War may or may not be approaching in North Korea, but what is a certainty is that the region has become a kind of military testing ground where the US, China and North Korea are each demonstrating their military capabilities for the world to see.
It is a kind of military version of Donald Trump’s former reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’, combined with a style of ‘in your face’ brinkmanship reminiscent of the so-called arms race of the Cold War.
In recent days, the US Armada which Donald Trump spoke of sending to North Korea, appeared to be sailing in the opposite direction.
Now though, the fleet led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has sailed back towards the Korean peninsula and is within striking distance of North Korea.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has talked of the deterrence factor of the armada saying,
“A carrier group is several things. The forward deployment is deterrence, presence. It’s prudent.
But it does a lot of things. It ensures our — we have the strategic capabilities, and it gives the President options in the region. But I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence. So I think it serves multiple capabilities”.
At the same time, Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has played down the deterrent that the Vinson and accompanying ships and submarines represents. He told the press,
“As far as the movement of the Vinson, she’s stationed there in the western Pacific for a reason. She operates freely up and down the Pacific, and she’s just on her way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time. There’s not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we’re sending her up there”.
At the same time, China has tested live weapons form one of its newest destroyers, the Xiang Zhihong,
China released a statement about the ship saying,
“The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N)’s Xining warship was commissioned as part of the North Fleet in January. It features a ‘stealth design’ and can serve as a ‘flagship for a strike group”.
China has released a video of the live fire drills.
Of course, North Korea, the centre of attention in all of this has confirmed that it plans to exercise its sovereign right to test weapons on its own territory whenever it likes.
As The Duran reported earlier, this looks like a kind of military-industrial complex fully unleashed combined with the kind of ‘made for TV’ tension and drama that one could easily associate with Donald Trump.
It all of this is mindless brinkmanship, the world may soon be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. But of course, there is always the possibility that this could lead to a major conflict in East Asia.
Trump is getting the domestic ratings, but he has totally lost his ‘peace through strength ‘ credentials. This isn’t peace through strength, it’s war by provocation and it is deeply irresponsible.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.