2) China: Japan and South Korea. Lesson thirtyfour

We know with certainty which the other east Asian countries that the United States wants to connect to their nation are.

”Overshadowed by China and India, a group of smaller Asian economies has committed to rapid economic integration and cooperation. The six largest economies among them – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam – have diverse population sizes, incomes and cultural affinities but share a common desire to prosper as independent and open countries. Together, they are on their way to becoming a powerful new economic bloc.” LIGNET (CIAs former public page) August 29, 2013

In the above citation from LIGNET, Japan and South Korea are omitted in the American-preferred union against China. It may be because of Japan’s and Korea’s early nineteenth century history dominated by Japanese supremacy in a time when hundreds of thousands of Korean women and girls were taken as sex slaves to Japanese soldiers while Korean men were force recruited to the Imperial Army.

The mentioned countries in the quote – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam – encircle China in the South China Sea, and by including the to a large extent Muslim Malaysia, the US covers the important Malacca Strait geostrategically.

Islam is the state religion of Malaysia, about half of the population are Muslims. The malays are defined according to paragraph 160 of the Malaysian Constitution as Muslims. A piece of the puzzle is added, but it may raise more questions than answers, at least what concerns the US plans for Japan and South Korea. It has been interesting to follow the development. We can begin by citing the CIA LIGNET from October 15, 2013:

Why Japan Lost Faith in America’s Security Guarantee
Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently held important talks with their counterparts in Tokyo to revise the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines. But rather than bringing the United States and Japan closer together, the talks revealed a growing divide between them, as Japan appears to have lost its trust in the U.S. security guarantee over North Korea’s triumphant emergence as a nuclear missile power. LIGNET

The questions we need to answer are;

a. Why do they or did they want to revise the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines?
b. Why is there a growing gap between Japan and the US?
c. And why have the Japanese lost their confidence in the US security guarantee (nuclear umbrella)?

Question b. above has already been answered in previous lessons, it happened because of US fears of a possible Chinese-Russian-Japanese axis. Perhaps this is also why the Japanese have lost their confidence in the US security guarantee?

December 8, 2013: South Korea expanded its air defense zone so that it partially overlaps an expansive air defense zone that China had declared just before South Korea’s expansion of their air defense zone. The area includes two islands in the south east China Sea, and an underwater reef that China also claims. The new zone was effectuated from December 15th, 2013. South Korea conferred with the United States before the country decided to expand their Air Defense Zone, according to the Washington State Department. According to the Korean Defense Ministry, the decision “will not violate the sovereignty of neighboring countries”. Now we at least know what role South Korea playes in the equation under LIGNET on August 29, 2013 mentioned before. The statement by the Korean Defense Ministry carries the Americans’ thumbprint, and the parties – quite rightly and technically correct – makes no secret of the fact that South Korea conferred with its US advisers.

December 26, 2013: Perhaps we have the explanation for the US prudent behavior in the neighborhood of the East China Sea. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raises anger from neighboring countries. This because he made a visit to a controversial memorial on December 26, honoring his country’s fallen soldiers of the second world war. Abe later explained that he visited Yasukuni in Tokyo to pray at the memorial. He said that the intention wasn’t to provoke anger in China and Korea, and he said that Japan is working for peace these days. Abe also again mentioned that he felt “deep repentance” over Japan’s past. But there were angry comments and condemnations coming from the regime in Beijing. South Korea also condemned the visit. Abe’s visit to Yasukuni was the first from a seated prime minister since the year 2006.

In Washington, the government expressed disappointment because of Abe’s visit to Yasukuni since Abe should have known it would increase tensions with neighboring countries. [Washington said “neighboring countries” but what they really meant is that they were disappointed that Abe had done something to increase the tension between Japan and South Korea, since it counteracts US interests to unite the region economically under US supervision against China.]

In 2015, the Japanese military budget amounted to 42 billion US Dollars, up 3.5 percent since 2014. The military budget has been on the rise since 2012 and pending. Overall, this means that Japan is developing a military capacity to carry out limited offensive undertakings, in terms of the ability to recapture an occupied island/archipelago, within the framework of a defensive military operation with an emphasis on qualified air and naval forces. Source; Johan Elg, Swedish National Defense College

Japan has three (3) ongoing border conflicts. These concern three islands as well as an island group with Russia, the island of Takeshima with South Korea and the Senkaku Islands with China. Japan only controls the Senkaku Islands.

Why are Japan and China arguing about some small uninhabited islands off the coast of China? I can only imagine three reasonable explanations:

A) It is believed that the waters around the islands hide oil deposits. But no oil or gas has yet been found.
B) China feels threatened because Japan possibly may develop and deploy non-ballistic cruise missiles or ballistic missiles on the islands, so that Japan can strike China’s mainland faster than they can from Okinawa or any other of the Riukiu Islands.
C) China wants to circumscribe Taiwan by building an airbase and a missile base on the islands and Japan oppose it because they want to prevent China from strengthening its position in the region.

