Is It Wise For The United States To Pivot To China?

Is it wise for the United States to pivot to China?  This question is so important in our young century, because we’re talking about the conflicts of the two most powerful nations of today time.  Once again, I like to use ancient history to reveal what we might face in the future.  Of course, ancient history doesn’t have a crystal ball to predict a future in which such a future is way different than anything ancient history could ever imagine.  Nonetheless, ancient history was the product of humans.  Thus, we can safely assume no matter how different the future will be, ancient history might get it right still.  Of course, unless the future is not a product of humans but of aliens, then I won’t bet my farm on ancient history at all.  (I don’t really have a farm!)  What ancient history I’m talking about?  Read on and I expand…

I watched a YouTube video, The Phoenician Carthage – The Roman Holocaust, in regarding to how Carthaginian empire was toppled by the Romans, and I was very intrigued to how United States and China are facing a very similar Carthaginian versus Romans picture, in the big picture of course.  I may get this wrong, because I’m no expert in ancient history of Carthaginian versus Romans.  Nonetheless, from what I’d learned from this YouTube video, Carthaginian empire was a superpower way before Rome became one.  Carthaginian controlled the nearby sea trade routes, thus Carthaginian empire was also an ocean going superpower just like how United States is today.  Meanwhile, at the time when Carthaginian ignored how Roman state was on the rise in term of ground territorial expansion, Carthaginian thought nothing of Rome until sometimes later this would prove to be fatal for Carthaginian empire itself.

Sometimes later, Roman state slowly took up form of an empire, albeit a much smaller one than Carthaginian.  As Roman empire began to expand even more, it faced an obstacle which was the Carthaginian empire.  Carthaginian controlled much of the sea routes for trade, and the Romans wanted a piece of that.  I don’t think I can be wrong on this, after all — wars of our time, meaning now or even in the past, were and are mostly about victories over trades, territories and whatnot.  Since the Roman state was on the rise to become an empire that rivaled the Carthaginian empire (eventually surpassed the Carthaginian empire), thus the two superpowers of their time began a series of conflicts that led to three major Punic Wars.  I’m not an expert in Punic Wars history, thus I couldn’t go into the details, but I know few things about the conflicts of Carthaginian empire and the Roman empire that I can use to compare the two superpowers of today, the United States and China.

At the start of first major Punic War, according to Wikipedia’s “Punic Wars” piece (source link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punic_Wars), the Romans wanted to expand to Sicily and was presented with an opportunity when a local conflict in Sicily broke out.  Whatever the details were, the local conflict in Sicily became a proxy war for Carthage versus Rome conflict.  Eventually, the proxy war enticed the two superpowers into an all out conflict, resulting in the first Punic War.  Wikipedia details that at the start of the first Punic War, Carthaginian was at a disadvantage on land warfare for Roman state was originally expansionary through land warfare, thus the Romans defeated Carthaginian at the Battle of Agrigentum in 262 BC.  With such a harsh defeat, Carthaginian decided to avoid most land warfare against the Romans and preferred to fight on sea.  Since the Roman empire was not strong at sea, thus Carthaginian empire was able to take advantage of Romans’ sea weakness.  The YouTube video I watched describes after a major defeat on sea, the Romans were lucky to capture a Carthaginian battleship which then later the Roman empire was able to duplicate such battleship technology to revert the tide of war on sea.  This is important for my thinking of the current conflicts between the two superpowers of today.

Today, the United States is still the undefeated champion on sea, and China is largely a powerful land based force.  Obviously, it’s less true than before as China is rapidly developing a huge professional navy with capable battleships and whatnot to deter United States from getting too close to her shore.  Just as how Carthaginian versus Romans, United States is facing a rising China in which China has overtaken the United States in world trade.  Since Carthaginian was facing a hungry Romans in trade and territory domination, the first Punic War between these ancient superpowers was becoming inevitable.  Can we say the same for the United States and China?  Once again, not so different from the Punic War conflicts, contemporary superpowers are emphasizing their face-off on sea.  China needs to control sea routes for trades and the United States does not want to be pushed out of the Pacific, thus the stage is setting up for a future sea confrontation.  Modern Punic Wars?  Who will be the Carthaginian and who will be the Romans this time around?

