Pyongyang's Provocation a Boon for US Pivot to Asia

The threats spewing forth from Pyongyang are shrugged off by most South Koreans but provide excellent cover for the US to beef up its military presence around the far more significant and realistic flashpoint — the Senkakus (Diaoyudao).

As I’ve suggested in earlier essays, if Pyongyang and the Kim Dynasty didn’t exist, a regime very much like it would have been created out of whole cloth by tacit understanding between Washington and Beijing. The rogue state’s predictably provocative rhetoric and occasional actions keep the fires of militarism, geopolitical ambition and industrial profits well stoked in both the US and the Chinese military-industrial complexes.

Kim’s most recent pronouncement was something like an “approval for a merciless attack on the US”. That prompted the Pentagon to deploy yet another hi-tech showpiece — THAAD, short for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System.

No doubt the system is a technological marvel and cost well into the billions of dollars. Where better to deploy it than on Guam, Washington’s westernmost possession in the Pacific, right in China’s front yard? Given THAAD’s spec of shooting down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, where better to deploy it than where it can stop missiles from the only nation in the region with plenty of nuclear missiles?

I don’t mean N. Korea.

What better diplomatically-acceptable rationale to justify deploying THAAD in China’s neighborhood than repeated threats of all-out war by a neighboring regime that has proven that it possesses at least the rudimentary building blocks for a missile capable of reaching Guam, possibly even one with a small nuclear warhead. The fact that it probably doesn’t have a miniature nuke — or even a conventional warhead — capable of actually doing damage to a target at that distance is a matter of academic debate, not for military strategists seeking a pretext for deploying a system to block Chinese missiles targeting Hawaii, a US aircraft carrier or perhaps even the US mainland.

The only plausible trigger for all-out war between China and the US would be a direct attack by China on Japanese territory. The most likely candidate would be the uninhabited group of islets that sit between Okinawa, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland that have already been the cause of so much ink and pixels these past eight months.

The deployment of THAAD comes on the heels of a long string of deployments by the US in response to Pyongyang’s recent string of farfetched threats — an Aegis destroyer, an aircraft carrier, a pair of B-2 bombers, B-52s and a squadron of F-22 stealth fighters with nuclear capability, not to mention a second destroyer on the way and possibly a second aircraft carrier as well.

That kind of arsenal isn’t being deployed to deal with Kim Jong-un, or even to scare Kim; it’s being deployed because Kim has provided a diplomatically defensible pretext to deploy it in East Asia without making the US look like a warmonger. And without violent protests from S. Koreans like the ones that forced the US to withdraw nuclear missiles from the peninsula in the 1990s.

Of course Beijing is well aware of this. Even as Xi Jinping and other officials call for Pyongyang to stop raising tensions in the region, they aren’t objecting to the US buildup. For one, the plausible rationale Pyongyang is providing the US for boosting its Asian military presence spares China loss of face. More importantly, the whole circus happens to play right into Beijing’s own agenda — distracting the world and its own people from its domestic troubles, its own massive military buildup and the rapid acquisition of overseas bases for its mushrooming navy.

Beijing aims to challenge the US in the Middle East, and India in the Indian Ocean, and has taken big strides to do both by adding aircraft carriers, submarines, long-range military cargo planes, and new bases in the region. Facing a slowing economy and a population increasingly restive about official corruption and a widening wealth gap, it welcomes the unfolding N. Korean drama and the US reaction to it as an opportunity to solidify nationalistic sentiment on the part of the average citizen who might otherwise be grousing about the government. And of course, as in the US and elsewhere, the buildup of hi-tech armaments is the single best way for a government to channel wealth to friendly industrialists.

So even as Washington and Beijing direct stern warnings to Pyongyang, they are appreciative of the remarkable amount of cover that a small impoverished regime can provide for massive military buildups, as well as its salutary impact on national solidarity.

What makes the situation even cozier is that Kim himself understands the role he’s playing among the superpowers. More importantly, he too appreciates the power of a little military drama to tame dissension within his own regime.



Sinopuppy · Apr 3, 06:23 PM · #

U.S and it’s proxy puppet client states have been testing and provoking the young Kim leader in the DPRK. War Game drills directed at the young kim.

Agree it’s a pretext for U.S to deploy more military hardware pertaining to the U.S containment policy directed against China. Increasing U.S congressional defense spending.

U.S and it’s proxy puppet client states have long declared economic war directed against North Korea.

U.S C.I.A & National Endowment for Democracy and it’s proxy puppet clients have attempted regiem change and the overthrow of the PRC and DPRK governments for the past 60yrs.

U.S refused to sign a Peace Treaty with DPRK and PRC since Korean War ceased hostilities in 1953.

Sam0221 · Apr 3, 06:52 PM · #

China and North Korea are pretty disgusting races. Nasty gunk.

I hope NK attacks South. Then SK will just go berserk over NK and reunite. Reunited Korea, US forces, and Japan will then look down at Chinese roaches with contempt – all missles pointed at China.

Raphael · Apr 4, 04:09 AM · #

sam, does your mommy know you’re being a racist douchebag over the internet?

Simple · Apr 4, 08:04 AM · #

Korea,Japan-Small fish to fry,use and abuse.
China,Russia,USA-Big sharks to do at will.

Post WW2-Korea innocent victim of Big Shark games.
Japan-Sell out and stupid fish.

China-Pragmatic,experienced,veteran politicians laughing at stupid young shit pushing buttons.Would never happen in China.Would take out Kim and occupy NK if needed.

USA-Smart troublemaker,good BS.

