Trump’s Shot Across China’s Bow

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Daniel Cloud

“Donald Trump is either too incompetent to understand that his foolish phone call threatens our national security, or he’s doing it deliberately because he reportedly wants to build hotels in Taiwan to pad his own pockets.”

       - (Democratic National Committee Spokesperson)

Is that true? Did “incompetent” President-Elect Donald Trump’s “foolish” telephone conversation with Taiwan’s President Cai Yingwen actually “threaten American’s national security”? Is Trump genuinely revealed, by this development, to be a bull in a China shop? If so, we should all be very alarmed.

But in fact… All that seems rather unlikely. Really, it’s more probable that Trump’s phone call has made us all, Americans and Chinese people and everyone else, slightly safer.

How? Carl Von Clausewitz  argued that wars, at their beginning, always involve some sort of misperception. One or both sides must have a false belief that victory will be easy to achieve. If both parties shared the same, accurate estimate of the likely outcome of the war, then the only rational course of action for the inevitable loser would be to make whatever concessions were necessary to avoid an actual fight. Defeat without all the death and destruction of the war may not be a wonderful alternative, but it’s still better than the exact same thing, except with all the death and destruction.

So for a war to start, someone, one side or the other or both, has to make a mistake. How does this sort of huge, consequential blunder ever occur? Estimating an opposing force’s capabilities isn’t easy, but it’s within the range of things humans are capable of, at least on a good day. What seems to be much harder is estimating a potential opponent’s level of commitment to securing a particular outcome.

The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor which brought America into the Second World War is a familiar example of this common sort of miscalculation. The Japanese knew that if the Americans actually fought back with everything they had, they would win. But they supposed that we wouldn’t see the things at stake as worth fighting an ugly war for. As it turned out, they were fatally wrong.

The wars in Vietnam and Iraq seem to have been examples of similar mistakes on the part of American politicians, who gravely underestimated their opponents’ willingness to carry on an endless fight. This is, in fact, a very typical kind of mistake. Imagining the enemy in some way that would make even rather reckless actions on your part work out well, basically because of some universal human tendency to not take very seriously foreigners who don’t closely resemble your culture’s ideal of an admirable person.

So there’s nothing more likely to cause an unnecessary war than a false appearance of lack of commitment to securing some particular outcome. Because it invites a kind of misperception that people are very prone to anyway. If you would, in the end, when the crunch really came, actually feel compelled to come to the assistance of an ally, if in the end England really would fight to defend France against Hitler, or America really wouldn’t be willing to cede the Pacific to Tojo’s Japan, then there’s nothing that’s more practically important than conveying that fact clearly to potential adversaries.

But have we Americans actually been sending a clear and honest signal of our true level of commitment to defending world peace, lately? Sadly, no. Setting aside the specific details of that very complex situation, one of the risks obviously created by the current administration’s rather laid-back response to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea was that it seemed to signal a complete lack of commitment to the Wilsonian principles and Realist strategies that had driven American foreign policy for much of the previous century.

We did huffily mention that national borders probably ought to be considered sacrosanct. And, yes, we canceled our participation in the Paralympics, that must have really stung the Russians. There were some other tiny, symbolic sanctions, just insults, really, things that probably made Putin actually laugh out loud when he heard the details… But the kind of vigorous diplomatic response recommended by people like Zbignew Brezinski at the beginning of the crisis just never materialized. If our actual level of commitment to self-determination and the sanctity of international borders is more than none at all, we aren’t really succeeding in sending any very credible signal that that’s so.

So what? The current administration’s ineffectual response to Putin’s gamble must have immediately changed the strategic calculations of many other countries. Post-Soviet Russia wasn’t the only country with unresolved claims on neighboring territories. If the Americans weren’t going to do anything meaningful about the invasion of an ally in Europe, surely their response to similar attempts in less familiar parts of the world would be even more muted… ? But that meant that now, all sorts of ambitious projects which previously hadn’t even seemed worth thinking about might genuinely be possible. And that mere fact, itself, would inevitably change the politics of the discussion about what to do about America, would strengthen the hand of those who argued that we were in irreversible decline (again, for real this time) and could be dealt with much more aggressively now.

