Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who? Us?

Everything I know about about geopolitical, strategic thinking I learned playing Risk. Which is to say, I don’t know much. But I know geography matters. Words might enable confusion. Maps bring clarity. At least for me.

A Marine Base for Australia Irritates China

”For China, the week’s developments could suggest both an economic and a military encirclement. ”

”The president said the moves were not intended to isolate China,...”

Just so you don’t have to look them up, the map markers are (starting from the south) Darwin, Australia, Taiwan, Okinawa and Yokosuka, Japan. I think the map makes it pretty obvious the strategic importance of, say, the Philippines. Or Vietnam.

It is only these geopolitical thoughts that keep me from writing a tirade about our continued involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe geopolitik is a game for big minds -- and ultimately a game for fools. One might call it “encirclement” -- others “containment”. (If you bother to follow that link, be sure to read the next section on Kissinger as well.) I call it trouble.

By the way, the map was drawn with the help of this site. It’s also worth noting the enormous distances. The line draw is almost 4,000 miles in length.

Don Brown
November 17, 2011

1 comment:

Dave Starr said...

My own completely unofficial guess on this is that the Marines we send to Darwin will be from one or more bases in Okinawa.

The Japanese have been after us for years to get rid of them and Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam obviously don't want them.

Singapore would likely be happy to have them if there's a profit involved, but there is obviously no space there (Singapore is already very heavily used as a USAF transportation hub, all the logistic fights that used to hub out of Clark now transit there), so Darwin, which even the Aussies can't seem to keep populated comes into the picture.

As an American living in the Philippines the overall culture seems quite US-friendly, but I bet there wasn't a lot of coverage back there in the US on Hilary's visit earlier this week where her motorcade was blocked, diverted, stops canceled and pursued through Manila by egg and rick-throwing radicals.

Significant anti-US demonstrations blocking Roxas Blvd near the US Embassy with US flag burning leftists protesting the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement which was up for renewed this week.

I'd also venture to say the US news doesn't carry much news about the current US forces on the ground in the Philippines ... it's all quite "hush hush", kinda reminds of the first time my USAF wing was sent to Thailand to bomb Hanoi back in the '60's .. we weren't allowed to say where we were or what or planes were doing.

That war didn't turn out very well, wonder where our latest unwelcome overseas adventures will lead us?

Sign me, nervous in Manila.

PS, try this tool for measuring/illustrating distances, it's great: