Can Washington prevent war in Southeast Asia?
I wrote last week that the risk of war in Europe was back. This week, unfortunately, the likelihood of confrontation in Asia seems to be spiking higher as well.
Two events in particular have driven this development, separate but subtly interlinked. On the Korean peninsula, the deployment of a new South Korean missile defense system and imposition of new U.S. sanctions on the north has nudged tensions higher. Now, an international court decision on China’s claims in the South China Sea could further amplify already growing posturing over disputed maritime boundaries.
For the United States, particularly in an election year, this is a pretty toxic brew. Washington might be the preeminent global military superpower, but it is now being pulled in multiple directions on a scale not seen in recent history. Nor is it truly in control of its own destiny – in Asia even more than Europe, its foes and allies are often calling the shots while the United States is inevitably left playing catch-up.
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WNU Editor: Unlikely. North Korea, Chinese-Japanese tensions, South China Sea boundary disputes, these disputes go back generations .... and in East-Asia it is these countries that are calling the shots. As for the the U.S. .... it is a super-power, but in this situation they are a spectator who may get caught up in a crossfire if they try to step in to stop a fight.