Archive for August, 2017

The U.S. Mess in South Korea and Asia

August 10, 2017

The US, incompetently led by the Republicans with Trump as their leader, is doing incredible damage to our business interests world wide, but especially in Asia. Of the many bad outcomes of this incompetence, nuclear exchange is only the most extreme. If South Korea is attacked even by conventional means it will do irreparable harm to our interests that will end up costing millions of American jobs. Even the current unease in South Korea is causing people and governments all over the world to second guess their relationship with us. Until now the US enjoyed a position unique in the world because we have been a reliable and dependable voice for de-escalation of military confrontations, a champion for free shipping lanes, a voice for expanded trade and many more things that benefit US jobs to a huge extent. It’s been a tremendous benefit to us that business people (in government or out) all over the world view the US agenda as advantageous to them. Because of this, we are at essentially every negotiating table, sometimes publicly, more often behind the scenes.

But historical benefits are of interest mostly to historians and the movers and shakers wake up every day and ask “But what have you done for us lately?”. If South Korea is attacked or destabilized, it will be a glaring red flag that the US can’t protect their allies, much less innocent bystanders. In fact, in the age of Trump, the US can’t even be depended on to act rationally. South Korea is one of the most developed, richest countries in the world, and the conventional wisdom will be that their citizens died because the US elected an idiot. They will hate us and the rest of the world will distrust us. China will rise, Singapore will become even more the voice of reason and we will be shut out of thousands of negotiations. And remember, when we have a seat, even if it is “none of our business”, our interests are protected.

For seven-five years the US has kept our seat at the table because every year we can say, “look at the countries that have aligned with us most closely – see how they have prospered.” But for thirty years the Chinese have been saying “But the American Pax comes with endless lecturing and interference. Democracy is dangerous for you. Look at China, prosperous beyond all imaginings based on our system. And we don’t care what you do inside your own country, we only care how you interact with us. America is over. Look to us as the next guarantor of Asian prosperity.” And in the past 10-15 years Russia has been whispering “America has overreached. They are seeking to redraw borders and reform alliances that have kept the world’s peace for decades. When will they look at your borders and start interfering there?” This dual track will gain credibility.

The American century will most certainly end 25 years short of the mark.  And American citizens will lose millions of jobs and thousands of dollars in the average persons pocket each year, and the truly wealthy will lose exponentially more.

Up to now, the stupidest move of the Republican leadership has been to push the TPP trade agreement aside. We spent years convincing 28 countries to act together for mutually benefit against other countries, not the least of which was China. And in one day we basically said “now that you are all working together, F* you.  Now that you have all the mechanisms of united action worked out, we’re leaving.  It’s you against us now, chumps.”

That stupidity, however, pales in comparison to what the Republicans are doing with South Korea.