Now that our ill-conceived adventure in the Middle East sputters to an ignoble end, our gaze turns to the Far East, where the next great drama prepares to unfold.
A diplomatic summit meeting today of the UK, US and Australia terminated with offers to our English-speaking friends Down Under of American and British nuclear submarine technology. (Why UK, you may ask? They have no interests in Asia or the Pacific. As Lord Elron says, “Our list of allies grows thin.”) The long-neglected expansion of the Middle Kingdom into the South China Sea is finally going to get a pushback. How successful it will be remains to be seen… Watch for intense diplomatic activity in Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam. While our attention was on Afghanistan, the PRC has been getting very grabby in the S China Sea.
The North Koreans launched a cruise missile today, a demonstration of their ability to deliver tactical nukes anywhere in the Western Pacific. The South Koreans, on the same day,launched a missile from a submerged submarine! What does this mean, sub-launched missiles are not a viable means of delivering conventional explosives, there are cheaper and more effective ways of doing that. Sub-launched missiles are for nukes (which the South Koreans supposedly do not possess) or perhaps for other weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radiological?). They proudly released very public PR video of the missile erupting from the sea to make sure the first strike threat (or should I say, deterrent) was obvious to everyone.
America has just demonstrated the ability to airlift hundreds of thousands of people to the other side of the planet in a matter of days. Surely, the lesson was not lost on the Koreas. The Eye of Sauron has suddenly turned to another part of the world.