LIGNET reported on July 3, 2013 that China was on a charm offensive at an ASEAN meeting. Certainly it was a causality based on Obama’s State of the Union speech from February 12, 2013, when he gave his “And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia” speach. This speach in turn was a causality based on the RCEP rounds, but above all it was based on China’s industrial espionage. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – shame on me; The Chinese proverb that President Bush could not get it right in a television speach. Obviously, Obama would have had no problem getting it right. Obama played hardball when he delivered his speach on February 12, 2013. But already Hillary Clinton threw the glove too early at China when she wrote in November 2011; “When the war in Iraq ends and the US withdraws from Afghanistan, the United States faces a turning point in the US Pacific Ocean.”

Hillary Clinton revealed the US plans which could be interpreted as the United States doing as they please and that no morality is necessary to apply to any emerging situation for the US to take the right to intervene in any part of the world. We are not yet there, but we are heading there. For the time being, there is always someone holding the rudder, if not America then someone else, and someone else is not better.

Sources;

CIAs LIGNET; and Johan Elg at the Swedish National Defense College

 

Homework:

What do you make out of this information? Is Trump just following a charted course demarcated by Obama and Hillary Clinton?

Do Japan and South Korea play any important geostrategic role you think? I am not asking if they play any important geopolitical role, because obviously they do.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

1) China: Nine Dash Line. Lesson thirtythree

There is a slim possibility for the Americans, but still a possibility, to fuel conflicts on several fronts so that they would not have to face China alone. Here’s what the CIA’s former public site LIGNET expressed on July 17, 2013:

Why the Indian Ocean Could Be the Next Theater of War
While China has loudly trumpeted its new aircraft carrier and its developing “blue water” navy, India has quietly embarked on its own naval modernization program, with a new aircraft carrier on order from Russia and a new nuclear submarine now undergoing sea trials. Both China and India have their eyes on the Indian Ocean and on guarding the oil tankers that traverse it. The recent advances in the navies of both nations set up the potential for a clash there.

And here’s what the CIA expressed on LIGNET september 24, 2013:

China, Russia Compete for Influence Over Central Asia
China and Russia are engaged in an intense rivalry for hegemonic control over Central Asia, a rivalry that could jeopardize the close friendship that has developed between them over the past two decades. What will China’s unquenchable thirst for energy and Russia’s desire to revive the glory of its former empire mean for the future of the region?

The United States has no desire that the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea should explode in their face. Some of the Spratly Islands are controlled by Vietnam, others by the Philippines and some islands by Taiwan and some by China. The islands are hard to reach but the surroundings are believed to contain raw material resources. Due to the seemingly unresolvable disputes, there have been no serious explorations of deposits in the areas, so the estimation of commodity resources is largely extrapolated from mineral deposits in neighboring areas.

China has built a runway, 10 flight minutes in mach 1 (approximate speed for sound waves or 1,224 km/h) from the Philippine Islands, on one of the Spratly Islands called Mischief Island 200 nautical miles (370 km or 230 miles) from the Philippines. Conflicts (i.e., Chinese hijacking) regarding the ownership of the islands are undesirable. China claims virtually the whole of the South China Sea and commits violations of other countries’ legal rights to an economic zone under the UNCLOS Convention on the Law of the Sea. China calls their self-imposed demarcation lines for the nine-dash line.

On the largest island, known as Woody Island in the States, in the disputed Paracel archipelago south of China, it is believed that China has deployed surface-to-air missiles. In 2012, China established a military garrison as well as the city of Sansha on the island to administer the entire South China Sea. In 2015, China temporarily deployed fighter jets on Woody Island. Many countries claim ownership of several of the Paracel Islands in the archipelago, countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Woody Island is located about 300 km (186 miles) southeast of the giant island of Hainan in southern China.

China wants to conduct bilateral negotiations, but many of China’s neighboring countries argue that China’s strength and size are giving the country an unfair advantage. ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asean Nations) cannot even resolve the dispute. The US says they do not choose side in territorial disputes, but they have frequently sent military ships and flights near the disputed islands and they call it “Freedom of navigation” operations. In addition to these islands, there are dozens of rocky reefs, atolls and sandbanks, such as Scarborough shoal, mostly uninhabited. These data were current in July 2016.

Already President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech on February 12, 2013, that he (America) intended to pursue a Pacific Trade Agreement. With these few words in an one-hour speach he declared his intentions:

”To boost American exports. Support American jobs. And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia. We intend to complete negotiations on a transpacific partnership. And tonight I’m announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership with the European Union. Because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic, supports millions of good paying American jobs.”

