What does it all mean?????

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Would anyone care to comment on this new revelation "shift of power" I believe that we wont even have to wait for Y2K to hit before we see some major changes in our respective government alignments due to the Asia crisis. What are your views on this Will! Timothy Wilbur

Crisis sparks power shift By ROBERT GARRAN 28jul98 The Australian

THE Asian economic crisis could bring shifts in the region's balance of power, Alexander Downer said yesterday, then reinforced the point by announcing Australia would hold annual political and military security talks with Russia.

He said some countries had fared better in the crisis than others "and that may lead to shifts in the balance of power in the region". However, he would not speculate on what this shift might be.

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov agreed during a meeting in Manila with Mr Downer's proposal for talks, which Australia's Foreign Minister said would allow the two countries to share views on security issues in the region and worldwide.

The Russian talks broaden the range of Australia's security dialogues, which have grown rapidly since the end of the Cold War and the new uncertainties that have replaced it.

Australia began talks last year with China, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam, and now has discussions with most countries in the region.

The two ministers are attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting, at which 11 other countries, including Russia, China, the US and Australia, join ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations for talks on regional security.

"As the countries of the East Asia-Pacific region become increasingly interdependent, strategically and economically, habits of dialogue and information exchange are essential in building trust and enhancing transparency," Mr Downer said. "Our relationship with Russia, at least since the end of the Cold War, has been a little thin.

"Trade has been a great deal smaller than it was during the time of the Soviet Union and there hasn't been a great deal of political contact."

The first talks with Russia would be held in October and would be held probably every year, alternating between Canberra and Moscow.

Joint military exercises were not planned at this stage and a formal security alliance was not on anyone's agenda.

"I certainly don't see a security alliance developing, that's not in our minds and it wouldn't be in their minds," Mr Downer said.

The East Asian economic crisis so far had had negligible effect on security. On the positive side, many countries had had to reduce their defence spending, especially in buying defence equipment.

However, this was offset by some countries' lack of resources, which reduced their capacity to hold joint military exercises that were important in building confidence between countries.

In the short term, the greatest risk to security was from the illegal movement of people, although this had not yet become a big issue.

-- Timothy J Wilbur (timkaz@nor.com.au), July 27, 1998


Sounds like the usual sort of geopolitical speculation. The Pacific rim is virtually certain to be the site of many of the next century's "interesting times". Think about it. There's an emergent superpower (China); a decaying once-superpower (Russia); the present superpower (USA); several other states with various sorts of ambitions and leaderships, not inconsiderable military might and greater potential. There's also an economic crisis that still needs sorting out. While the USA/USSR cold war persisted, the world was locked into one pattern. Now that's gone, everything is fluid and new patterns will emerge.

A very intelligent megalomaniac once said "Let China slumber. When she wakes, the world will tremble".

Y2K relevance: not a lot, though of course Y2K adds considerably to the uncertainties here as everywhere else.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), July 28, 1998.

My guess as to the biggest Asian problem that will appear post-Y2K is China vs. Taiwan. If China evaluates the U.S. military to be in a weakened condition due to systems failures in logistics and weapons, then it may well consider that the opportunity to regain the "renegade province" has arrived.

-- Max Dixon (Max.Dixon@gte.net), July 28, 1998.

Be very glad that China lacks the force projection capabilities (a blue water navy, significant cargo airlift, etc.) she is trying so desperately to acquire. Within a few years China will have likely added a full compliment of those capabilities necessary to deliver a significant military force abroad, and her true intentions will become quite clear to all of those who cannot yet perceive them. The past few years have seen a significant upgrade in the capabilities of the Chinese strategic nuclear arsenal, thanks in large part to the policies of the current and previous administrations. This has gone a long way toward creating an enmical power capable of raining nuclear destruction on CONUS (the continental US). In fact they have already threatened California... .

Several years ago China completely re-evaluated her military strategy along what they called a "small wars" model. In their definition that meant a short duration, high intensity, high technology conflict, based on the lessons of the Falklands affair and the Sand War. Since their previous military model called for a ponderous military machine that was based on WW2 era technology, this represented an enormous break with the past. Since that time the Chinese have let nothing stand in the way of obtaining the best military technology they can lay hands on.

Fortunately they have a ways to go. But the strategic situation in the Pacific is... volatile, as the stock market guys say. The long term outcome is far from clear. If the US military, downsized (gutted is a better word for it) as it is, is perceived as crippled by y2k or anything else within about the next 15 years, the strategic situation might take quite an interesting turn- and quickly too.

If you have a son between the ages of three and sixteen, I wish him well. He'll most likely need all the good wishes he can get. If we're all lucky the Chinese will buy into the yuppie mentality and nothing bad will happen. If we're not lucky all my cracks on the range about the 4th Mongolian Horde ("Short bursts, short bursts- you're not shooting at... .) might come back to haunt me.


-- Anon (Anon@anon.mil), August 01, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