I've been following this Cheonan story for quite some time now and I wrote about how funny I thought it would be that a U.S. aircraft carrier would be going to the Yellow Sea. Well, the story seems to be quite true and just keeps getting more and more interesting.
"The U.S. is directly threatening China by sailing an aircraft carrier into the Yellow Sea," wrote defense blogger Brother Guangdong on the Western Military Affairs site. "China must respond firmly and show the American imperialists we won't be pushed around."
I think this Chinese Blogger is a bit confused. China should respond firmly and show the Americans by taming North Korea rather than attempting to slug it out with a giant nuclear powered U.S. aircraft carrier, a nuclear submarine, and destroyer off the Chinese coast. But, there's more...
China's Foreign Ministry this week registered its concerns that the drills could prompt further rash behavior from North Korea's isolated and erratic communist regime.
North Korea will -- as a direct result -- of the U.S. naval deployment be essentially tamed by Communist China for the forseeable future. This is not because North Korea is scared of a U.S. military attack, but because North Koreans do not want to further upset the -- already furious -- Chinese by attracting another aircraft carrier to the coast of China. Beijing is a lot closer from North Korean than Taiwan -- just consider the Korean War. So, this essentially negates the arguments of blind Chinese nationalists as well as the South Korean left.
By the way, why is it that those on the South Korean left label themselves as "progressive." It is a ridiculously Korean English term, not unlike, say, "Netizens" which really hasn't caught on in the rest of the world. It would be best to label South Korean liberals as well liberals -- though the term Socialists is a good fit for those on the left in the South Korean political spectrum. Progressive in a way implies that, well, those that are not progressive thinkers haven't learned something yet. It seems so condescending to those that might disagree with these "progressive" thinkers. To me though, the word, progressive reminds me of an insurance company or Teddy Roosevelt a century ago.
Anyways, back to how the Chinese are directy anger at U.S. "imperialists..."
People's Daily Online (yes, this is the newspaper -- 人民日報社 that reported that a non-existant South Korean professor was going to register Chinese script as a Korean cultural treasure):
No one would allow its competitor with guns in hand to wander in front of their home or keep a close watch staring through their windows, and the American would not too.
The United States should make people feel that the U.S. military presence in this region is peaceful and necessary, not vice versa.
I'm pretty sure that it was Chinese inaction that led to this military exercise and I'm quite sure the South Korean and Japanese governments feel a lot more comfortable that there is a friend that can stand up to China.
Furthermore, the United States needs to take into account these countries' moods if it wants to become a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. Otherwise, the United States will have difficulties in staying in the region for a long time and its interests here will be difficult to effectively protect.
China never considers the United States an enemy, but the United States should show necessary respect to China. The provocative military drill will only lead to the accumulation of resentment against the United States in the hearts of Chinese people and the United States will inevitably be regarded as a threat.
Again, China seems to only respect force or strength. If South Korea had nuclear weapons and a dozen aircraft carriers, then I'm sure the Chinese would've respected the lives of the South Korean sailors.
Anyways, not too long ago, the rest of the world believed China had some leverage over North Korea and could control the "isolated" and "erratic" regime. Specially appointed diplomats from the United States, South Korea, and Japan among other nations would even go to Beijing and play along in this facade by paying tribute -- attending the Six Party Talks. In exchange, it was believed that China would and could control North Korea -- or if the United States was upsetting the Chinese -- unleash North Korea on South Korea. But, this is no longer the case...
The Cheonan incident -- along with a very nicely played hand by both South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and U.S. President Barak Obama, has single-handledly demonstrated how incapable the Chinese were of controlling North Korea. The incident as mentioned in earlier postings has strengthened the U.S-South Korea alliance, US-Japan alliance, and encouraged better bilateral ties between Japan and South Korea. Furthermore and perhaps most importantly, it has shown the world how little leverage Communist China has over a country that she is basically keeping on life support -- not to mention how much resentment this must breed amongst North Koreans.
Moreover, the United States has also -- finally -- agreed to extend the handover of wartime control to South Korea from 2012 to 2015. (This was first negotiated out of a misguided belief on the part of the late South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun, who believed South Korea might be able to become a regional power or -- the more nonsensical idea of a playing a "balancing" role in Northeast Asia -- before unification had even taken place.) Of course, what Roh Moo Hyun did not understand is that the "balancing" role is precisely what the United States is doing right now by sending none other than a U.S.S. George Washington to waters off the coast of China. The United States is sending China a crystal clear message to China that this is what exactly could occur if the Chinese are incapable of controlling North Korea. And, thanks to North Korea, there seems there will once again be fireworks on July 4th -- no longer North Korean missiles as twice before -- but a nice exercise by the Chinese navy.
(Plus, of course, it's also a nice way to send back a reply to the Chinese military snubbing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when about a two hundred strong U.S. delegation visited China.)
Nonetheless, I find the ongoing Cheonan saga quite comical as it's gone from an incident that wasn't first highly publicized to one that has led to a U.S. aircraft carrier that will soon kiss the coasts of China in an exercise that is -- of course -- aimed at North Korea, and, which if you really think about, it really is.