An immediate loss of diplomatic traction on other smaller issues was the most visible consequence of this revision. If the only actual effect of invading a large European democracy was that Samantha Power (but not John Kerry) would un-friend you on Facebook, why pay any attention at all to what the Americans thought about Syria? Just turn the volume down on that channel, and begin arranging things there in whatever way you find most satisfactory.

But the invisible consequences were probably even more dangerous. Suddenly China’s government had to confront the question of what they would do about the politics of Asia – under the very unfamiliar assumption that the Americans might not really do anything to defend Taiwan, if they actually did choose to make a play for it. After all, Ukraine was a legitimate, universally recognized democracy, located right in the middle of Europe. If the Americans were unwilling to do anything meaningful about a Russian invasion there, why would you expect them to fight to defend a small Asian island which even they no longer recognized as a genuine, independent state, and which relatively few Americans could actually locate on a map?

It’s hard for most foreigners to really appreciate the emotional importance of recovering Taiwan in the Chinese political universe. To get a little bit of an American equivalent of what the feeling is, it’s as if at some point, in the middle of various other grave national catastrophes, Florida had been invaded and conquered by Castro’s Cuba, which still controlled it to this day.  Imagine the speeches in Congress, lamenting this outcome and berating the government for doing nothing to fix it. Actually, the Taiwan situation is probably, for various reasons, even more upsetting than that would be, but still, it should be possible to imagine how important the recovery of Florida would then become to American politicians.

So the re-conquest of Taiwan is something that Chinese politicians, if they want to go on being Chinese politicians, really have to show commitment to. But until Russia annexed Crimea, it seemed completely impossible to actually do anything about it, because of the obviously impassable obstacle of the American Seventh Fleet. Now, however, not only was it possible to adopt the hypothesis that America would do nothing to defend its allies – it was also easy to generate additional evidence apparently supporting that hypothesis. Empirically, ramping up diplomatic and diplomatic-military assaults on China’s Asian neighbors – aggressively challenging Japan, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, etc. for various symbolically important though practically useless scraps of territory – seemed to produce no meaningful response at all from Obama’s America. So the hand of the Chinese faction that argues that America can only be supplanted as the world’s greatest power peacefully, by mutually beneficial economic development and continued internal reform, must have been greatly weakened by the events in Ukraine.

Presumably what still kept China’s military strategists from seriously contemplating a war to recover Taiwan was the fact that, even if the American will to defend Taiwan was completely nonexistent, even if we remained supinely neutral all through a war, they would still very probably lose it. The Japanese are much too close to Taiwan to simply ignore an invasion. It would seem obvious to everyone that they were next. So they would probably fight to defend Taiwan even if America didn’t. (We would be pretty alarmed by a Chinese military invasion of Mexico, or Canada, so imagine how Japan would feel about an invasion of their nearest neighbor.) Opposed by the combined Taiwanese and Japanese navies and air forces, an amphibious assault on Taiwan would be extraordinarily difficult to accomplish, and the attempt would very probably fail.

You can’t invade by submarine. Taiwan is a hundred and ten miles from the Chinese mainland, so crossing the ocean, on the surface, in the face of an enemy who will probably have air superiority, and will certainly have plenty of anti-ship missiles, is not a trivial exercise. Japan has a very serious navy, smaller than the Chinese navy but of higher quality. Attacking is always harder than defending, and an amphibious assault is even harder to accomplish. Hitler, with all his advantages, never made it across the much smaller English Channel.

Meanwhile, while gambling for this largely symbolic victory and probably losing, the Chinese would permanently destroy their ability to participate in world trade, and very possibly end their otherwise unstoppable rise towards international economic dominance. Japan would immediately test a nuclear weapon.

