The White House statement presented the exercises in the context of routine behavior among Allies, timid and defensive. The Defense Department and UN Command statements indicated the exercises are pointed, aggressive and intended to be intimidating. The two statements neutralize each other because reassurance always trumps vigilance.
Undermining both statements is the fact that the US did not respond in a timely fashion to the defense of South Korea, which was attacked on 26 March. The response lag time erodes the cogency of all the lofty American words. The bottom line is that South Korea was attacked, but the US response took four months. That is not “strategic reassurance.”
As noted yesterday, in four months, a healthy North Korean army could overrun the Peninsula. Fortunately, it is not all that healthy. Somewhere in Washington the strategic thinking is muddled, timid and misguided in dealing with the Far East.
The Korean peninsula has now become an acute hotspot where an accidental clash can escalate into a full-scale war.
Blowing past the bombast, the danger that worries the North is accidental clashes, such as problems of fire discipline and mistakes in command and control. That, Readers, is a deliberate insult to the most powerful nation in history.
To recap, the UN Command is huffing and puffing, thumping its chest and marching around loudly, showing its muscle and wearing itself out, but the North is worried mainly about accidental clashes that might escalate!
The two items showcase the importance Vietnam has in Chinese and Indian strategy. As general rule, China emphasizes economic policies that tend to tie Vietnam to China. India offers Hanoi alternative options for security so that Vietnam can resist becoming an economic vassal of China.
Pakistan Question for Feedback:
Does the US aid package exceed Pakistan’s income tax receipts?
The introduction of car bombs and other IEDs risk transforming the fight against drug cartels into something that is worse than Afghanistan because the Mexican Army lacks even the inadequate US capability to defend against improvised explosives.
Phi Beta Iota: NIGHTWATCH is strongest in the Asian vortex. A properly managed Open Source Agency would do this kind of thing for all ten high-level threats to humanity, across all twelve core policy areas, at every level of governance from neighborhood to cosmic, all with “true cost” information on the table and biomimicry/conservation alternatives clearly stated. The USA should be, but is not, the bright light of sanity and applied intelligence (decision-support based on all information in all languages all the time, using all human minds all the time).