Russia-Watching,support status,full plate in Syria and ME

Sinopuppy · Apr 4, 03:47 PM · #

U.S Policy towards DPRK has been formed by C.I.A -Sue Mi Terry , Victor Cha & Christopher Hill. All of whom believe in steady War Games Drills directed at North Korea and increased economic sanctions directed at DPRK. Both forms of Economic war and provocations.

U.S strategy is to isolate and demonize DPRK. To initiate regime change covertly.

U.S and proxy puppet client states want a unified Korea with 40,000 U.S troops with nuclear weapons pointing a dagger at PRC neck as part of containment policy to destablize China and promote Chinese domestic rioting, civil unrest and social turmoil leading to chaos,violence,disorder and collapse of a stable unified nation state of PRC.

Sinopuppy · Apr 6, 08:17 PM · #

China is responding to unilateral U.S military,political and economic dominance for the past 60yrs. U.S Strategy of Containment is a War of Atrition. Did U.S win in Korea,Vietnam,Persian Gulf,Iraq,
Is U.S winning in Yemen,Libya,Syria,Africa,Pakistan and Afghanistan?
Is it costing $2T or will cost really be $6T. A U.S National Debt of $16T. Unfunded Liability Obligations $45T.
I’m pretty sure China is capitalist.

simple · Apr 6, 09:05 PM · #

Listen Sam0221, the reason Goldsea lets communist run buck-wild as you say, is because it’s called FREEDOM of SPEECH. You are acting like the communist you dopey censor.
Everybody else wants peace and legitimate sovereign rights for all countries. Only the USA wants intimidation and corporatocracy for self interest.
Look in the mirror you racist moron bonehead.

Sinopuppy · Apr 7, 06:09 PM · #

Freedom of Speech:

GOOGLE Space Imagery over NorthEast China confirmed 500+ Chinese PLAAF aircraft over “MIG ALLEY”.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) confirms PLAAF 100+ Xian H-6 Heavy Bombers on DEFCON 3.

I think Russia Bear TU-95 Heavy Bombers made their presence known.

Maybe time for DPRK & RoC to resume normal business.

Maybe time for U.S to de-escalate.

Chill Out Everybody. Get a Budweiser

Sinopuppy · Apr 8, 02:59 PM · #

What would the World be without rumors and pictures:

korean_guy · Apr 11, 12:46 PM · #

“Listen Sam0221, the reason Goldsea lets communist run buck-wild as you say, is because it’s called FREEDOM of SPEECH.”

That’s correct! Chinese have to come to the declining United States, that looks more like China daily, to enjoy freedom of speech. Freedom is a notion that Chinese have no clue in even if their cattle lives are dependent on it.

“You are acting like the communist you dopey censor.”

Tell that to the evil peasant thugs known as Politburo. Communists are running and ruining America as we speak.

“Everybody else wants peace and legitimate sovereign rights for all countries.”

Your “Everybody” does not include China.

“Only the USA wants intimidation and corporatocracy for self interest.
Look in the mirror you racist moron bonehead.”

And China does not intimidate? Why should he look in the mirror when China is also ruining the world?

China is a nation of most concentrated racists in the world. If you haven’t seen a good racism in real life just look up nasty Chinese women spewing racial garbage to black Americans. That’s some new kind of depravity.

Sinopuppy · Apr 11, 04:21 PM · #

Russian bombers conduct practice strikes on US missile defenses in Asia

Read more:

Korea is toast · Apr 13, 10:32 AM · #

North and South Korea is toast thanks to Koreans like korean_guy, who are full of hot tempered,raving bullsh#t,traditional,Korean values used to try to one up people, but always end up FUC%ing up themselves.

flybynite · Apr 13, 11:11 AM · #

Before you jump to the wrong conclusion about Koreans, you might want to consider the likelihood that the poster who calls himself Korean_guy is actually a white southern redneck. You can see that discussion played out at:

I happen to be an Korean American and, based on the kinds of statements made by Korean_guy (whom I will call Tenessee_guy from now on) is spoofing a Korean to try to stir up bad blood. He’s a just a redneck who feels left behind by the progress in the rest of the world.

Korea is toast · Apr 13, 02:45 PM · #

Good point, everywhere online too.

U.S. gov’t agents, do same thing for same reasons.

flybynite · Apr 14, 09:44 AM · #

I don’t think Tenessee_guy (aka Korean_guy) is a govt agent. He doesn’t have the logical powers and historical education needed to qualify as an agent.

As for the Koreas, yes N. Korea is toast but S. Korea will continue its rise for some time to come though it is slowing. It is about where China will be in another 30 years or so.

Sinopuppy · Apr 15, 11:10 AM · #

65% of South Korean salaries are allocated to rent or mortgage payments.
Is food and groceries expensive in South Korea. Real inflation in South Korea 2.2%
The real growth rate in South Korea was 2.1%
South Korea has a household debt to income ratio of 155 percent. As of the end of December 2012, household debt totaled 647.2 trillion won (US$573.25 billion), according to the Bank of Korea.
28% of 9.84 million households can neither pay off the principal and interest of their debt nor make ends meet with their current income, according to the study. Their debt amounts to W257.4 trillion (US$1=W1,130), taking up 31.6 percent of the total debt of all indebted households.

jeremy · Apr 29, 06:48 AM · #

The USA gonna attack China in the near future. Many reasons why, in fact, so many you’d need a whole book to list them all out. But one thing is very very clear – the USA cannot stand or tolerate the looming threat of China overtaking the USA to become the number one economy in the world. The USA gonna dismantle China soon. Are the Chinese fast asleep ? If they are,then they fully deserved to be dismantled.

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