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Beware of China

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

After World War II, the balance of power in the world shifted to four axis points, the USSR, China, Great Britain and the United States.

The United Kingdom’s power base has always been dependent on its allegiance with the United States and our unmatched military machine.

Nevertheless, the planet’s terrain was dominated by Communist nations for the majority of the 20th century.

American citizens perceived that the big bad Communist bear was a threat to the welfare and well being of the US population.

Growing up in New York City, I vividly remember the orange and black “fallout shelter” signs all over the city that designated sites for citizens to retreat to in the event of a nuclear attack.

I remember learning about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis in history class and having a feeling of dread that Cuba, acting as a puppet regime to the Soviet Union, would someday facilitate a Russian invasion into the United States.

Forty-two years later, there are only two bullies fighting for king of the hill, the US and China.

I made the assertion a few years ago in an on-line magazine that I believed the United States and China were destined to have an armed conflict, this week we moved significantly closer to that reality.

Kim Jong Il, prime minister of North Korea, may be many things, but one of the things that he is not is a fool.

He knows fully well that his country could not survive a war with the United States or Great Britain if the Koreans were to fight alone.

His recent display of his nation’s pathetic missile program was not as much a show of North Korea’s military might as much as it was a signal to the world that his country has reason to not fear reprisal from the international community.

In other words, somebody has his back.

That somebody would be China.

North Korea’s recent missile testing is a precursor to the inevitable showdown between America and the country with the largest population in the history of civilization.

Our nation and China have had a tumultuous relationship for as long as mankind has been recording history, with both nations publicly maintaining the charade of amicable relations while secretly detesting each other.

Brief reflections of recent US-Chinese interaction clearly show the hidden tension that exists between the two nations:

In the spring of 2001, a U.S. spy plane crash-landed in China and the Chinese government held on to the plane for 11 days before letting our government get their plane back. Ten days after we retrieved the last parts of that plane, China was awarded the 2008 Olympic games.

In 2004, China released a report detailing the human rights atrocities in the United States, the second such report in a three-year span.

In the report the Chinese government had this to say about the U.S.:

“American society is characterized with rampant violent crimes, severe infringement of people’s rights by law enforcement departments and lack of guarantee for people’s rights to life, liberty and security of person.”

In 2005 China passed legislation that would allow them to invade Taiwan, an island that China claims is part of their territory. When pressured by the United States to reverse their policy toward the nation which has held its independence since 1949, China stated that although they had made it legal to invade Taiwan, there were currently no plans by their government to do so.

While the US does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, Japan does view the remote island as an independent nation and has vowed to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

The United States has committed itself to defending Japan so really, what’s the difference?

Couple all of that with the fact that South Korea has not taken a position of admonishment concerning North Korea’s recent missile deployment and the fact that North and South Korea will field a unified Olympic team for the first time since 1953, it is easy to see that the nations of the Far East are revitalizing their cultural identities.

That does not bode well for America.

One of the most damaging aspects of the current conflicts in the Middle East has been the erosion of international confidence in the U.S.

When, not if, China decides to make its power play, it will be hard for the US to garner any international support.

The proximity of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, all antagonists of the US, to the vast remote land tracts of China could present a logistical nightmare for any US military offensive.

A war between China and the US would be catastrophic for both sides, so it is more likely that the two nations would carve up half of the globe and agree to stay out of each other’s way.

I expect that these tensions will escalate to a tipping point during the 2008 Olympics and surely will affect the outcome of that year’s presidential election.

In his efforts to become President of the United States, North Korea may have just become John McCain’s biggest ally and the Democratic Party’s biggest nightmare.

The prevailing sentiment among many political pundits was that the Democrats would not have too much difficulty unseating the Republicans in this year’s mid term elections as well as the 2008 presidential race.

Unfortunately for the Democrats neither New York Senator Hillary Clinton, nor former North Carolina senator John Edwars command much international respect, and McCain’s military background could make him the country’s savior if faced with a possible Chinese stand off.

It’s funny what a couple of weak missiles can do. Hopefully we won’t have to break out the “fallout shelter” signs, again.