So it would have been kind of crazy for them to actually attempt to take advantage of America’s new, more relaxed attitude towards the sanctity of international borders by invading Taiwan. But this sort of misperception, unopposed, a perception that a potential opponent is weak or already intimidated, can eventually acquire an unstoppable political momentum of its own. Even if Taiwan itself couldn’t actually be grabbed, still, given our apparent indifference or fear of confrontation, there might be much to be gained by conquering smaller, less significant islands, by occupying Jackson Atoll, or the Senkakus, or the Spratlys.

This kind of purely symbolic victory is mostly desirable because the gain in reputation by those who accomplish it is useful in internal political contests. If your political opponents are freely counting coup on the Americans, failure to do so yourself can lead to a fatal loss of prestige. Since there was no discernable cost, our response to Putin, and the general approach to diplomacy that produced that response, made it inevitable that competing to put a clown nose on the face of America would become an increasingly important aspect of Chinese politics. But history shows us that this is a kind of competition that can easily get out of hand.

And, to come back to what Clausewitz said, actually, starting a war is always kind of crazy, is always a mistake on someone’s part. So it’s no sure guarantee of peace that it would be crazy for the Chinese to start a war over Taiwan. It was crazy for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. When open aggression meets with no resistance, even very fanciful ideas about a potential opponent’s weakness or lack of commitment can become publicly persuasive. We can hope that all of our potential adversaries will always be perfectly rational, but if we really want to avoid wars, we can also help them out by sending clear, honest, and unmistakable signals of commitment.

After all, it was never really true that the United States would simply abandon Taiwan and then Japan to their fates, inviting an East Asian nuclear apocalypse and ending our role as the dominant Pacific naval power, in order to avoid becoming involved in a war we could certainly win. At some points in the process of lurching towards a war, we might convince ourselves that we would stay neutral, but in fact we can’t. We wouldn’t be able to sustain that approach, it’s politically impossible, as impossible as it ultimately was to stay out of the war against Japan in the 1940’s. One of the things that would make it politically impossible is the ease with which the American navy could destroy the Chinese navy, should that become a regrettable necessity.

So we aren’t doing China any favors by presenting an appearance of being intimidated by, or even indifferent to, their bluster. The effect of this sort of lack of clarity on them will either be nothing, or else a small chance of luring them into an unwise, unnecessary and mutually destructive war. It’s the sort of misguided deference we showed to Saddam Hussein before his ill-fated invasion of Kuwait. Think of how many people who are now dead would still be alive, if only we’d been a little ruder then.

As far as I can tell, Trump’s purely symbolic shot across the bow, as an answer to all of China’s more-or-less purely symbolic boundary pushing in the Western Pacific, should, in fact, actually help the Chinese stay out of trouble, by putting them on notice that actions do have consequences, that there actually are costs to trying to repeatedly pin a clown nose on the sheriff. If they keep trying to take over the utterly worthless Senkaku Islands, it should be obvious now that they’ll only hurt themselves, that they’ll only make it that much more likely that America will eventually recognize an independent Taiwan. Which, given the way things are now developing in Hong Kong, we really might be morally obliged to do anyway, if the Taiwanese ever actually did decide to opt for independence.

So, no, actually the conversation with Taiwan’s president doesn’t really tell us any of the things about Trump that the DNC said it does. But that doesn’t mean their statement is completely devoid of useful information. What the DNC is really telling us, and the world, is something else, something rather important. There’s none of the forgiveness that would be extended to someone who spoke to, say, the Dalai Lama over China’s no doubt equally strenuous objections. There’s no concession, here, to the aspirations of the people of Taiwan, or the legitimacy of their democratically elected leader. No thought that China’s attitude towards any recognition of those aspirations is perhaps too harsh, or unreasonable. There are no moral complexities at all. Taiwan is simply to be shunned, ostracized, because China’s wrath is somehow morally authoritative.

What they’re really doing is tacitly reminding us – if this wasn’t already perfectly obvious from the last sixteen years of world history – that American politics no longer stops at the water’s edge. And the ultimate consequences of that development are completely unfathomable

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localsavage's picture

When you can't admit that your opponent has some good points, you are doomed to get into a situation wher eyou nake yourself look bad because you have to be negative all the time.  