According to ancient history, Carthaginian empire was a superpower at sea.  Today, the United States is also a superpower at sea.  Romans stole Carthaginian’s battleship building technology, and was able to turn the tide for the ancient battles at sea.  United States and China have yet to go to war on sea, but China is hungry for better sea warfare technology.  Carthaginian didn’t want Romans to expand and capture ancient territories that could dictate favorable terms for trades such as important sea routes.  United States definitely does not want China to control most sea routes, because that would push United States out of Pacific, making United States becomes irrelevant in a modern, most profitable sea-trading territory in the world (i.e., Pacific ocean).  United States for sure knows that China is a very capable land force, because China has huge population to prepare a huge ground force invasion.  In ancient time, Carthaginian relied on mercenary for their army, but the Romans relied on native population for their army.  Today, United States does rely on mercenary more than China for obvious reasons.  One such reason is that China is not in as many conflicts as the United States, and the United States is facing too many conflicts around the world such as in the Middle East.  I’m living in the United States, and I feel it’s a poor taste of me to compare United States as Carthaginian empire and China as Roman empire.  Nonetheless, the picture of the ancients somehow reminds me of the picture of today.  Very freaky in my opinion.

Of course, one big difference of today world is that we are in a nuclear age, thus Carthaginian versus Roman conflicts might be irrelevant for warfare lessons since nuclear weapons can make sea warfare struggles become rather irrelevant.  Really?  What about submarines with nuclear warheads?  Isn’t this scenario all about using the sea to gain victory over the enemy?  Thus the oceans are still important in warfare today, and the oceans are still practically important to how we do trades today.  I think if we can go on without having sea conflicts between United States and China in a major way that might result in modern Punic Wars, then we might make to the space age.  Only in space age where trades take place in space that we might find conflicts on sea become less relevant.  Nonetheless, I don’t bet my farm on this, because nobody knows the future.  Even though the ancient time can remind us a familiar picture of the past, it doesn’t mean the future will unfold similarly.  Nobody knows really!  Nonetheless, history can be a great teacher in that the fundamentals won’t just become the aliens overnight, thus the human products of ancient history will probably be somewhat similar in contemporary age.  Thus it begs the question, is it wise to have modern Punic Wars?  Is it wise for United States and China to have conflicts at sea?

It was how Romans defeated Carthaginian that built the Roman empire into one of the most glorious ancient empires.

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Nobody Is Foolishly Enough To Have Another Korean War?

According to the news, North Korea is menacing again.  Just in, North Korea and South Korea were showered each other’s water with artillery rounds.  Furthermore, North Korea is threatening to do another nuclear test.  Some commenters on Yahoo expressed that if North Korea doesn’t change its ways, U.S. and NATO might attack North Korea to end Kim Jong-Un regime.  This sounds all good, and I bet it does make these commenters feel good too.  Nonetheless, I don’t think U.S. and NATO want to do something this foolish like keyboard warriors suggested.  Sure, I’m also a keyboard warrior, but at least I don’t suggest going to war so easily.  By the way, it’s not like U.S. hadn’t tried to attack North Korea before, right?  We did, and it wasn’t all that easy.

The Korean war in 1950 was just as gruesome as any war.  Nonetheless, at the time, we used 1950s’ warfare technology.  Imagine nowadays, North Korea does have better warfare technology plus nuclear weapons.  Sure, the United States and NATO do have better warfare technology, but it still won’t make going to war with North Korea a simple matter.  Millions could die, and that is probably understated.

