by Tony Cartalucci
On March 26, 2010, the ROKS Cheonan is hit by what appears to be a German-made torpedo, sinks while claiming the lives of 46 South Korean sailors. The world, America at the lead, was quick to point its finger at North Korea before South Korea itself ruled them out as a suspect. North Korea adamantly insisted it was not behind the attack, and despite their paranoid and isolated posture, little beyond insanity could serve as a motive.
Despite evidence adding up otherwise, to no one’s surprise a joint “international” investigation by the US, UK, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and Sweden would later
conclude that a North Korean submarine was the culprit, leaving even most South Koreans skeptical.
During this period of time, America’s position in Asia Pacific was already waning. Endless war in Central Asia and the Middle East, along with a deepening economic crisis in the West allowed other actors to begin eying the seemingly inevitable void soon to be left. Japan under then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, began reasserting itself over unpopular US military installations scattered throughout the nation. China was continuing to expand its economic and diplomatic influence in the region, luring in even America’s traditional allies like Australia and Thailand.
The sinking of the ROKS Cheonan then “serendipitously” served as a reminder as to why America claims their troops and influence are needed in the region for “peace and security.” The Korean Won tumbled as the US Dollar was temporarily bolstered and Japanese PM Hatoyama not only conceded to US demands regarding US installations, but would also resign over the matter. Literally citing the mysterious, still unsolved sinking of the Cheonan, Washington insisted its need to reassert itself in Asia to counter North Korea, if not for any other reason.
Korea, either out of shadowy complicity or because of its paranoid
predictable nature, became America’s greatest ally in many ways.
2010, a similar scenario played out after an artillery
exchange between North and South Korea which claimed several lives.
America was again bolstered in its highly tenuous position not only in
Asia as a whole, but on the Korean Peninsula itself, having been
rebuffed on the US-Korean FTA and facing the possibility of US banking
interests meeting with Tobin taxes in Korean markets.
Korean leadership now admits they were conducting joint US-Korean live
fire exercises close to highly contested waters in the Yellow Sea before
the exchange took place. North Korea maintains this incident was
intentionally provoked, as was the sinking of the Cheonan, as contrived
incidents of opportunity for the waning American empire to reassert
like the sinking of the Cheonan, America once again renewed the
rhetorical lease on its presence in Asia Pacific.
America’s “Asia Pivot”
Fast forward to today, 2013, and the openly declared US policy entitled, the “pivot toward Asia.”
Built upon the ultimate goal of encircling and containing China, it
hinges on special interests cobbling Southeast Asia into a regional
European Union-style bloc to then be used economically, politically, and
militarily against China. In fact, in recent island disputes, this
ASEAN bloc is already being tested out as a collective proxy to maintain
US hegemony in Asia Pacific.
While the “pivot” appears to be “new” US foreign policy, it is deeply
rooted in long-conspired hegemonic ambitions. As far back as 1997,
America corporate-financier think-tanks had been documenting their
intentions to pursue just such a containment policy with the expressed
goal of maintaining American dominance across Asia Pacific. Neo-Con
policy maker Robert Kagan penned a fairly insightful 1997 piece in the
Weekly Standard titled, “What China Knows That We Don’t: The Case for a New Strategy of Containment,”
where he discusses the prospects of an effective containment strategy
coupled with the baited hook of luring China into its place amongst the
The present world order serves the needs of the United States and its
allies, which constructed it. And it is poorly suited to the needs of a
Chinese dictatorship trying to maintain power at home and increase its
clout abroad. Chinese leaders chafe at the constraints on them and worry
that they must change the rules of the international system before the
international system changes them.
Here, Kagan openly admits that the “world order,” or the “international
order,” is simply American-run global hegemony, dictated by US
interests. These interests, it should be kept in mind, are not those of
the American people, but of the immense corporate-financier interests of the Anglo-American establishment. Kagan continues (emphasis added):
In truth, the debate over whether we should or should
not contain China is a bit silly. We are already containing China — not
always consciously and not entirely successfully, but enough to annoy
Chinese leaders and be an obstacle to their ambitions. When the Chinese
used military maneuvers and ballistic-missile tests last March to
intimidate Taiwanese voters, the United States responded by sending the
Seventh Fleet. By this show of force, the U.S. demonstrated to Taiwan,
Japan, and the rest of our Asian allies that our role as their defender
in the region had not diminished as much as they might have feared.
Thus, in response to a single Chinese exercise of muscle, the links of
containment became visible and were tightened.
The new China hands insist that the United States needs
to explain to the Chinese that its goal is merely, as [Robert] Zoellick writes,
to avoid “the domination of East Asia by any power or group of powers
hostile to the United States.” Our treaties with Japan, South Korea, the
Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, and our naval and military forces
in the region, aim only at regional stability, not aggressive
But the Chinese understand U.S. interests perfectly
well, perhaps better than we do. While they welcome the U.S. presence as
a check on Japan, the nation they fear most, they can see clearly that
America’s military and diplomatic efforts in the region severely limit
their own ability to become the region’s hegemon. According to Thomas J.
Christensen, who spent several months interviewing Chinese military and
civilian government analysts, Chinese leaders worry that they will
“play Gulliver to Southeast Asia’s Lilliputians, with the United States
supplying the rope and stakes.”
What Kagan is talking about is maintaining American preeminence across
all of Asia and producing a strategy of tension to divide and limit the
power of any single player vis-a-vis Wall Street and London’s hegemony.
Kagan would continue (emphasis added):
The changes in the external and internal behavior of the
Soviet Union in the late 1980s resulted at least in part from an
American strategy that might be called “integration through containment
and pressure for change.”