SilverRhino's picture

Just wait until he starts a civil war in that country by driving their economy to ruin if they fuck with him.   

Civil Wars in China get really nasty AND China fears civil war more than ANYTHING else.

Why? Because once they get started they tend to go on for a couple generations or centuries. (See An Lushan, Tai Ping, Warring States, 3 Kingdoms, Sixteen kingdoms periods, post Qing dynasty periods).

IF one of those gets kicked off you can kiss China's presence on the world stage to disappear for a few generations to a few centuries.   

wildbad's picture

with Mao it only took a few years, not generations. but then he did have CIA (SSO) help.

StackShinyStuff's picture

So there will be "costs?"  I have a feeling that this term will mean something different that it did with Obozo. 

HowdyDoody's picture

How long would iot take for the US military to take down China? I don't know, but I suspect it would be a lot longer than the time it would take empty Walmarts to take down the US. JIT works well until suddenly it all falls apart.

 

SilverRhino's picture

We can live without cheap shit a hell of a lot longer than 500 million Chinese can live unemployed.  We are self-sufficient in food.  THEY are not.

AVmaster's picture

Who the hell wrote this?

Never underestimate the chinese.

Their armed forces suck and are corrupt as hell, but....

They will create a human bridge if they had to, like ants balling up to cross a pool of water.

Lore's picture

Agreed. This guy seems stuck in the late 80s.  His facts about Ukraine and other things seem highly selective. 

magnetosphere's picture

he's at princeton. of course he's a fckn idiot

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"Just wait until he starts a civil war in that country by driving their economy to ruin if they fuck with him.

Civil Wars in China get really nasty AND China fears civil war more than ANYTHING else."

They get nastier Rhin when you are $23 Trillion in the shitter and have nowhere else to go but down!

Speak for yourself!

SilverRhino's picture

Study Chinese history man.    China has had civil wars that lasted LONGER than the USA's existence.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"Just wait until he starts a civil war in that country by driving their economy to ruin if they fuck with him.

Civil Wars in China get really nasty AND China fears civil war more than ANYTHING else."

They get nastier Rhin when you are $23 Trillion in the shitter and have nowhere else to go but down!

Speak for yourself!

AlexCharting's picture

Trump likes to negotiate with a blank slate. So, he will ignore many mumbo-jumbo political traditions. 

Kina's picture

The best strategy would be to make good friends with Russia, and use join Russia to get what they want out of China.

apadictionary's picture

lol this the funniest thing i heard in december so far

researchfix's picture

"The best strategy would be to make good friends with Russia,"

Neither Russia nor Cuba, Iran, China, Vietnam, Philippines believe in being "good friends" with US anymore. Keeps them from being backstabbed.

imamzadare's picture

Absurd Neocon drivel!

Scrubbing Bubblez's picture
Scrubbing Bubblez (not verified) Dec 7, 2016 2:42 AM

Someone mentioned about having some revolutions in China. It can be done by arming some muzzies like the Uighers who hate the Han government. Arm them to the teeth by sending supplies in across the borders (like some of those -istan countries) that surround China and let them go to town. You will see some riots and revolutions big time.

China has more than 50,000 riots and protests a year, you don't see much of it because of Chinese media control. Even many of the Han Chinese in China hate the government as well; everyone knows how corrupt it is, but they can't do much about it. There are also MANY other ethnic groups in China that despise the Han Chinese who control the government. They are far more culturally fractured than the USA. It's just that the Chinese don't let anyone pull any bullshit, they just kill them outright or harvest their organs before they're executed.

dark fiber's picture

Are you arguing in favor of the US arming YET ANOTHER Islamic group?  Seriously? You want another Syria only bigger?  Off your meds again?

forgottenozonehole's picture

All that above isn't necessary.
President Trump should implement the 300% customs tariffs for ANY of final products "Made in China".
End effect, for chinese, will be much worse than arm and organize another muslims group.

LA_Goldbug's picture

I will go in both direction and I am not so sure that the people of the US will be able to handle the sudden collapse of economic activity. Read Chinese history, hardship is handled much differently there than in the West.

