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Posts Tagged ‘THAAD’

Washington Complains: China is Doing What We Always Do! | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 20, 2020

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

America will be sorely disappointed if it believes it can convince—or compel with money and threats—its allies into following whatever policies it promulgates. Joining an American campaign against China looks suicidal to Seoul.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/washington-complains-china-is-doing-what-we-always-do/

Beijing is using threats and aid to pressure other governments to toe the line. Wherever did they get that from?

In a new official strategy of confrontation against the People’s Republic of China, the Trump administration has announced its intention “to compel Beijing to cease or reduce actions harmful to the United States’ vital, national interests and those of our allies and partners.”

Explains the strategy paper:

Given Beijing’s increasing use of economic leverage to extract political concessions from or exact retribution against other countries, the United States judges that Beijing will attempt to convert [One Belt One Road] projects into undue political influence and military access. Beijing uses a combination of threat and inducement to pressure governments, elites, corporations, think tanks, and others—often in an opaque manner—to toe the CCP line and censor free expression. Beijing has restricted trade and tourism with Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, and others, and has detained Canadian citizens, in an effort to interfere in these countries’ internal political and judicial processes.

All true. But which government pioneered the use of economic resources to reward and punish other nations? Hint: it was not China.

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

In contrast, governments that have crossed Washington have lost money. In 1956, the Eisenhower administration punished Egypt’s Nasser government by revoking its offer to finance the Aswan High Dam. In 1990, Secretary of State James Baker told Yemen’s UN ambassador, “that was the most expensive no vote you ever cast,” after he voted against the UN Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

Washington has also used trade barriers to reward and punish other states. The U.S. embargoed Cuba six decades ago, and has since applied secondary sanctions that have hit other nations as well. The use of financial sanctions has become Washington’s modus operandi.

Indeed, the Trump administration has dramatically escalated economic warfare, applying “maximum pressure” to Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, hitting Cuba, Russia, and Syria with multiple new penalties, threatening to sanction Europeans if they try to avoid Iranian restrictions, and targeting Germany’s Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline to Russia. The White House treats sanctions as the default response to governments that resist Washington’s dictates.

All of these measures were imposed “in an effort to interfere in [other] countries’ internal political and judicial processes.” In fact, despite Washington’s fervent objections to Russian election meddling in 2016, the U.S. has intervened in more than 80 democratic elections in other nations, including the 1986 presidential contest in Russia.

Yet although America remains number one, China’s economic clout is significant, including with important countries such as South Korea. Indeed, without any sense of irony, Matthew Ha of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently expressed concern that China was thwarting U.S. pressure on Seoul to follow Washington’s policies. For instance, Beijing “launched an economic warfare campaign that cost South Korean companies operating in China at least $15.6 billion in losses” because the Republic of Korea deployed the THAAD missile defense system.

Complained Ha: “To placate China, Seoul eventually agreed not to deploy further THAAD systems, not to join a U.S.-led regional missile defense architecture, and not to form a trilateral U.S.-Japan-ROK alliance.” Moreover, claimed Ha, “due in part to concerns over Chinese retaliation, Seoul has not completely divested its telecommunications infrastructure from the Chinese company Huawei.” Further, “China’s hand is also evident in Seoul’s aversion to the U.S.-and Japan-led ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) initiative,” instead favoring its own policy directed at Southeast Asia.

If all this is due to a $15.6 billion hit, then Washington should take lessons. The Trump administration has caused economic damage to many countries, yet its wrecking-ball sanctions have so far failed in every case: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela all have refused to give into U.S. demands.

The president has been reduced to begging Tehran to negotiate, promising a better deal if it surrenders before November 3 to help his reelection prospects. Iran and Venezuela ridiculed Washington’s threats to interdict Tehran’s tankers. The communists still rule Cuba. Despite two summits, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is strengthening his country’s nuclear deterrent. No one believes that Russia will give up Crimea.

No doubt, South Korea worries about China’s clout, since the Chinese trade more with them than America and Japan combined. But Beijing is also a good excuse to resist U.S. demands seen as unreasonable, especially given that the current president is Moon Jae-in, a man of the left who has no natural affinity for President Trump.

China sees THAAD as part of a U.S.-directed containment system. And South Korea is not the only ally less than enthused by the administration’s demand to displace Huawei. These issues are about more than money. China will always be South Korea’s neighbor and has a long memory. The U.S.’s national government effectively bankrupt and beset with manifold other challenges, is not likely to stick around Korea forever.

The point is, contra Washington’s delusions, South Korean officials do not believe that taking part in an anti-China campaign serves South Korea’s interests. Ha writes: “Beijing’s sway over this key U.S. ally is especially risky amid growing Chinese aggression and competition with the United States. Most recently, Beijing pushed Seoul to bless China’s new national security law designed to crack down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Seeking to avoid conflict, Seoul took a neutral position, thereby undermining the protesters and revealing an alarming inability to support the liberal democratic values that underpin the ROK-U.S. alliance.”