Such a strategy needs to be applied to China today. As
long as China maintains its present form of government, it cannot be
peacefully integrated into the international order. For China’s current
leaders, it is too risky to play by our rules — yet our unwillingness
to force them to play by our rules is too risky for the health of the
international order. The United States cannot and should not be willing
to upset the international order in the mistaken belief that
accommodation is the best way to avoid a confrontation with China.
We should hold the line instead and work for political
change in Beijing. That means strengthening our military capabilities in
the region, improving our security ties with friends and allies, and
making clear that we will respond, with force if necessary, when China
uses military intimidation or aggression to achieve its regional
ambitions. It also means not trading with the Chinese military or doing
business with firms the military owns or operates. And it means imposing
stiff sanctions when we catch China engaging in nuclear proliferation.
Clearly, however, this “perception” of US military decline has only been
heightened as the Wall Street-London financier model of “economic
growth” has been revealed as an untenable global Ponzi scheme versus the
Chinese model of industrial production and infrastructure expansion.
The military might required to contain China is also politically and
economically unjustifiable, and increasingly so.
Image: From the Strategic Studies Institute’s 2006 “String of Pearls” report
detailing a strategy of containment for China, the evolution of Kagan’s
1997 paper, and the strategic foundation for much of the engineered
violence now unraveling along the “string of pearls” from Pakistan to
Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, to the islands of the South China Sea.
It appears possible that US policy makers committed to a
losing strategy based on inaccurate interpretations and projections
regarding the collapse of the Soviet Union and its comparison to the
Chinese. US policy makers have led the populations of Western
civilization down a dead-end in pursuit of global hegemony instead of
one of domestic economic and technological progress, and now depend on a
steady diet of contrived crises the West can then play a role in
Perpetuating and Harnessing North Korean Paranoia Belligerence
A reverse in the West’s
decline is unlikely especially when the prescription is more of the
same uninspired, antiquated policies that created the decline in the
first place. Cultivating animosity between Southeast Asia and China, as
well as depending on the predictable belligerence of North Korea are two
of the remaining tricks Wall Street and London have left to justify
their continued presence in Asia – both of which serve only to
destabilize the region and jeopardize the collective peace and
prosperity of people all across Asia.
North Korea’s belligerence
in particular, is directly proportional to the US’ meddling on the
Korean Peninsula. It should be noted that the US State Department,
starting in 2008, had been training North Korean “activists” alongside
those who would take part in the US-engineered “Arab Spring.” In Foreign Policy’s 2011 article “Revolution U,”
where the story of US-funded and trained “activism” is told, North
Korean activists are
mentioned several times as recipients of the same US State Department
training used by proxies to help overthrow the
governments of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt – all three it should be
mentioned are now brutal sectarian dictatorships bent in service to the
IMF and Western interests, that make their excised predecessors look
progressive in comparison.
To what extent these “activists” have sowed unrest inside North Korea
upon their return is unknown – but it represents one of the many covert
means the US can prod the North with to provoke what would appear to be
otherwise “unprovoked” aggression.
Like ship sails to the wind, American foreign
policy makers are outstretched and ready to harness North Korea’s
belligerence, and in the case of the Cheonan’s sinking or the training
of “activists” to return home and sow unrest, apparently blow on the
sails themselves when the winds are calm. A reclusive hereditary
communist dictatorship sounds scary, but those with no qualms utilizing
dictatorship at the risk of regional or world war, are even scarier.
Worth repeating, was Donald Rumsfeld’s
position on the board of directors of ABB out of Zurich, when the
engineering firm sold North Korea the nuclear technology they later used
as the basis of their nuclear arms program. Rumsfeld would then later,
as Secretary of Defense in the ever revolving door between big business
and corporate-fascist government, leverage the enhanced menace of North Korea
against America’s supposed ally in the south.
highlights that the stability America represents in Asia Pacific is not
one of rule of law and healthy foreign diplomacy, but rather one of
holding stability over the head of the region with the constant threat
of unhinging peace through carefully arranged events, be it staging
Maoist color revolutions in Bangkok, funding the Khmer Rouge, in 2010 training land grabbing troops in Cambodia, or repeatedly provoking an unstable military dictatorship on the Korean Peninsula.
The Key to Peace in Asia – Remove America’s Presence
China, Japan, or South Korea can offer a substantial alternative
focused on cooperation without the need to mercilessly strip national
sovereignty and force integration politically and economically as the
West’s ASEAN and AEC are poised to do, then the manipulative invasive
of the Anglo-American banking elite and their already collapsing global
order, no matter how much peace America manages or threatens to
unhinge, will be all
but expelled from the region.
The key to peace in Korea, and across greater Asia, is removing entirely
and permanently the hegemonic influence of Wall Street and London.
National governments can achieve this by cultivating a more independent,
self-sufficient, inward-looking socioeconomic strategy that uses
foreign trade more as a supplement for a strong, domestic economy.
Individually, people across Asia need to recognize the special interests
lurking behind the roll-out of ASEAN and the subsequent ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
– and how it represents in no way the interests of the people of
Southeast Asia – and how it will lead to a protracted and destructive
confrontation with China over many years to come.
The alleged opportunities ASEAN and AEC has promised, like those the
European Union promised and promptly broke for millions of Europeans,
can easily be replaced by more sustainable, local development – much of
which is already present and expanding across Asia. The illusion of “Pax
Americana” is one insidiously maintained by the Wall Street-London
elite who both create the “problems” and then convenient “solutions” in
an increasingly transparent regional racket akin to gangsters extorting
protection money from local neighborhood shops. Asia outnumbers and
overpowers the crumbling Wall Street-London international order many
times over – now is the time they remove this manipulative regressive
influence from their midst once and for all.