Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tipping Point of War by Erick San Juan

Tipping Point of War by Erick San Juan

In the history of the world, several wars were fought in the Asia-Pacific region and with the continuing provocation after provocation between nations especially in the hottest contested area – the South China Sea, the Philippines could be the next battleground in the theater of war between US and China.

As a writer and observer of events unfolding through the years, we have written this war scenario between the US and China as imminent several years ago as we connect the dots so to speak. Unfortunately we are coming to the realization of that forecast, a program that is on and was only delayed but will materialize sooner than we think. With the new hotspot, the Benam Rise, an underwater landmass 250 kilometers (155 miles) off the east coast of the main island of Luzon, are we seeing another Pearl Harbor in the offing?

We don’t want to be an alarmist, we are just observing the confluence of events like some pundits who believe that the recent moves of China is not actually helping its Asian neighbors in the process. Instead the whole neighborhood is nervous that a war might broke out any moment. In this case the long-awaited ‘Asian century’ may take another century to become a reality due to some circumstances beginning with China’s aggressive behavior in its military build up in the region and its secret-secret real economic situation.

According to Gary Shilling (Bloomberg) the following are the issues that will make Asian countries uneasy.

"Globalization is largely completed. There isn’t much manufacturing in North America and Europe left to be moved to lower-cost developing economies. At the same time, the West is basically saturated with Asian exports, and those countries are competing fiercely among themselves for limited total export demand. Also, exports are shifting among those countries as low-end production moves from China to places such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, much as they shifted out of Japan in earlier decades. As economies grow, a greater share of spending is on services and less on goods.

The shift from being export-led economies to ones driven by domestic spending, especially by consumers, has been slow. Chinese leaders want this transition, but it is moving at glacial speed. At 37%, Chinese consumer spending as a share of GDP is well below major developed countries such as the US at 68.1%, Japan at 58.6%, and even Russia at 51.9%.

There are government and cultural restraints. Almost all developing Asian economies are tightly controlled by governments. Top-down regimes stoutly resist reform and often persist until they’re overthrown by revolutions. The current Mao dynasty in China, as I’ve dubbed it, seems seriously worried about popular unrest due to the lack of promised economic growth and is reducing what little political liberty was previously allowed. President Xi is now the Big Brother with lots of little brothers insuring proper thoughts and actions, even at the local level.

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is enmeshed in a multibillion-dollar investment scandal. In the Philippines, crime and drug trafficking are so rampant that President Rodrigo Duterte was elected on a platform of eliminating drug dealers, even by murderous vigilante squads. South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye was thrown out over corruption.

Population problems endure. Despite the need for new workers in Japan as its population falls and ages, women are still discouraged from entering the labor force, and Japan continues to be unwelcoming toward newcomers. There’s no such thing as an immigration visa despite the fact that 83% of Japanese hiring managers have difficulty filling jobs, versus a global average of 38% in the last five years.

China also has a looming labor shortage and severe limits to economic growth due to its earlier one-child policy, which resulted in about 400 million Chinese not being born. Low fertility rates are also destined to reduce the populations of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea. At the other end of the population spectrum are Asian countries like Indonesia and India, whose population is expected to exceed China’s by 2022.

Military threats are growing in Asia, and could severely disrupt stability and retard economic growth if they flare up. China is exercising its military muscles by challenging US military influence in the region by, among other actions, building military islands on reefs in the South China Sea. Japan is abandoning its post-World War pacifism and shifting from defensive to offensive capabilities. The Russians are also making military threats. The region contains five nuclear-armed countries: China, India and its rival Pakistan, Russia, and — most troubling — North Korea, which is testing long-range missiles. China isn’t happy about that, but it wants North Korea as a buffer between it and South Korea as well as a deterrent to its old foe, Japan.

There may well be an “Asian century” in the future, but don’t hold your breath. It took about a millennium for the West to develop meaningful democracy, the rule of law, large middle classes that support domestic economies and all the institutions that are largely lacking in developing Asian lands." (Shilling)

We are living in these troubling and exciting times, and like what President Duterte said several times in his speeches, he is afraid of a miscalculation that might happen among the many warships in some hotspots in the region that could possibly trigger the next war.

We are now on the verge of tipping point. Our country is now perceived as the epicenter of world war in the offing.

May God forbid.

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