What did he mean by “And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia”? It can only be interpreted in one way; an Obamish economic War declaration against China, by financially binding other east Asian countries to the United States, North Korea excluded. It should have been a piece of cake but Trump is less skillful and kid-gloved than most people.

Was it China that started the contentions? In 2012, China initiated formal talks in an economic union with a number of countries in east Asia and other places, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and South Korea. The rounds of negotiations have succeeded each other and are known as RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). The discussions have been going on for a long time, but God knows if they have reached an agreement as late as in November, 2018.

 

Homework:

What do You think Obama meant by “And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia”? Was it an unfriendly perhaps even hostile sentence?

And if it was hostile, was it a legitimate sentence? Please motivate your conclusions! Before answering the question, I want you to make an effort to justify your conclusions by searching for background material about the conflict so that you get training in fact finding and screening of information. Don’t come back to me with a foggy response, because you are biased and think this and that, only trying to prove what you already presuppose.

Fact searching means being able to walk a few miles in your opponent’s moccasins, i.e. you need to search for information and screen information not only on the home team’s site but on all possible sites. It is not the same as being unbiased because nobody really is, but If you always assume that your home team is right and that you therefore do not need to listen to the other side, you might as well skip doing this homework altogether. Be generally critical when seeking out information.

Every time you get suspicious, keep the thought in the back of your head until you can confirm it or until it has been falsified, even if it will take years of fact searching and contemplating. Your level of perseverance determines if you will become a good intelligence person or not.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

3. NSA’s economic implications for the US economy. Lesson twenty

Edward Snowden’s disclosure about how US intelligence (NSA) spies on millions of people’s telecommunications and data communications has led to problems for US technology companies. The simplest explanation is that customers are reacting to the surveillance from the NSA, which collects what we call Metadata, i.e. ingelligence about what contacts people have on the Internet, or on the phone.

In Europe, the NSA’s espionage is much more up close and personal. Snowden’s data has shown that large US technology companies, such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, have more or less been forced, with reference to the law, to let the NSA into their systems in the intelligence agency’s search for terrorists.

Since it is now known that millions of people who are not suspected of anything also are monitored by the NSA, some of them have reacted with anger towards technology companies. When they cannot guarantee privacy, the customers turn to someone else, or build their own systems which they think are safer. The New York Times has spoken to an expert who believes that the business losses of major technology companies can reach $ 35 billion in a few years. Other analysts guess $ 180 billion in potential loss.

Technology companies want to know what the president and the congress will do to regulate and limit the monitoring of their customers. One of Microsoft’s managers told the New York Times that business customers in particular want to know, more than ever, how their information is stored, used and secured. Right now, technology companies cannot provide any answers to that. They are waiting for the politicians to speak up and they are frustrated about not having received it already. They don’t know how to get answers, it’s like sucking blood from a stone.

In March 21, 2014, President Obama met a number of technology company representatives in a two-hour meeting. They have had several meetings before that in which they talked about monitoring and integrity.

The technology companies are also concerned that the responsibility for storing that big amounts of data would be transferred to them, from the NSA. The technology companies do not want that, but it was an idea that Obama favored. He referred the questions to the Congress.

In the meantime, new disclosures are coming up almost every week about the NSA’s surveillance. Bush’s and Obama’s motives for NSA’s deep wire tapping goes like this;

if the NSA had the right to overlook foreign individuals and organizations, we would have been able to prevent nineeleven.

And they claim that they have been able to prevent terrorist attacks after nineeleven thanks to the survaillance program. The claim is probably not as true as that nineeleven could not be prevented due to territorial pissing. They didn’t manage to prevent the Boston bombers or the gay nightclub shooter in Orlando Florida, Omar Mateen, from committing their deeds even though their deeds came after nineeleven.

If there had been no waterproof bulkheads between the CIA, the FBI, the DIA and the NSA and if the organizational culture had not been so sluggish in government agencies such as the CIA and the FBI, then nineeleven perhaps could have been prevented. In the summer of 2001, the CIA in vain repeatedly warned President George W. Bush and other White House officials that an al-Qaeda attack was imminent. A few special agents at the CIA’s Alec station tried to warn the FBI headquarters that the malicious terrorist al-Mihdhar was in the US, but a CIA manager ordered the agents to be silent. One of the agents stated, “It was a classic example of when analysts owns information,” he said. “Operators share information. Some analysts tended to think of information as; never you mind.” Source; SR; Ekot, March 2014

Homework:

What solutions do you think are available to us Europeans regarding how to force the current American president to a sufficient level speak up to our satisfaction about storing of data and the surveillance programs. Please let me know if you have any ideas!

Roger M. Klang, defense political spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden