The Obamafolk, as they declared victory and withdrawal from the Middle East, announced a “Pivot to Asia. The Middle East however, has as we know declined its cue to fade from the headlines. But the Chinese expansionism that required the “Pivot” persists in reality if not in headlines.
The financial mismanagement that has weakened the U.S. (and Europe) has emboldened more than Russian designs upon Georgia and Ukraine; China too is flexing its developing muscles in east Asia. Besides claiming swathes of India as its own, China has declared the entire China Sea a Chinese lake, never mind that it is shared with Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and others. Also never mind that most of the rocks and islands China is now claiming are closer to other countries than to China; oil and other resources are involved and they must be Chinese, period. China signed a world wide treaty declaring that resources within a certain distance from a country’s coast, belonged to that country; China now simply says that no longer applies. China is proving, like Russia, to be a bully; hence that Obama “Pivot to Asia.”
China, like Russia, has a lot of restive people who aren’t as rich as they see their elite becoming, governments have for all of history, used foreign adventures to distract the citizens. As the U.S, unable to pay it bills, fades from the scene, that expands. And China holds more U.S. debt than others. (Which, if we were China, would scare us.)
Two news reports emerged this week; both nit headlines. One is important. The first is the street demonstrations and plebiscite of some hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong. The people there want free elections. Beijing wants quiet and obedience. Those can’t be reconciled, so the question is, when will China send in the troops? That will be killing a goose that lays golden economic eggs, so Beijing is in no hurry. Still, if it fails to keep the lid on Hong Kong, too many other places will start to join that parade. It’s a problem that China will not hurry to resolve.
The other and quieter report is a good deal more ominous for the world. The Japanese government has rescinded a rule that has stood since WWII: That Japan will limit the use of is military to defense of the home islands. The Japanese government, in the face of Chinese expansionism and presumably with the approval of the United States, has rescinded that and is now free to send its forces overseas. The change prompted demonstrations in Japan. Where world peace is concerned, that looms much larger than unrest in Hong Kong.
As we have observed before, the Pax Americana was imperfect enough and even that much was beyond America’s ability to pay for very long. Now it’s over and the locals, no longer restrained, are coming out to play. Nothing new, it’s how things have always been. Last time it was the British Recessional; now it’s America’s. It guarantees an ‘interesting’ world … We keep doing it over and over; it must be what we want.