Thursday, March 28, 2013

Welcome to Our New Cold War

You probably heard on the news today about the war exercises in the Sea of Japan, including South Korea, this morning.


Two long-range B-2 bombers made the 6,500 mile flight from Missouri to South Korea, simulated a bombing run, then turned around and made it back to Missouri, possibly in time for breakfast. Wrap your head around that for a moment. Two stealth planes flew 13,000 miles non-stop to drop ordinance.


The conventional wisdom is this was a warning to North Korea and Kim Jong-Un, and it likely was, but my suspicion is there was a longer-term message being sent as well.


To China. Possibly Russia, as well, although there are more direct messages that can be sent to them.


A peace time demonstration of some of our military capabilities should be sufficient to give anyone with hegemonic ambitions pause, in addition to twisting the knickers of our petty adversaries. I’m not crazy about this development, but I can understand the logic behind it: you want China and North Korea to understand that a proxy war against one of our proxies can be answered in spades, and without proxies.


It does not necessarily put us on a war footing, any more than a Memorial Day parade flyover of F-16s would…ok, maybe a little more, but I digress. The point being, it’s a deliberate and calculated tell to warn warriors off.


Even as it builds its war machine, China has been loath to indulge in outwardly aggressive movements. They seem to prefer more muted efforts, mostly aimed at an economic chess game, which is one they can win from day one. This economic competition also gives China a little breathing room to further enlarge its military capabilities.


One hopes cooler heads prevail there and that China decides to build to a defensive standoff, rather than deciding it, too, can police the world.


A position I hope America would abandon in order to retool our economy for a world where we are no longer the dominant superpower on the planet.


And while No War is better than Cold War, at least we haven’t reached the point of Hot War waged via proxy, as we did in Vietnam and Korea. That would truly be tragic.