Obama’s China Bluff

The last drop of American influence is on the line.

obrtNorth Korea’s dictator is executing family members and ex-girlfriends at a speed that would give even Stalin pause. Meanwhile the People’s Republic of China has decided to follow in the footsteps of the Empire of Japan while the pacifistic modern Japan and an uncertain South Korea look to America for aid.

Obama’s amazing Asian pivot has now run smack dab into China’s infinitely expanding territorial claims. And it’s hard to think of a worse totem animal for defying the dragon than the yellow-bellied jackass.

China is out to kick foreign powers out of Asia and lay claim to any nautical territory that it wants; especially if its waters are enriched by oil. Like the Empire of Japan, the People’s Republic is hungry for oil and obsessed with the strategic weaknesses of building an empire while beset by resource problems.

The PRC’s oil tends to be coastal which makes it too easy for a foreign power to break its economy. And like a great city, it has no hope of being self-sufficient when too many of its vital resources have to be imported from across the water. The only way to protect its economic lifeblood is with naval power.

The next stage of China becoming a great power depends on it pushing the United States out of Asia and forcing Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, not to mention other American allies, to make their peace with its new empire. It can’t allow former Communist allies like Vietnam to balance out its power by allying with the United States which is why given a choice between the homicidal lunacy of Kim Jong-un and the double-dealing Vietnamese eager to bring back the Yanks, the People’s Republic will go on supporting North Korea. North Korea may be run by mad dogs, but it won’t be seduced by the West.

North Korea is to Japan what Iran is to Israel. Quite a few Japanese have moved to the United States because they expected that, long before Fukushima, the pint-sized dictator would turn their country into a radioactive wasteland.

Bill Clinton sold out Japan by letting North Korea go nuclear. If the Israelis had been paying more attention, they would have realized the implications of that move. If the United States could screw allies like Japan and South Korea, who don’t have entire Muslim lobbies grinding away at them in the United Nations and the State Department, it was obviously going to screw Israel on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

South Korea and Japan are still hoping that Uncle Sam will do his job by showing the flag. And that’s what the Asia pivot really amounts to. Obama is hoping to play a cut-rate JFK with one General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, standing in for another General Secretary of the Communist Party, Nikita Khrushchev.

But China isn’t the USSR. It’s not struggling to consolidate its gains; it needs to seize them first. The PRC isn’t Khrushchev’s USSR, trying to figure out how to build houses that won’t fall down. It’s Stalin’s USSR dreaming of an empire that will stretch from the Bering Sea to the English Channel with the appropriate regional territorial substitutions.

Xi Jinping isn’t Khrushchev; a blustering coward who was better at shooting starving peasants and fooling Western leaders than at standing his ground. And China has less to worry about than he did. Unlike Khrushchev it doesn’t have to worry about a nuclear war or fear that American tank divisions will plow through its conquered territories and smash the rotten mass of military forces protecting them.

Finally, Obama is no JFK. Obama isn’t even Carter. And after having gotten through being humiliated by everyone from Iran to Russia while selling out every ally in Europe and the Middle East who was at all vulnerable to his brand of progressive political treachery, his backbone, which bends unnaturally when in the vicinity of an enemy of the United States, has less credibility than his health care plan promises.

The only way for Obama to salvage even a modicum of success from his pivot to an Asian bluff is by convincing the People’s Republic of China that he is unpredictable and dangerous and that provoking him might have unintended consequences. But that will be a hard sell in Beijing since the only nations he is a proven danger to are the allies depending on him and he is as predictably wobbly as his red lines are.

China’s recent crackdown on its Uyghur Muslim population may have angered Obama enough so that the next time he bows to the General Secretary of the Communist Party his nose will pause short of a 45° degree angle to the floor. But that won’t help Japan, South Korea or the American sailors playing chicken with Chinese warships in the expectation that the men in Washington who ordered them to stand firm, will stand behind them if anything goes wrong; instead of washing their hands of the crisis.

The People’s Republic of China knows that it faces America at its weakest. If it can force a crisis that will lead to an American withdrawal from Asia and the recognition of its unilateral authority, it stops being a world power in name only and that dismal honor instead passes to the United States of America.

The Asia pivot is becoming a very dangerous game. That’s how war games are. But it’s a game that we are going to have to play sooner or later or allow Asia to go the way of Eastern Europe in the forties.

China is Communist in name only. But that doesn’t mean that we can ignore it. Obama has ceded American influence everywhere else while clinging to the Asia pivot. He has let Russia push its influence deeper into its old Warsaw Pact territories and let Iran have a blank check on terrorizing the Middle East. The tyrannies of the left have been given a free hand in South America as Obama has pressed the flesh with Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez and taken Argentina’s side against the United Kingdom.

Asia is the last card in the deck of American influence. South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East are gone. With the dealer glowering at him, Obama is bluffing China with his Asia pivot, but if China calls his bluff, then the last card will have been played. And it will be up to the weakest man to ever sit in the Concorde Presidential Office Chair to decide whether to go all-in on Asia… or once again to fold.

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