Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the World...

While the US is involved with its election cycle and its media ignores the rest of the world, massive global events are changing the face of the map.

China today took over another territory, pushing the Philippines out. The helpless island nation can do nothing but cry out to the UN for action, action that body is unwilling to take in the face of the power of Chinese military might. This is only the last in a long line of Chinese moves to annex the entirety of the South China Sea using their "nine dashed line" area argument.

This claim only goes back as far as the 1940s according to Vietnam, which has documentation they maintain verifies their claim going back centuries. The idea of international waters apparently has no weight in any of these nations' arguments, as they all want these islands. China wants them because they are strategic military points for control of the South China Sea, as does Vietnam. The Philippines wants them because they are bases for their fishing industry. Indonesia eyes the whole thing nervously as a possible military problem in future.

Combine this latest Chinese aggravation with the tension between it and Taiwan and you have a burning fuse toward an explosion that could include most of the countries in the Far East. Worse yet, the UN is bound to turn to the US to either send peace-keeping forces or intervene in talks since the US supports the independence of Taiwan (albeit indirectly) and is a sponsor of the autonomy of the Philippines.

The US has already said they will not recognize any restrictions China places on movement in the area. That puts it in the forefront of this dispute even before the general public are aware of the problem. The one group that might be able to make a difference, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), can't come to agreement as to what to do about this. 

People talk about Iran or the Middle East as being the main trouble spot in the world. Not so. The Middle East has been on the boil for centuries and not boiled over because they have so many internal problems they can't organize well enough to create a major conflict. China, on the other hand, a nuclear power with a standing army of over 2 million and a high-tech air and naval force, is well-organized and determined to expand. 

It might be a good idea to learn Mandarin.