Though America’s roiling wars and conflicts in the Greater Middle East get significant attention, key decisions when it comes to the global role of U.S. military power may be made in an area where, as yet, there are no hot wars: Asia. In his first TomDispatch post, long-time Asian specialist and author of Spies for Hire Tim Shorrock offers a major overview of that region, how it’s garrisoned by the U.S. military, and the potential fate of the Pentagon’s plans to nail into place a triple alliance with Japan and South Korea in the Trump era. In the process, he explores how the election of Donald Trump will affect President Obama’s “Asian pivot,” while teasing apart the tangled history of U.S. foreign and military policy in that region. There may be no more important area on the planet in the years to come, which makes this crucial reading! Love, Tom
From TomDispatch this morning: How will (or won’t) the Pentagon police Asia and deal with Japan, the Koreas, and China in the Trump era — Tim Shorrock, “Cops of the Pacific? The U.S. Military’s Role in Asia in the Age of Trump” http://www.tomdispatch.
Tim Shorrock begins his monumental initial post for TomDispatch this way: “Despite the attention being given to America’s roiling wars and conflicts in the Greater Middle East, crucial decisions about the global role of U.S. military power may be made in a region where, as yet, there are no hot wars: Asia. Donald Trump will arrive in the Oval Office in January at a moment when Pentagon preparations for a future U.S.-Japan-South Korean triangular military alliance, long in the planning stages, may have reached a crucial make-or-break moment. Whether those plans go forward and how the president-elect responds to them could help shape our world in crucial ways into the distant future.
“On November 18th, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s most conservative prime minister since the Cold War, became the first foreign head of state to meet with Donald Trump after his surprise election victory. The stakes for Abe were high. His rightist Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has run Japan for much of the last 70 years, has been one of America’s most reliable, consistent, and subservient allies. Yet during the campaign, Trump humiliated him, as well as the leaders of nearby South Korea, with bombastic threats to withdraw U.S. forces from both countries if they didn’t take further steps to defend themselves.
“Even more shocking was Trump’s proposal that Japan and South Korea develop their own atomic weapons to counter North Korea’s rising power as a nuclear state. That left the governments of both countries bewildered — particularly Japan, which lost tens of thousands of lives when the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated by American atomic bombs in World War II. (Hundreds of Koreans in Japan died in those attacks as well.) Trump made these statements despite the LDP’s ardent support over the decades for American wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, and the Japanese government’s payment of around $2 billion annually to maintain a string of U.S. bases, primarily on the island of Okinawa, which host over 48,000 American soldiers.”
In the rest of his remarkable piece, Shorrock explores, in particular, the Pentagon’s relationship with Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and China in an increasingly unsettled Asia. This couldn’t be more important. Don’t miss it!