Saturday, August 12, 2017

Is China The Only Adult In The Room ?

The chart above reflects the results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on August 9th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

It shows that a significant majority of Americans (63%) think Donald Trump is likely to launch some kind of military strike against North Korea within the next 6 months. That's a scary thought, but there is good reason for people believing that. And there's also good reason to think North Korea may launch a military attack against the U.S. (or its allies).

For the last few days, the leaders of both countries have been making escalating threats. Trump threatened to release "fire and fury" against North Korea. North Korea responded by threatening to hit Guam with a nuclear missile. Trump then upped the ante by saying the U.S. military is "locked and loaded".

If these two countries had reasonable leaders, these threats might not matter (and probably never would have been made). But that is not the case. The leaders of both countries are narcissists with fragile egos -- just the kind of persons that might go to war over a perceived slight. They are acting like playground bullies -- bullies who would rather see the playground destroyed before giving in or compromising.

Fortunately, there may be an adult in the room -- China. Chinese leaders don't want to see a war, and they have been pleading (unsuccessfully) with both nations to stop the war rhetoric and calm down. Even though both nations are ignoring them, the Chinese have made their position very clear (through its state-run newspaper). That newspaper printed the following opinion on the situation:

"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral."

"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so."

That actually sounds reasonable. China will engage with both sides in an effort to avoid war -- but will NOT support either nation in a first strike. If North Korea strikes first, China will not defend them -- and if the U.S. strikes first, they will have China to deal with. If we are able to avoid war in the region, it could well be because of China.

When I was growing up, China was considered a wild card that could initiate a war while the U.S. was considered the voice of reason. That has now flip-flopped -- with the U.S. being a wild card that could start a war and China being the voice of reason.

We live in a very strange world today -- and a very dangerous one.

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