Trump’s pivot to the Pacific

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Trump's pivot to the Pacific

Every­one is focused on Syria. Lit­er­ally, every­one. To be hon­est though, was any­one sur­prised? I wasn’t. Syria’s best bet would have been to lay low and stay off the radar. Instead, they became a very con­ve­nient way for Pres­i­dent Trump to prove he was seri­ous about the Mid­dle East, show Pres­i­dent Xi he was com­fort­able with mil­i­tary action, and dis­tance him­self from Russia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCWSDibo1gY

If the video doesn’t make you say “‘Murica!” and love the Navy, you need to check your lit­tle red book at the door 🙂

But why is no one focused on this?

North Korea launched yet another inter­me­di­ate range bal­lis­tic mis­sile,” the state­ment read, accord­ing to CNN. “The United States has spo­ken enough about North Korea. We have no fur­ther comment.”

On top of that, Pres­i­dent Trump says he is not afraid to act alone on North Korea.

None of this is acci­den­tal. If you care about human rights, North Korea rou­tinely ranks lower than even Syria. It impris­ons its own peo­ple on a mas­sive scale, has mas­sive issues pro­vid­ing enough food and med­ical care, yet finds the money and effort to build nuclear weapons.

[cap­tion id=”” align=“alignnone” width=“600”] From cartoonmovement.com[/caption]

China has cho­sen to do noth­ing about North Korea because the coun­try is con­ve­nient for them. Not only does North Korea rou­tinely rat­tle Japan, but they keep South Korea (with a very capa­ble mil­i­tary) totally focused on the penin­sula and not on China’s repeated expan­sion else­where. With the rest of the world will­ing to con­demn North Korea but take no actions, China is sit­ting pretty, able to con­tinue expand­ing in the East and South China Seas, as well as in their west­ern ter­ri­to­ries, while cheaply dis­tract­ing Japan, South Korea, and to a lesser extent, the US.

Until now.

Pres­i­dent Trump’s will­ing­ness to go it alone hits the soft under­belly of pol­i­tics with China:

  • It would unite Japan and South Korea in a con­flict. China has always cited past Japan­ese aggres­sion when­ever it con­ducts diplo­matic talks with South Korea. A con­flict would put Japan and South Korea work­ing together, some­thing that would likely bol­ster the stalled improve­ment of rela­tions between both countries.
  • It would give China a mas­sive immi­gra­tion cri­sis. There are eas­ily over 200,000 peo­ple impris­oned in camps, and most of the ~25 mil­lion peo­ple in North Korea live in dirt-​poor con­di­tions. China has always been a des­ti­na­tion for ille­gal immi­gra­tion, and if the North Korean state col­lapses, you would likely see a mas­sive migra­tion north.
  • It would cre­ate a low cost com­peti­tor. When East and West Ger­many reunited, there was a mas­sive eco­nomic boom in East Ger­many. Although it’s likely the South Korean econ­omy would take a bit of a hit, China is much more vul­ner­a­ble, hav­ing based a large amount of its eco­nomic growth on low cost man­u­fac­tur­ing. An open North Korea would be a mag­net for man­u­fac­tur­ers and would likely tank the Chi­nese economy.
  • It would dam­age China’s rep­u­ta­tion. Asian cul­ture in gen­eral is much more con­cerned about ‘sav­ing face’ than West­ern cul­tures. China is try­ing to prove it is an inter­na­tional power, but to have the US walk in and clean up prob­lems in its back­yard is dam­ag­ing to that image.
  • It puts the fight where China doesn’t want it. China sta­tions its best mil­i­tary units near Tai­wan and (increas­ingly) in the South China Sea, and believes that in a fight there it will win. Putting the fight squarely in their back­yard, and with a com­bined South Korea and Japan, places them at a sig­nif­i­cant disadvantage.

We can joke all we want about North Korea being the short bus of nations, but a fight there would be nasty, and the human­i­tar­ian recon­struc­tion after­wards would be mas­sive. Syria’s end state won’t change the map much, but Korea’s end state could sig­nif­i­cantly change the bal­ance of power in that region.

Trump’s pivot to the Pacific has already begun.


This post rep­re­sents only the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other fed­eral agency.

Feel free to check out my blog, and donate to Da Tech Guy!

Everyone is focused on Syria.  Literally, everyone.  To be honest though, was anyone surprised?  I wasn’t.  Syria’s best bet would have been to lay low and stay off the radar.  Instead, they became a very convenient way for President Trump to prove he was serious about the Middle East, show President Xi he was comfortable with military action, and distance himself from Russia.

If the video doesn’t make you say “‘Murica!” and love the Navy, you need to check your little red book at the door 🙂

But why is no one focused on this?

North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile,” the statement read, according to CNN. “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”

On top of that, President Trump says he is not afraid to act alone on North Korea.

None of this is accidental.  If you care about human rights, North Korea routinely ranks lower than even Syria.  It imprisons its own people on a massive scale, has massive issues providing enough food and medical care, yet finds the money and effort to build nuclear weapons.

From cartoonmovement.com

China has chosen to do nothing about North Korea because the country is convenient for them.  Not only does North Korea routinely rattle Japan, but they keep South Korea (with a very capable military) totally focused on the peninsula and not on China’s repeated expansion elsewhere.  With the rest of the world willing to condemn North Korea but take no actions, China is sitting pretty, able to continue expanding in the East and South China Seas, as well as in their western territories, while cheaply distracting Japan, South Korea, and to a lesser extent, the US.

Until now.

President Trump’s willingness to go it alone hits the soft underbelly of politics with China:

  • It would unite Japan and South Korea in a conflict.  China has always cited past Japanese aggression whenever it conducts diplomatic talks with South Korea.  A conflict would put Japan and South Korea working together, something that would likely bolster the stalled improvement of relations between both countries.
  • It would give China a massive immigration crisis.  There are easily over 200,000 people imprisoned in camps, and most of the ~25 million people in North Korea live in dirt-poor conditions.  China has always been a destination for illegal immigration, and if the North Korean state collapses, you would likely see a massive migration north.
  • It would create a low cost competitor.  When East and West Germany reunited, there was a massive economic boom in East Germany.  Although it’s likely the South Korean economy would take a bit of a hit, China is much more vulnerable, having based a large amount of its economic growth on low cost manufacturing.  An open North Korea would be a magnet for manufacturers and would likely tank the Chinese economy.
  • It would damage China’s reputation.  Asian culture in general is much more concerned about ‘saving face‘ than Western cultures.  China is trying to prove it is an international power, but to have the US walk in and clean up problems in its backyard is damaging to that image.
  • It puts the fight where China doesn’t want it.  China stations its best military units near Taiwan and (increasingly) in the South China Sea, and believes that in a fight there it will win.  Putting the fight squarely in their backyard, and with a combined South Korea and Japan, places them at a significant disadvantage.

We can joke all we want about North Korea being the short bus of nations, but a fight there would be nasty, and the humanitarian reconstruction afterwards would be massive.  Syria’s end state won’t change the map much, but Korea’s end state could significantly change the balance of power in that region.

Trump’s pivot to the Pacific has already begun.


This post represents only the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

Feel free to check out my blog, and donate to Da Tech Guy!