What evidence does Ha have that Seoul wanted to join the complaint? Most of America’s European allies and Asian friends took similarly cautious positions. Even Tokyo ostentatiously refused to join America’s statement on Hong Kong, though the former now says it wants to take the lead on the issue at the next G-7 meeting, to uncertain effect.

Moreover, the U.S. routinely sacrifices other people’s democratic aspirations and human rights for policy ends. Without shame, the administration is assisting the brutally totalitarian and aggressive Saudi dictatorship as it slaughters Yemeni civilians and denies its own people political and religious liberty. Washington stands by as the Egyptian and Bahraini dictatorships brutally crush democracy activists and protesters.

Yet Ha demands action to push—or is that force?—South Korea onto the battlefield against China. He writes: “If its China strategy is to succeed, the Trump administration must counter Beijing’s attempts to undermine U.S. alliances.” Which requires that Washington “assuage ROK concerns about Chinese coercion by committing to proportionately punish China for any attempted coercion and to provide South Korea with immediate economic support to cope with Beijing’s retaliation.”

So Washington, the world’s chief proponent of economic warfare, is going to sanction another country because it organizes a boycott, cuts investment, or restricts trade to another country? And Washington, with a skyrocketing national debt, is going to create a new dole for wealthy countries like South Korea? Imagine the long line of claimants that will develop demanding compensation for following America! But what if Washington’s friends still balk at following U.S. dictates? Will America then sanction them, making them pay for their perfidy?

This bizarre strategy is doomed to fail. Despite Washington’s presumption that it speaks for the world, its allies often disagree. Seoul currently disputes American policy toward North Korea. Unsurprisingly, South Korean policymakers want to preserve peaceful, stable relations with both the U.S. and China.

“If we antagonize China,” observed Moon Chung-in, an adviser to South Korea’s president, “China can pose a military threat to us. Plus, China can support North Korea. Then, we will really have a new Cold War on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.” Of course, some Americans don’t care about the possibility of war “over there,” as Senator Lindsey Graham famously put it. South Koreans understandably see it very differently.

When I ask South Korean diplomats whether they are prepared to allow the U.S. military to use their bases against China in a war over Taiwan, they blanch. There ain’t no way their country is going to be turned into a battleground and made an enemy of the Chinese at Washington’s command.

Washington has enough problems dealing with China without creating a new battleground with little practical benefit to America. The U.S. already is running a trade war, seeking to force compensation for the COVID-19 outbreak, and threatening Chinese concerns with sanctions tied to Iran and North Korea.

America will be sorely disappointed if it believes it can convince—or compel with money and threats—its allies into following whatever policies it promulgates. Joining an American campaign against China looks suicidal to Seoul. Demanding that South Korea choose between Washington and Beijing could wreck the alliance. Right now, hubris poses a bigger threat than China to U.S. foreign policy.

Be seeing you

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Price of the Alliance: The F-35 Undermines Korean Peace, South Korea’s National Security – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2019

One might wonder why South Korea is even taking delivery of a plane that, as a model, is still being evaluated and is by no means near full development seventeen years into the program. This is because Lockheed Martin is fast-tracking the rollout of units for foreign purchase to offset the outrageous cost of the program. Essentially South Korea is buying a fleet of unfinished, defective jets.

I wonder what the Boltonesque non-refusable deal was that would make SK buy and flaunt a piece of junk to jeopardize peace.

https://original.antiwar.com/Stu_Smallwood/2019/10/15/price-of-the-alliance-the-f-35-undermines-korean-peace-south-koreas-national-security/

South Korean President Moon Jae-in did something very unusual in early October for a leader who once deemed the Korean peace process among the highest priorities of his administration: He promoted the very fighter jets that North Korea says undermine diplomacy.

President Moon was on hand to celebrate the first delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-35A “next generation” fighter jets that, with 40 in total set to arrive by 2021, represent the most expensive weapons purchase in South Korean history according to Reuters.

“The war of the future will be a fight of science and intelligence against all elements that threaten our people’s safety and property,” Moon said in a speech to promote the jets, noting that he felt “secure about the might of [South Korea’s] military armed with new … F-35As.”

Diplomacy with North Korea aside, one could accept South Korea’s introduction of the F-35A as a necessary evil for national security if the jets were crucial to addressing a critical shortcoming in military capacity. But the evidence suggests the opposite – that there is, in fact, nothing “scientific” or “intelligent” about the purchase. Nor is there any clear need to publicly celebrate the delivery of these jets, using them as a prop to appear strong on national security (itself an acquiescence to South Korea’s hawkish right wing) at a time when the peace process is hanging over the abyss by a thread.

The F-35 Fuels North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Advancements

Perception rules when it comes to national security and the F-35A is, in theory, a game-changer for South Korean force projection. Official claims suggest the jet threatens North Korea’s ability to retaliate in the face of a US-South Korean invasion. This is hugely problematic because a basic element of military strategy is maintaining not only the capacity, but (just as importantly) the appearance of the capacity, to respond with prohibitive force in the event of an enemy attack.

