Saturday, February 24, 2007

East Asian, Popular Democracy, and Military Strategy Changes

Posted to H-Asia, an article on the way popular democracy affects US military strategy. It's mostly about South Korea. Of course, if the US wanted to establish a massive base on Taiwan, I suspect most people would be absolutely delighted, except for the pro-China crowd:

According to conventional wisdom, the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the development of the concept of “strategic flexibility” were chiefly responses to advances in technology (primarily computers and communications) and the application of market principles to military management. The end of the Cold War, the subsequent attacks of September 11, and an altered security environment further accelerated these shifts in doctrine and force structure. The latest war-fighting gurus view fixed military bases with lumbering tanks and static defenses as comparatively low-tech and incapable of addressing rapidly emerging conflicts and threats. U.S. forces, they argue, should be flexible enough to respond to North Korean missiles, Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia, or a cross-straits confrontation in Taiwan.

But a case can be made that the RMA and strategic flexibility are also responses to NIMBY (not in my back yard) and democratic movements. Fixed bases were an easy target, not only for the enemy but also for popular discontent, starting in the Philippines and spreading to Okinawa, Tokyo, and Seoul (not to mention other parts of the world such as Vieques). The U.S. security umbrella was generally popular among allied leaders, but the actual U.S. security footprint was another matter.
UPDATE: Go leave a comment on this sad article there that argues that Taiwan should be annexed to China so that it can be democratic....



7 comments:

v said...

i read that fei-ling wang article. i sense the person's heart is in the right place, but on what past evidence can s/he believe that china is going to follow any kind of conditions to get taiwan? and what if they follow the conditions temporarily and once they 'have' taiwan, they go back to crushing dissent? and what are these conditions/benchmarks/timetable anyway? seems like a lot of pie in the sky. and what about that phrase about the us hav ing to resist the 'radical' claims of lobbying groups?lol i guess the writer is referring to the taiwan lobby's begging for protection from prc domination.

Thoth Harris said...

Evidently the author, despite good intentions, understands very little about Mainland Chinese thinking. Both Taiwan and Mainland China have modernized; however, it seems like Mainland China's modernization has been cosmetic, and driven by ideology, represented in it's peculiar twisted brand by narcissistic thinking. Removal of censorship will certainly help dissolve this problem. But it's a little overdue, and it won't happen for another five or ten years. Look how long it took KMT governments to allow democracy to unfold here!

And look how long censorship took in the the United States to loosen up with court case after courtcase, involving great literary works such as James Joyce's Ulysses, etc...

花崗齋之愚公 said...

Contemporary PRC/Taiwan issues aren't my strong area. But the article reminds of the time I thought that my cat and my hamster should become friends. After all, they had lived in the same house for so long and my cat liked to watch "Hammy" run on his little hamster wheel as much as I did. Long story short: happy cat, dead hamster.

I also thought it was odd that an academic would use a term a phrase like "the two-millennia-old Qin political system..." There was considerable change in the substance and style of the Chinese political system even between the Qin and the Han (think: Legalism) never mind between the Qin and the Qing.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, the entire article on Taiwan and China is peppered with stock phrases like that.

Michael

Kaminoge said...

Did you read that first comment by Lee Wee Shing?
"By bringing back all the lost territories will send a powerful signal to friends & foes alike how serious we attach to the phrase `territorial integrity'. So, please don't mess with us as far as Taiwan, Tibet, Xingjiang are concerned. "
So much for self-determination. Greater China is a frightening concept.

Michael Turton said...

Functionally the term Greater China is exactly like Greater Germany -- simply an announcement of imperial dreams. I try and avoid it.

Michael

Anonymous said...

I commented on another article this guy wrote back in September.

http://taiwanmatters.blogspot.com/2006/09/taiwan-catalyst-for-change-in-china.html

wulingren