Imagine, the current heroin epidemic was caused not by American pharmaceutical companies, but instead by England. Imagine the English got your son/daughter/sister/brother etc. hooked on heroin and our president executed the English culprits and their families. Now imagine, England comes back and carpet bombs the U.S. and then sections off prime real estate in Atlanta, D.C. and New York for themselves and their friends. You have no say in this.
Instead, they decide it would be nice to own Long Island, and they take it as retribution for killing the drug dealers and their families. Not only that, but they insist they are not going to give it back for about 100 years. On top of that, they insist on selling even more heroin, getting more people hooked and as a result of the social chaos this creates, the American government is toppled and we end up fighting a 14-year civil war.
This happened, in China. It’s a 178 year old wound, and it still aches. There are a lot of grudges in Chinese history, though the U.S. wasn’t the main perpetrator in this national humiliation, we did help England shove all this down China’s throat.
When it comes to geopolitical problems, North Korea is not THE problem. They celebrate special events by shooting things into the sky, but the regime knows that if they tried anything drastic, Pyongyang would be gone in very short order.
China is never going tell North Korea to stop testing bombs, developing nuclear warheads, and or starving and torturing their people. Hoping that they will is a waste of time.
North Korea, to China, is a cut-out. This is when a state actor does a big guy’s dirty work for some sort of benefit. So, the Chinese use them for their malware to occupy U.S. attention. It’s a classic, “Look over there,” pointing with one hand and stealing a cookie with the other.
In South Korea, I saw a high-level government defector from North Korea speak. He had worked for Kim Jong-il and his defection was a a pretty big deal. He gave rambling account of life under Kim Jong-il, rich with context. One thing that stood out to me was when he said that much of North Korea’s poor behavior on the world stage was to keep the U.S. interested. He said North Korean leadership was terrified of China. It is the classic, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” You’ll probably never see an official North Korean line like that.
For centuries, the Koreans and Chinese have laid claim on each other’s territory. In recent history, former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao commissioned a study of Manchuria (Northeastern China, bordering on North Korea), to explain the ethnic connection between Manchurians, modern China and Korea. The study posited that, in fact, Korea was part of China.
When President Trump parroted President Xi Jinping saying that, at one time, Korea had been a part of China, it showed he knows nothing about the region. Koreans, genetically are closer related to the people of the Altai Mountains and their language more closely resembles Japanese than the Chinese. Conversely, one could also argue that during the Gogureo Dynasty Korea actually controlled a huge area of Manchuria. The fact that our president lapped up this nonsense shows that he’s operating from an incredibly shallow pool of knowledge on the subject.
In the Chinese historical narrative of the “Middle Kingdom,” it means that China is the center of the world and all cultures emanate from it.
China views Korea as it’s doorstop. It is the real estate that keeps the creepy crawly westerners at arm’s length. For the past decade, China has been busily cultivating it’s vassal states in the form of Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and most recently, the Philippines. This has been China’s standard diplomacy for centuries. Our country. currently napping while Asia, like Europe is figuring out how to operate without us.
China of 2017 is nothing like the China of 1950. When we fought China in 1950, it had just come out of a 15 year civil war and war against Japan. It was a backwater, it was poor, all of its military hardware was begged for, borrowed or stolen. The succession of governments after the last dynasty were rife with corruption and fiscally onerous. It was a country constantly in a state of free-fall. Compared with today, China has all the military toys and personnel it needs to look like it means business. They will never be cowed again by western powers.
They’ve learned a lot over the decades. They’ve been watching us closely. This is a far cry from the country that sent the losers of the Chinese Civil War in the millions to North Korea with inadequate clothing and military materiel for the Korean War. China has a it’s shit together. Never in history has the country been this ready, for a real fight.
China is looking for hegemony in Asia. They want the U.S. to leave. They’ve always thought we were juveniles on the world stage and now, with our current administration, they are delighted to fake out our president, smile, nod, and then do whatever they want.
So what are we to do? Learn Chinese. Make Chinese friends. Knowledge is power. That’s saying a lot to Americans who are known for not bothering to learn foreign languages like the rest of the planet. This should motivate people: First, the Chinese are going to make gobs of deals with new trading partners leaving us out economically. Then they’re going to continue building their military and training their people to use that shiny new hardware. A lot of this stuff they bought used from Russia or the Ukraine or hacked and reverse engineered from us. Then they’re going to kick our ass with Solar Power and take the initiative on renewable energy. Finally, when we’re in debt to them for even more money after the horrible recession we are heading for, they’ll start buying our stuff, in bulk. Just like a fire sale. Real estate, companies, patents. When we go bankrupt like President Donald J. Trump with his casinos, we’ll need cash. Then they will step in and “save” us and relish in every bit of humiliation they can mete out on us.
The President of China said this about the United States after the 2008 economic crisis:
“Some foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us. First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”
If you thought the leader of China was our friend, that quote should put that notion to rest.
If I was president my first step wouldn’t be to get my history from the Chinese president. To solve the problems in the region, I’d actually listen to what the South Korean people want. It’s their country that will bear the brunt of any military action. Then I’d get the Germans, together to seriously make a reunification plan that takes China’s geo-political concerns into account. I’d see what the Chinese want, as far as assurances that millions of starving North Koreans don’t flood their borders, and any sort of philosophical issues they might need to resolve with the west. Let’s get these horrible secrets out in the open. Maybe an official apology, coordinated with the English, the Germans, French and the Russians about how horribly they treated China 100 years ago.
Then, I’d set up super deluxe refugee camps just south of the DMZ equipped with food, nice people and schools to help the North Koreans get up to speed with ATM machines, Uber, and all the things they missed out on for the past 70 years.
Once all that is set, I’d set about taking down the DMZ. Fence by fence, landmine by landmine. We’d put up signs that said “Welcome North Korea, we’ve missed you.”
It’s a crazy idea, but Gimbop is freaking delicious, South Korean beer is horrible and I’d love to sit at a table with a bunch of Koreans eating and drinking and talking about a new future. Germany did it. Waiting for China to fix any of this, is a recipe to make sure nothing happens at all. So Mr. President maybe your Reagan moment can be, “Mr. Xi, tear down that fence!“