Scrubbing Bubblez's picture
Scrubbing Bubblez (not verified) forgottenozonehole Dec 7, 2016 5:17 AM

The biggest fear of the Chinese is not so much that revolts will start as that it will spread. Once it starts in once place, if other groups are armed at the same time China will be spread thin and probably can't contain it all. There are lots of Han who would revolt as well, if they had a chance.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

huh?

they are, obviously, far *less* culturally fractured.

ffs China is about 90% Han Chinese, give or take. and many minorities are kidding cousins.

the Uighirs etc would be wiped out in 30 days if China was so inclined.

no doubt the CIA aims to do what you outline. and it is doomed to fail.

China's minorities know that, as you also note, their lives would be forfeit if they threaten the security of the Chinese 'nation'

LA_Goldbug's picture

"it is doomed to fail."
It has failed in the case of the Brits and the CIA through Tibet. Hence the need to have a mad dog on a lish by China, North Korea.

HowdyDoody's picture

The CIA-trained Uighars are being taken out very effectively in SYria.

 

dark fiber's picture

Not to mention that China is not Syria and this sort of action may provoke a huge fuck you answer from China.  Either  a full scale mobilization and routing of the entire  Asia region, or a nuclear tipped response directly aganst the geniuses who would come up with such a plan.

SilverRhino's picture

Tell that to the Manchus who used to rule China.   

 

Boca's picture

If Americans would just for once forgo the next bigger size in flat screen teevees every single holiday, China would feel the burn, LOL

 

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

FFS the issue is whether the US military is to defend the US or defend the financial interests of an often hostile ruling 'elite'.

the notion the US government acts benevolently in unleashing massive violence requires a level of dishonesty and/or ignorance so profound as to shock the conscience.

there are more, better armed terrorists in Iraq and Syria and Libya than there were before the wars launched to defeat the terrorists. Again and again US corporate and banking and yes, Virginia, Zionist interests create the very problem which the war's PRETEXT was to solve.

the notion that the US is the white hat on the world stage requires callius indifference to recent events and the presumption of an objective reality.

the US has killed MILLIONS since ww2, and the world is not only worse for it, but less stable.

and talk show pundits are rarely good Generals.

Ever notice how frail and faggotty most of the hyperinterventionist swine like Graham and Kristol are?

---
OT but the massive response in a recent article (early monday maybe?) to ZH's most infamous Regressive Leftist troll, and the typical ZH penchant for charts made me want to share this with all youse deplorable fact-mongers:

https://zombiemeditations.com/2016/10/27/tracking-refugees-vs-rapes-in-s...

European women are being raped, the corporate (and heavily Leftist and Jewish, as in the US) media hides it and frminists are silent - and why?

because destroying white majorities and nation-state sovereignty and identity is more important to both 'globalists' and international organized jewry/zionism - the two overlapping neofascist groups which at their core hate Europeans and Christianity most of all.

and the root of all this evil is, as the Book of Myth has it - money.

or rather, the lending of fiat currency at interest.

https://realcurrencies.wordpress.com/is-anti-usury-activism-antisemitic/

had enough yet?

LA_Goldbug's picture

" 'MIGRANT MURDERER' CASE Who was Maria Ladenburger? Daughter of EU official ‘raped and murdered by Afghan asylum seeker’ – here’s what we know

Police have arrested a teenage immigrant after finding 19-year-old girl in a river in Freiburg, Germany
"

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2333501/maria-ladenburger-eu-rape-murder-a...

Bringing the cultural behavior to the European Gulag,

"Rape in Afghanistan is largely under-reported. In many cases, the victim is punished. Violence against women in Afghanistan reached record levels in 2013, according to the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan (AIHRC). Women are respected for their virginity, and it is rare for a man to marry a rape victim. Even if the woman gets pregnant, it is uncommon for the rapist to marry her. Thus a woman is now punished for being "impure". The authorities treat such cases as adultery. Even if the woman is not punished, she remains rejected by society as "dishonorable" (badnaam in Pashto), while the rapist is not considered dishonored."

qomolangma's picture

A dumb article written by some who overlooked the reality or had the false sense of superiority. Do not push too hard to one's point of view or luck, it's really a dangerous game to play, hope Trump will learn fast and mend it in time.

