important delegations arrived in Beijing this week – both hoping that
China can help defuse a crisis.
US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is looking to the Chinese
to exert pressure on North Korea and relieve the tension that threatens
to result in chaos and death on the peninsula. After the DPRK turned
its back on the Non-Proliferation Treaty and demanded a Non-Aggression
Pact and a resumption of aid, the US found itself facing a spitting,
starving alley cat with a nuke strapped to its back.
and unwilling to crush North Korea for its insolence, the Administration
backed down from its earlier "no negotiation" stance and
promised aid and further contact in exchange for North Korea scrapping
its nuclear program.
This was enough to bring China out of the corner and
onto the stage with an offer to host the talks that Bush vowed he
would not hold. As the US loses face and prestige, China is reaching
out and taking its opportunity to appear helpful and influential
while not actually doing anything.
But this is a step by step process and what North Korea
is really doing is calling out for help and attention. The actual
likelihood of nuclear war has passed, now that the US has agreed
to talk, and the real problem laid before the feet of the developed
nations with a stake in East Asia (Japan, North Korea, China and the
US) is the rehabilitation of a dead and/or dying nation.
It will take years to get North Korea to come out of
its shell and years still to bring the nation "out of the dark
ages and into the light."
US – currently undertaking a "sonic speed" transformation
of the Afghan landscape under the able leadership of Paul Wolfowitz – still
may go to war in Iraq and may commit to some form of developmental
aid to North Korea when the talks finally take place. With three
rogues under construction and Iran, Yemen, Syria and other evil
nations in need of a good dose of American-ism, it looks as if Foreign
Service, Peace Corps and developmental NGOs based in the US will
have a lot on their hands in the next decade or two.
Is this the destiny of a hegemon: incessantly spending
the people's money in order to rebuild a nation the Empire has destroyed?
Is it a form of Manifest Destiny to destroy and then remold a nation/person
in the image of one's self?
Secretary of State James Kelly's trip to China may have more to
do with the next 20 years on the Korean peninsula than with the
current "nuclear arms crisis." The crisis came at the
perfect time for North Korea, which was in desperate need for aid
and attention as well as something to take the people's minds off
of their stomachs.
investor buddy Sky has been begging me to go and visit my family
in Turkey. He mentions the beauty and mystery of a nation he has
never visited and the need to see family members neither of us have
is it that he really wants? Perhaps the chance to help bring Turkey
out of the economic pit in which it finds itself by increasing the
number of trade routes between the two nations – trade routes that
are built upon some of the most ancient caravan roads in the world.
Just this week, Turkey's State Institute of Statistics announced
that the country's gross domestic product fell 7.4 percent last
year, while its gross national product, which includes foreign income,
plunged 9.4 percent.
currently imports 2 billion-plus from China and exports just 48
million. This ratio has no real chance of balancing out as exports
into China tend to be high-end, high-tech Western goods – goods Turkey
also imports. The demand in China for Turkish rugs and hookahs
is quite low at the moment. Things may change, and this is
why Turkish JDP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in China.
East Turkestan issue may or may not be a fly in the Sino-Turkish
oinment, but it doesn't matter: Erdogan will tell China anything
it wants to hear in exchange for increased trade, tourism, investment,
aid etc., including
issuing a joint statement calling for a stronger UN role in a peaceful
solution of the Iraq crisis. This statement coming just a few
days after Turkey granted the US permission to inspect suitable
sites for airbases, used to bomb the hell out of Iraq.
The US has also promised serious reward money ($28
billion, give or take), so Turkey feels no moral pangs in flapping
its gums one way and then the other in order to get the money. Erdogan
was recently elected, remember – an unpopular war can always be forgotten
if the money starts flowing.
China, as always, seems to straddle the fence just
right: getting the words it needs from both nations (ONE CHINA)
to increase prestige on the home front, the huge delegations of
foreign businessmen eager to help prop up a top heavy economy and
the chance to make its first baby steps as an international player
in a crisis that promises to push the US ever further into the role
of partner, not competitor.
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is a teacher living and working in China. His articles have appeared
in the South China Morning Post, the Minnesota Daily,
and elsewhere. His exclusive Antiwar.com column (usually) appears
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