Friday, December 10, 2004

Discussion of the Grand Game? I Must Weigh In!

This is fascinating stuff. Chrenkoff has the most fascinating posts lately and this one is no exception. When it comes to big picture strategic stuff, I am all ears and cannot be silenced. Anyone reading, please weigh in with comments, criticism, and so on.

In regards to Japan, I think it is wonderful news. I realize that in Australia and throughout most of Asia, people do not recall Japanese military forces fondly. However, I think that in Japan's actions, we are seeing the quickening steps of a state throwing its lot in with the US.

Given that most states in the region fear and distrust Japan, it makes their partnership with the US even more important. By stepping up (albeit with baby steps) they are making the case that they are with the US and can be counted on.

As time goes on, it would not surprise me if the Asia Pacific area is marked by bandwagoning and balancing. States I feel will be in the US orbit will be Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Strongly interested but kept at a distance will be Taiwan. I need to do some more thinking, but I also expect to see the Philippines and Vietnam as well. I am less certain about South Korea. The other side will largely be China, North Korea, and many of the smaller states in the region who see friendship with China as their best long-term interest.

Although this might play out on a global scale, it will largely be determined on a regional one. I cannot see the Europeans doing what is necessary to truly play games of power. They might talk the talk, but I do not see the willingness to spend on defense or sacrifice necessary to do more than bluff.

This largely leaves the US, China, and Russia as the big players. Russia always does what is in its interest - so it would not surprise me to see them play the role China played for the later half of the CW, tilting one way but not too far depending on the circumstances.

That leaves the US and China, regardless of economic interest, drifting inexorably into a new era of security competition.

The role of emerging powers like India will be to choose the side that promises the most for them - it will be interesting to see how they hedge their bets and the choices they make over the next decade.

I know this is not the height of cool, but I love this stuff (smile)...