This appearance alone should be enough to discourage any rational actor from considering a pre-emptive strike. This concept is commonly referred to as mutually assured destruction in nuclear warfare, but the principle is the same for conventional weaponry. North Korea relies heavily on ballistic missiles and artillery targeting South Korea for this purpose. As things currently stand, the threat of massive casualties in Seoul is enough to prevent overt attempts at North Korean regime change.

Yet, the F-35A is said to be a stealth jet that can travel undetected at unprecedented speeds to deliver payloads to a target. This would – again in theory – allow the South Korean air force to fly into North Korean territory undetected and destroy their ballistic missile launchers, dealing a serious blow to their retaliatory capabilities and potentially making the price of an invasion much less prohibitive…

Problems Abound for the Unfinished, Inadequately Tested F-35A

Without access to the F-35A, North Korea is forced to believe the hype – and respond to the potential threat it represents. But one would naturally assume South Korea, as an ally of the United States and reliable purchaser of US weaponry surely has in-depth knowledge of just what the F-35A is – and isn’t – capable of. This makes President Moon’s use of the jets as a national security prop all the more disconcerting because even official reports indicate the F-35A is a turkey.

Not even the US military knows whether the jet will ever be reliable because it hasn’t even come close to being adequately tested and still faces myriad issues. Dan Grazier, an F-35 expert at the Project On Government Oversight, reported in August that the F-35 test fleet has only achieved an 11 percent “fully mission capable rate” – embarrassingly low when the initial goal was to reach 80 percent readiness by the end of operational testing.

One might wonder why South Korea is even taking delivery of a plane that, as a model, is still being evaluated and is by no means near full development seventeen years into the program. This is because Lockheed Martin is fast-tracking the rollout of units for foreign purchase to offset the outrageous cost of the program. Essentially South Korea is buying a fleet of unfinished, defective jets…

The purchase of the F-35A must be viewed in this context – in the same vein as the introduction of the THAAD system, which itself is an unproven technology that strains South Korea’s relationship with China as well as North Korea. If the acquisition of flawed and untested weaponry is the price of the alliance, at what point does the alliance itself become prohibitively expensive, both in terms of raw tax dollars and the threat to regional stability?

It is bad enough that a supposed peace president not only fails to address this question; that he flaunts the dubious and provocative F-35A as a political prop is all the more troubling and indicative of South Korea’s unfortunate role in relation to the US – a loyal customer of US weapons above all, regardless of its national interest.

Be seeing you

Screenshot of Korean War from American History Lux

 

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Are We Really Capable Of Shooting Down North Korean Missiles?

Posted by M. C. on September 22, 2017

The excuse for not shooting down missiles flying over Japan is that they were no threat to the US. Well why are we over there. Why do we continue to limit Japan’s military capability (thanks to WW II unconditional surrender) and make a big deal about being their protector? This would not seem to be a confidence builder for the Japanese citizenry.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-21/are-we-really-capable-shooting-down-north-korean-missiles

Maybe the reason we haven’t shot down North Korea’s test missiles is that we can’t. While we all certainly hope that our military would be able to successfully defend the country against incoming missiles, we need to be prepared for any possibility. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2017

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/05/17/trump-to-unveil-plans-for-an-arab-nato-in-saudi-arabia/?utm_term=.1fd597c7a6bd

“The U.S. has sought for a long time to get the Saudis to do more to focus on its navy, to modernize and make the forces in the Gulf more effective,” said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “From the U.S. perspective, the stronger the Saudi deterrent is, the lower the risk of any military confrontation with Iran.”

Trump continues to go back on the promises that got him elected.

There is one NATO already.  It is supported by US taxpayers and there is no reason the US taxpayer won’t be supporting an Arab (meaning Saudi) NATO. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lockheed Martin-Funded Experts Agree: South Korea Needs More Lockheed Martin Missiles

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2017

http://fair.org/home/lockheed-martin-funded-experts-agree-south-korea-needs-more-lockheed-martin-missiles/

As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to rise, one think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has become a ubiquitous voice on the topic of missile defense, providing Official-Sounding Quotes to dozens of reporters in Western media outlets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is a Korean Missile Crisis Ahead?

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2017

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/03/patrick-j-buchanan/war-china/?_sm_byp=iVV7ZnvNMVJD0pWH

Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April. “The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way,” says Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “Are (they) really ready for a head-on collision?”

This set-off alarms in China. For while THAAD cannot shoot down Scuds on the DMZ, its radar can detect missile launches inside China, thereby, says Beijing, imperiling her deterrent.

For accepting THAAD, China has imposed sanctions on Seoul and promised the U.S. a commensurate strategic response. Minister Wang’s proposal for resolving the crisis: The U.S. and Seoul cancel the exercises and North Korea suspends the nuclear and missile tests.

Gen. James Mattis’ warning last month was unambiguous: Read the rest of this entry »

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