Hey Look--A Shitty Article About Asia!

Robert Kaplan, a writer for the Atlantic Monthly, considers American imperialist concerns in Asia in the Times. The article is anything but pacific.

Here's my favorite part:

Asia’s military-economic vigor is the product of united political, economic and military elites

Aside from the grossly sweeping nature of the statement, it may not even be very accurate, as far as grossly sweeping statements go. He wrote this in the weeks after: the Japanese prime minister resigned; Nepal's Maoists quit the government; Pakistan is in the throws of yet another change of rule; Sri Lanka is in the middle of the civil war that does not end; Burma's government is facing perhaps the most serious challenge to its rule since 1988, and India's Left has threatened to pull the rug out from under the ruling coalition because of a proposed nuclear deal with the U.S.

No, wait, I changed my mind, this is my favorite part:

Because we remain the only major player in the Pacific and Indian Oceans without territorial ambitions or disputes with its neighbors, indispensability, rather than dominance, must be our goal. That, continuing deep into the 21st century, would be a stirring achievement.

Ah, ambitionless America, keeper of the peace. When will that myth finally die? That would be a stirring achievement.

Wait, I changed my mind again: this is my favorite part:

Even with the gargantuan cost of Iraq, our defense budget is still under 5 percent of our gross domestic product, low by historical standards.

Read: "The Asians are coming! The Asians are coming! Military buildup!" And, in fact, that's the whole argument behind the piece.

Well, at least he gets two important things right: The buildup of military power among the more wealthy or sizable Asian countries is frightening; and Africa's people will probably be f#cked, one way or another.

Still, I wish he had stuck to his own ocean ;)

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Comments

[...] by Jack Stephens on

[...] by Jack Stephens on October 8th, 2007 Dr. Anonymous blogs about an article that Robert Kaplan wrote for the Times about Asian and its political future: [...]

Change in governments won’t

Change in governments won’t matter. You think Abe was any different from Koizumi (aside from the mean Elvis impersonation and that great haircut)?

Well, changes in governmental systems matter (e.g. Pakistan) whether for better or worse, but yes, that part was unfair on my part. I just couldn't stomach the whole 'Asia is dangerous!!!!!! The US must save the world!!!!!' argument. Blatant hypocrisy.

I'd say the whole thrust of the argument is given away by the frequent use of "we." ;)

I'd say the whole argument

I'd say the whole argument behind the piece is this part:

Furthermore, the very vitality of nation-states in the Pacific and Indian Oceans will take us back to an older world of traditional statecraft, in which we will need to tirelessly leverage allies and seek cooperation from competitors.

The military buildup in Asia is scary. The Malabar exercises in the Bay of Bengal, which have been going on for the past 15 years, now included Japan, Australia, Singapore, the US, and India. The Indian military elites are cooperating with the Burmese "military elites" more every year for the past 10 years by giving them used equipment and old weapons. The Indians turned on Burmese groups fighting against the junta and undermined them. The Chinese do a wonderful business of small arms trade into India's NE through Burma. You can find Chinese weapons all over, in fact, some funneled through the Pakistan and Bangladesh military and ending up in the hands of small insurgent groups. At least Singh called the Left Front out on its support for China.

Realist politics, continuing every day in Asia. Change in governments won't matter. You think Abe was any different from Koizumi (aside from the mean Elvis impersonation and that great haircut)?

in related news, moronic

in related news, moronic comparison of the week:

"'If Hitler’s warnings were heeded when he wrote ‘Mein Kampf,’ he could have been stopped,' said Bradley Blakeman, 49, the president of Freedom’s Watch and a former deputy assistant to Mr. Bush. 'Ahmadinejad is giving all the same kind of warning signs to us, and the region — he wants the destruction of the United States and the destruction of Israel.'"

Yes, all the same warning signs. Exactly the same. And the situations are so comparable! Don't these people have any other comparisons besides World War II? Why not throw in a good Peloponnesian War reference here or there or perhaps the Crusades?

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