Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Global War Design by Erick San Juan

Global War Design by Erick San Juan

Another global hotspot is brewing and if not manage with cool heads and by strategic thinkers, another regional conflict is in the offing. We are referring to the Korean Peninsula – the North and South Korea that lately has become another tinderbox that is waiting for a 'spark' that could trigger its explosion.

Like the most talked about controversial ADIZ courtesy of China in the region, there is another far worse controversy that is not welcome in the region – THAAD.

In his article “The Korean Crisis and the THAAD Missile Deployment: A Growing Tinderbox in the South”, Caleb Maupin writes: “As the first military hardware associated with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, commonly called THAAD, arrives in the southern region of the Korean Peninsula, the tensions around and within the  region seem to be escalating. A number of ongoing crises in South Korea are starting to take their toll, and could have regional and global implications.

The most prominent source of tension is the new missile system being erected in cooperation with the United States. The narrative in US media surrounding THAAD is that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, smeared as “the crazy North Koreans,” is threatening to destroy the Republic of Korea located in the south. The new missile system is said to simply be a mechanism for protecting a vulnerable, democratic US ally, that faces being wiped out. Mark Toner of the US State Department described the erection of THAAD as “frankly a response to a threat.”

Who is mad about THAAD? And Why?

Objections to THAAD are not only coming from Pyongyang. Moscow and Beijing have both spoken up against the new missile system for reasons that are routinely ignored in US media discourse.

South Korea is hardly unprotected and alone. This is the reason why wealthy Koreans are migrating worldwide to avoid a possible shooting war in the offing. Many Koreans in the Philippines are creating their own Korean towns in key cities where they can do commerce.

The United States already has 28,500 troops in South Korea. It also has F-16 fighter aircraft and A-10 bomber jets. South Korea’s military is also very well stocked, with F-35 Fighter Jets, Aegis Destroyers, and all kinds of military hardware purchased from the United States.

The THAAD missile system being erected in a contract with Lockheed-Martin, in cold war terms, is a “strike enabling system.” Once the system is completed, the US and South Korean forces that are already in the Peninsula are free to launch an attack on North Korea, China, or Russia. The THAAD system, modeled after Israel’s Iron Dome, would prevent retaliation strikes aimed at disabling the attackers. THAAD enables the US and South Korea to begin striking countries in the region, while shielding themselves from any response. Furthermore, THAAD includes a radar system that will closely monitor regional activity, not only in North Korea, but also in northern China.

Its not hard to tell why Russia and China are loudly objecting to this multi-billion dollar military project. Strike enabling systems with penetrating radars are not a mechanism of defusing tension, in an already tense region. THAAD is the latest development in the Pentagon’s ongoing “Asian Pivot,” moving forces into the Pacific. Similar moves have already escalated tensions in the South China Sea.”

The Pentagon’s ‘Asian Pivot’ is still very much in place and has already created an arms race and a modern day cold war producing more tension in the already tense region.

Even within South Korea “many Koreans have protested against the completion of the THAAD project. The demonstrators, by and large, are not even subversives nor radicals, but simply patriotic Koreans who believe hostile moves against their Chinese and Russian neighbors do not serve the country’s interest. Among opponents is the well-known politician Lee Jae-myung, who is one of the “big three” likely to run in the upcoming Korean presidential election.

Lee Jae-Myung, who wants the US military presence scaled back, is one of the so called “big three” expected to run in the upcoming election. More and more Koreans agree with his argument that allying with the United States against the north, China, and Russia, is not in the people’s best interest. Furthermore, less than 4% of the population stands behind the disgraced President Park. South Korea could soon be moving in the same direction as the Philippines, where the long standing neoliberal, pro-American status quo was shaken up by the election of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

With the THAAD controversy boiling, amid bribery scandals, impeachment proceedings, discontent with the status quo, and renewed tensions with the North, and ailing economy, the southern half of the Korean peninsula is gradually becoming more and more of a global hotspot. The point of disagreement seems to be about the role southern Korean will play in the world. Will it remain an extension of US influence in Asia, or will the southern half of the Korean peninsula follow in the footsteps of its powerful Chinese neighbors and northern countryfolk? Will Koreans in the south declare their economic, political, and military independence from the United States and Japan?

These questions, which have driven so many uprisings, protests, military coups, and strikes since 1945 are not going away any time soon. (Source: Caleb Maupin, political analyst and activist based in New York)

It seems more and more flashpoints are created due to geopolitical and economic issues between nations in the hottest spot in the world, the Asia-Pacific region and the programmed design of a global war is inevitable and the delay is getting shorter like a ticking bomb.

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