“May you live in interesting times.”
–old Chinese curse
Over the past almost four years we have indeed been living in “interesting times”. Not to much you can do, in the short term to change what fate, or happenstance, tosses your way. As a nation, the threat was, if only for a moment, recognized for what it was. The President put the world on notice, “Either you are with us or against us.” there was no middle ground. Great Britain, Spain (at that time), and Italy, were the only European nations of note standing with the US in addressing the threat against not only America but all of Western Civilization. This small (comparatively speaking) group of nations banding together with America, “the coalition of the willing”, are all that stand between us and a new dark age descending upon the world.
The cost in not cheap, but markedly lower then it has ever been in the history of armed conflict. And we are meeting with some success, Iraq has the potential in becoming that rarest of things…an open society in the middle east. Still terror and stagnant ideas / ideals make camp in that region of the world. Iran, chafes under the collar of a theocratic regime, and pose a very real military threat to not only the middle east, but to the world, as they progress toward harnessing the nuclear Gennie. Syria, yet another dictatorial country, adds to the mischief in the region, not only in allowing for agents of terror to cross it’s borders with impunity, but in seeking to destabilize Lebanon, along with doing what it can to bring Israel to it’s knees.
Aside from the radical Islamists, there are others who would like nothing more then to see the West, and especially, the United States, brought to our knees. Almost a world away, North Korea, on almost a daily basis, tweaks the nose of those in the Pacific rim who dare to try and de-fang that rogue state of it’s alleged nuclear capability and it’s exportation of major weapons of war. Then there is the “eight hundred pound gorilla in the room”. The one nation which, outside of radical Islam, should give us the greatest cause for alarm, and the one we seem to consistently keep our heads in the sand about, Communist China.
China is quickly and quietly progressing forward to becoming a global Superpower in every sense of that word. And for the most part, we sit passively by and let it happen. This is done at our peril. As many voices in this country seek to use appeasement and diplomatic nuances to control and contain the Chinese, they fall pray to the very same errors in judgement, which could allow for Islam to become the dominate force throughout the rest of the civilized world. The Chinese, much like the followers of Islam, see appeasement and nuance as a sign of weakness, not strength. They see political offers of concessions…without the very real backing up of same with credible force, as nothing more then stupidit, corruption, and weekness (not that they wouldn’t take advantage of same..remember what they did with Carter and Clinton).
The reason I mentioned the fight against terror earlier on, was to show, in the end, when men of good will directly face and address evil, it is noticed. And not by just our allies. Those who would seek to dominate, force their will and ideals on the world are well aware having America as a determined adversary could see their dream of domination come to an abrupt end. And China is very much one of those who seeks to be, if not “the leading power” in the world, at least equal to whom ever is wearing that mantle.
For now, China seeks to be the dominate force in their part of the world. And aside from Japan, Australia (and to a lesser extent South Korea and Taiwan), we are the only country who can exert any direct pressure on them to contain their expansionist plains….for the time being. They have the manpower, are quickly acquiring (by any means possible) the technology, have the political will and desire, and have always had the patients to wait out adversaries, in order to achieve their ends. It is not inconceivable the Chinese would quietly (seek to) allow agents of terror to ply their trade through out the rest of the world, hoping for the draining of manpower, equipment, and to some extent, national will toward continuing our fight, all the while building their own forces. Would we have the ability to face them in a showdown for, say Taiwan? As we place more and more of our eggs in the basket of “force multipliers”, while at the same time seeing our manpower levels shrink, let alone the very real chance our government could swing to the left in a few short years, causing our foreign policy to change radically. Yes, China need only continue to build, plan, and wait.
The Chinese curse is all too true. Our times are interesting. How we elect to act and react to interesting events at home and abroad, will dictate which of our two countries is the real benefactor of this curse.