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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Coming Trade War with China:
    On the Horizon

In the wake of his 1991 book, The Coming War with Japan, Dr George Friedman launched his company, Stratfor.com, to provide timely intelligence forecasting of world events. While I took issue with Friedman's original target identification (Japan) and his short-sighted political analysis, his economic analysis raised legitimate red flags.

But my contention has always been, long before Deng and before the end of the Cold War, that it would be China, not Japan nor Russia, that would emerge as the 21st Century contender for America's domination in world affairs. Only China had the latent resources and cultural integrity to mount a serious challenge. And as anyone studying empires would know, every empire gets challenged at some point in time.

In my "debates" at InTheseTimes.com, David (known as Curious David here), offered this challenge, When did WWII really start, and has WW3 already started?

The starting gun is this entry in wikipedia.com. Was it the German invasion of Poland, the Japanese invasion of China or the Italian occupation of Ethiopia. I would add the Spanish Civil War to this litany, even though Spain was "neutral" in the war against fascism.

Now, I think it goes without saying that it was Germany's invasion of Poland that precipitated all those regional conflicts into a single "world" war, but David's comment is legit. There is always a road to war before the war actually appears on the horizon. The road to WWII hinged on the rise of fascist states after the Great Depression, and the threat that emerged from them.

Today, the conflicts seem to (still) be nationalist. The small brush fires immediately in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War were sparked by the lifting of the superpower restraints on regional conflicts. Long simmering national ambitions, like an unwatched pot, boiled over. Kosovo, Somalia, Iraq and Iran, all added fuel that fired the ambitions of local tyrants.

Then Iraq invaded Kuwait and America became a Hyper-superpower.

I don't believe that WW3 proper, will start in the Middle East. China is the future potential adversary. Only a direct conflict between China and America has the potential for escalating into world conflagration.

It will (has?) start over trade. China seeks the riches of the free market, without fully embracing its realities. We'll do business with you, they say, but you must come to us. And leave your profits here. That Chinese-centric meme has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Every time I see an article like this one on trade tensions between China and the rest of the world, I cannot help but feel the future bearing down.

The seeds for WW3 have long been planted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay --

I would say that the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935 were both ctalysts for the Second World War -- events that showed the Axis dictators that the democracies were spineless and that the League of Nations was a feeble facade of power, a paper tiger.

This perception, of course, was bolstered by the appeasement at Munich in '38 and the forfeiture of the Sudetenland.

While important landmarks on the road to World War, none of those events necessarily marked a point of no return. Poland, however, did mark that point.

We must agree that the real war began with the invasion of Poland, 1939.

1/13/2006 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay --

I missed a sentence above, and unecessarily argued the above point.

Question: what are your thoughts on Sino-American rivalry over petroleum resources?

1/13/2006 4:08 PM  
Blogger Curious Dave said...

Hi Jay,

A conflict in the Middle East could lead to a war with China, as MBMC may be alluding to.

Iran, nuclear programs, Israel, US PetroDollar Supremacy, HUGE China Trade Deficit, American Foreign Policy and Military Solutions seemingly ready to run amok ... all the makings of World War 3.

1/15/2006 10:24 PM  
Blogger Curious Dave said...

... and I neglected to mention Russia. Players all.

1/15/2006 10:30 PM  

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