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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  459 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Winter Olympics: Kim Jong-un calls for further reconciliation

That this is happening between the Koreas indicates that all parties recognize the abdication of the United States in the peace process. The Left are in control in Korea at the moment, while the Right are in disgrace. South Korea, for its part, became an economic powerhouse through nationalization of industry under military junta; democracy in South Korea dates back to like the late '80s.

Meanwhile the status quo in North Korea is untenable. They're rife for food shocks, much of their export industry (narcotics, counterfeit dollars) has been curtailed through policing and China benefits more from leading reforms than they do from propping up a despotic nation.

Jinpeng has set himself up a cult of personality not seen since Mao. He's playing a long game. North and South Korea negotiating with each other isn't unheard of; Kaesong operated for fourteen years up until Feb 2016. China for its part is a permanent member of the UN security council. If they can get inspectors in where the US couldn't, they achieve a PR coup.

I've slowly developed a perspective on the world under Trump. The US had all these initiatives and projects around the world that we're now allowing to lie fallow. That they were largely unopposed by the rest of the world means that the world, in general, wants these projects to continue. If the US can't keep it up, someone else has to. China can now make a play to be the stabilizing force in Southeast Asia. Russia can make a play for the Middle East.

And we can have a military parade!

OftenBen  ·  459 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Understood and agreed on all points.

To expand

    China can now make a play to be the stabilizing force in Southeast Asia

There's a historical precedent for this, right? So, it makes sense that an informal chinese hegemony in the pacific could have some staying power.

    Russia can make a play for the Middle East.

Because that worked out so well for them last time. Do they not study history in Russia? I guess I have a hard time understanding the Russian geopolitical short-game here. Long-game I sort of understand, they want to be feared and respected like they were at the height of the power of the Union, if not more so. I just don't see how their current actions lead to that. I don't see all of Europe, and especially the Middle East just rolling over quietly to Rooski-takeover, but then, we all seem to have just accepted the annexation of Crimea without too much fuss.

kleinbl00  ·  459 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Russia would still be in Afghanistan if we hadn't co-opted the Mujahideen in its entirety. We spent $30b so that Russia would lose. Iran-Contra? $11 million, of which like $1m actually went to the Contras.

We also occupy the Middle East through relations with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel. Saudi Arabia is bogged down in Yemen, Qatar has resisted their embargo and we're stirring shit up by moving our embassy to Jerusalem which limits our goodwill elsewhere. Meanwhile Iran and Russia are aligning, Turkey and Russia are aligning and Syria and Russia are already aligned.

Meanwhile, we've pissed Pakistan off like they don't matter, India is doing their own thing and much of what's left is former Soviet near-abroad. They don't need to take it over; if they can exert influence their frontier is secure. Meanwhile Turkey and Iran are great markets to be in.

As for China, Southeast Asia has been dealing with Chinese empires for like four thousand years. Robert Kaplan has a passage in Asia's Cauldron where he talks about how surprising it was that the Vietnamese were friendly to him. His Vietnamese host points out that the US only fought a war with Vietnam once; China has traded fire with them three times since and dozens of times previously and is far and away Vietnam's largest trading partner.

Western perspectives on China are heavily shaped by WWII and its outcomes, probably the worst crisis in Chinese history since the Mongols. They're not a bit player on a historic scale.

OftenBen  ·  459 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm gonna watch Charlie Wilson's War again before bed tonight.

kleinbl00  ·  459 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's a hell of a book.