China is deadly serious when dealing with affairs concerning to Taiwan Island, the South China Sea and the Diaoyu Island. The USA better not miscalculates it.

hedgiex's picture

In a G Zero World with the end of the American Century, there is a global vacuum to be filled. Good luck to China that with an internal economic ponzi in play it will want to walk into the minefields. Of course, they need some help to fill the gaps. 

What do you want ? An american first policy means partnership and not leadership in all the sparks that fly around the globe. You have no moral responsibility leave alone the moral authority to bring peace and order where such terms are largely non consensual. Allies ? Haven't some of them been throwing darts at their own protection domes provided by US ? It is time for them to learn that there are no free lunches. 

This does not mean that where there are real strategic interests that you do not stake your claim. You play and screw them if they canot differentiate btw competition and naked aggression, they can go to UN, etc hopefully to be heard only.

What emerging superpower is it that cannot distinguish btw style (shooting from the hip) and substance ? They have as much to adapt to Trump as the other way around. Taiwan - Why is it a pariah state as defined by China and not negotiable. It is exactly what you define as non-negotiable that shows your inflexibility to be exploited by smarter tribes that do not need to go to war but to irritate and distract you from your focus that in the case of China, its economy. 

In this phase of change, the post war relics who crafted foreign policies and doctrines and often have to change the world to meet their plan are part of the swamp to be drained. What results have they like the Fed delivered when measured against "America First" as a quantifiable benefit and not hypocritical idealism ? 

Trump can call whoever he likes and He will be a wimp to many if he retracts. The rules of the game have changed and get out of the kitchen if it gets too hot. 

tbd108's picture

"pin a clown nose on the sheriff": The sheriff? He means the Keystone Cops. The clown nose was already there before the phone call took place.

Dark star's picture

1) The U.S. failed completely to undererstand Russia's interest in a stable and non hostile Ukraine.

2) The U.S. failed completely to understand that there were no circumstances under which Russia would tolerate the loss of Crimean naval bases.

3) Crimea had a valid and peaceful referendum which fully complies with the author's support for self determination.

4) There was nothing Saddam Hussein could do to prevent the invasion of his country. He was required to give up weapons of mass destruction which he didn't posess in order to avert invasion; an obvious impossibility.

5) The U.S. has failed and continues to fail to understand that dropping bombs on Middle East Countries alienates the citizen's of those countries and makes them sworn enemies of the U.S. until the end of time.

The author of this article gets an F Grade, as does U.S. foreign policy.

LA_Goldbug's picture

"The U.S. failed completely to understand "

The asses in DC/NY knew what they were doing !!!!I attribute this do overconfidence and disregard for the NATIONAL (that little guy) interest of the USA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Chessboard

Guderian's picture

I am in no way politically naive.

That said, I strongly believe, that the POTUS has EVERY right to talk to whoever he sees fit, necessary or (as in this case) a matter of courtesy.

The same goes for ANY head of state, talking to ANY other head of state.

The reality is, that Taiwan is a sovereign state on an island that was part of China. Realpolitik, chimps! If territorial or sovereignity disputes were to diqualify POTUS from having a telephone call, we would have a very long No-Phone list, starting with 'Israel'/'Palestine'.

I have been in Taiwan and ppl there realise, that China and Taiwan will gradually grow together through trade, investment, tourism and even marriages. But not by intimidation or force.

So, suck it up, Chimps and refrain from demanding POTUS, what to say or do. Trump will NOT be intimidated, but rather re-assured, by your undue ranting.

RMolineaux's picture

Your fifth paragraph is quite correct.  The people of Taiwan realize that China and Taiwan will gradually grow together..........But not by intimidation or force.  I suggest that one way to prevent the resort to force is to stop sending military equipment to Taiwan.    

