China Be Number One?

Tired of Afghanistan and all those messy, oil-ish wars in the Greater Middle East that just don’t seem to pan out? Count on one thing: part of the U.S. military feels just the way you do, especially a largely sidelined Navy—and that’s undoubtedly one of the reasons why, a few months back, the specter of … Continue reading “Will China Be Number One?”

An Anti-Interventionist Looks at China

Most discussion of China in the mainstream press, especially the left-liberal press, focuses on China’s “human rights” record, or freedom of press and speech, or labor issues, or family planning policies. One may argue endlessly about those matters. But they are China’s internal affairs, and for a genuine anti-interventionist, they are none of our government’s … Continue reading “An Anti-Interventionist Looks at China”

WikiLeaks Cables Reveal China’s Modernizing Military Might

A Wikileaked January 2009 diplomatic cable from the United States’ Beijing embassy forecasting the next three decades of U.S.-China relations warned of the Asian giant’s "rapid military modernization". "The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] thirty years from today will likely have sophisticated anti-satellite weapons, state-of-the-art aircraft, aircraft carriers and an ability to project force into strategic … Continue reading “WikiLeaks Cables Reveal China’s Modernizing Military Might”

Obama Out of Okinawa

In a momentous about-face, Japan has revamped her defense strategy to address Chinese threats to Japan’s southern islands rather than Russian threats to Japan’s northernmost islands. The change comes as tensions between North and South Korea have caused Prime Minister Naoto Kan to patch strained relations between Japan and South Korea and to align Japanese … Continue reading “Obama Out of Okinawa”

US Pot Assesses Chinese Kettle

It’s a common observation, to the point of triteness, that we tend to hate those traits in others that we’re prone to ourselves. But maybe there’s something to it when it comes to one country’s perception of another. Among the diplomatic cables recently released by Wikileaks is a document from last February by Johnnie Carson … Continue reading “US Pot Assesses Chinese Kettle”

Taking Down America

Trying to play down the significance of an ongoing WikiLeaks dump of more than 250,000 State Department documents, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently offered the following bit of Washington wisdom: “The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, … Continue reading “Taking Down America”

US Policy Toward the Koreas Is Unrealistic

Why does the U.S. government’s foreign policy often hinge on the naïve and moralistic expectation that other countries should act against their own interests? Wouldn’t a more realistic U.S. foreign policy be better for everyone concerned? Let’s take an example. North Korea is a mostly isolated, totalitarian, unpredictable, and downright weird regime. Its only “friend” … Continue reading “US Policy Toward the Koreas Is Unrealistic”

Pipelineistan’s New Silk Road

  Back before e-mail, a world traveler who wanted to keep in touch and couldn’t just pop into the nearest Internet café might drop you a series of postcards from one exotic locale after another. Pepe Escobar, that edgy, peripatetic globe-trotting reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, has been doing just … Continue reading “Pipelineistan’s New Silk Road”

A New Season in Military Fashions

President Barack Obama has promised a fundamental review of American policy towards Afghanistan this December. In the meantime, his decision seems compromised by the continuing military and civilian “surge” to Afghanistan  ordered soon after Obama took office in 2008. The Pentagon is constructing bases for the new arrivals on a giant scale with all the … Continue reading “A New Season in Military Fashions”