LA_Goldbug's picture

"The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor which brought America into the Second World War is a familiar example of this common sort of miscalculation. The Japanese knew that if the Americans actually fought back with everything they had, they would win. But they supposed that we wouldn’t see the things at stake as worth fighting an ugly war for. As it turned out, they were fatally wrong."

Many "details" are missing in this paragraph which ARE NEEDED to understand why the Japanese did what they did.

"On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt seizes all Japanese assets in the United States in retaliation for the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China.

On July 24, Tokyo decided to strengthen its position in terms of its invasion of China by moving through Southeast Asia. Given that France had long occupied parts of the region, and Germany, a Japanese ally, now controlled most of France through Petain’s puppet government, France “agreed” to the occupation of its Indo-China colonies. Japan followed up by occupying Cam Ranh naval base, 800 miles from the Philippines, where Americans had troops, and the British base at Singapore.

President Roosevelt swung into action by freezing all Japanese assets in America. Britain and the Dutch East Indies followed suit. The result: Japan lost access to three-fourths of its overseas trade and 88 percent of its imported oil. Japan’s oil reserves were only sufficient to last three years, and only half that time if it went to war and consumed fuel at a more frenzied pace. Japan’s immediate response was to occupy Saigon, again with Vichy France’s acquiescence. If Japan could gain control of Southeast Asia, including Malaya, it could also control the region’s rubber and tin production—a serious blow to the West, which imported such materials from the East. Japan was now faced with a dilemma: back off of its occupation of Southeast Asia and hope the oil embargo would be eased—or seize the oil and further antagonize the West, even into war."

"French Indo-China" !!!!!! I thought the owners of this land were the Vietnamese :-)

OTMPut's picture

I stopped reading after sentence mentioning the casual, mainstream media position of Russians having invaded Ukraine.

Well the current administration could not respond becuase Russians did not invade. Russians played smart waiting out game and now Ukraine is self destructing. Like the Syria or Iraq project. Victoria f the EU Nuland and Biden played the field for special interests and Ukranian people are left to deal with the mess.

I still marvel at the efficacy of deep deep brainwashing of Americans about the Russians are coming meme. So powerful that even the people who are in charge are brainwashed. A bit like the MSM bots during this election.

Blanco Diablo's picture

Daniel Cloud appears to be full of shit, " Russian invasion of the Ukraine"!

When did V Nuland start handing out 5 billion dollars worth of cookies for Vlad??

HowdyDoody's picture

From the papers etc in his bio, the guy is an out-and-out State Dept stooge regurgitating talking points.

 

gdpetti's picture

Exactly, this guy is another example of what the Agency calls 'useful idiots'. All of his remarks are typical warhawk idiocy based in complete ignorance OR complicit knowledge that they are all lies. That is the only question here, is he aware of the BS spewing from his mouth or not???

1777's picture

The demonrats are in La-La land! Calling Trump "incompetent", but he just beat the tar out of them! Hilarious...

RMolineaux's picture

What is most interesting in this item is the last paragraph in which the author forthrightly states the foreign policy goals of the pentagon, the Brzezinski-ites and the neocons.  When he states that "US politics no longer stop at the water's edge" he is voicing the program of these three entities to promote a military empire for the US.  This program is contradictory to the values and constitution of our country.  We were born in rebellion against empire.  Are we to follow the dismal path of all previous empires - spending ourselves into bankruptcy and making enemies of all other nations?  

They are all very angry that Putin has, so far, thwarted their goal of global hegemony.  Their anger has prompted them to resort to false propaganda in an attempt to turn public opinion against him.  Stories about Putin's "invasion" of Crimea and eastern Ukraine are examples of this effort.  Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has not done anything to provoke this hostility.  It has become a constitutional democracy that tolerates all religious beliefs provided they do not foment acts of violence.

The logical solution to the Taiwan problem is to move it to autonomous status within the Chinese nation, along the lines of the Hong Kong settlement. But this cannot occur while the US continues to supply them with voluminous military equipment, promoting the false hope of continued independence.

We need to stop pretending to be world policeman and return to our own shores, in conformity with international law and treaty.