If one versus one just like in a video game, going to war must be fun since everybody got to watch a game being played out.  Unfortunately, if United States and NATO ever attack North Korea, China might not be so idled by.  How about Russia?  What about Iran?  So on and so on.  North Korea is nobody business until it becomes the whole world’s business, because North Korea is not so isolated even though we may like to think she is being isolated.  Especially, China isn’t taking it easy when it comes down to North Korea.  Imagine if you’re China, and North Korea is menacing right next door, how do you feel?  Especially North Korea does have nuclear weapons.

Kim Jong-Un might not have a lot of choice even if he wants more choices.  His country isn’t friendly with the West and South Korea, otherwise it would have been a buddy to the West and South Korea already.  Thus, whatever the West and South Korea is doing, North Korea is not going to take it lightly.  Kim Jong-Un knows that his regime is shaky since he is young and inexperienced.  Nonetheless, he is not all stupid unless I’m wrong on this.  Nonetheless, I think he feels that his country and himself have to act strong, because the otherwise isn’t an option.  Acting weak might undermine his ruling.  Furthermore, acting weak only invites the United States and NATO to undermine him even more.  Since he got no choice, he has to act strong.

Nonetheless, when you’re acting strong, you must have already made up one’s mind in following through, right?  After all, what if the enemies call your bluff, what are you going to do?  Are we talking about poker?  Unfortunately, in North Korea case, I don’t think it’s poker at all.  Why?  If Kim Jong-Un’s bluff got caught, he would be attacked from all angles.  After all, his regime could not be shaken even a tiny bit, otherwise things will just gradually slip away into the oblivion.  Thus, he would back his bluff with an all out war.  I think Kim Jong-Un would bluff, but in the end he would go all out even though he would bluff.  It means that Kim Jong-Un would sacrifice his whole country just to back his bluff.  Why?  Either you’re strong or not!  Why?  Kim Jong-Un doesn’t have a choice unless his country could be seen just as another friendly nation to the West.  Unfortunately, I don’t see how the United States and NATO would like to cuddle up to North Korea, and Kim Jong-Un would be too suspicious to believe anything the United States and NATO have to offer.

As the United States and NATO continue to keep North and South Korea at war status, I don’t see how these prolonging hatreds could turn out peacefully.  Hostility will be piled up to the point of you know what, but by then nobody will care about how many millions will die.  Kim Jong-Un by then will not be able to be in control anymore but just have to defend to his death.  Obviously, one North Korea will never be able to win the day!  It’s a no brainer!  Nonetheless, nowadays, I doubt North Korea would be fighting alone!  You never know when the time comes, out of the woodwork came friends that we thought North Korea would never have!  Thus, North Korea isn’t as easy as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.  Otherwise, North Korea would have been conquered by United States & South Korea in 1950s already!

Peace should be reigned supreme, but when war came peace would be a sore loser.  In time of war, millions will die, but eyes would be blinded by hatreds; ears would be deaf by war cries; nobody would care who is right and who is wrong until all of the dusts got settled by…

Perhaps, North Korea is like a drunker or an addict.  Thus, North Korea can only change within her own country!  The outsiders like the United States and South Korea can only infuse more hatreds from North Korea.  The more the outsiders bash North Korea, the more hatreds of North Korea will have for the outsiders.  Thus, such growing hatreds can only manifest into all out war one day, and by then whatever the outsiders have to say about North Korea will be even more pointless.  If North Korea economy improves, and if the world is willing to be friend to North Korea, I think as long North Korea is seriously wanting to change for the better, things might get better.  Moreover, the United States and NATO should never fear North Korea, because North Korea would not be foolishly enough to attack the United States and NATO without her friends’ backings.  Nonetheless, North Korea will grow 100 times stronger if the United States and NATO start to make the first move!  How come?  North Korea’s allies will come to her aid since she wasn’t the one who had made the first move!

In summary, I think the North Korea situation is very unique in today world!  She has nuclear weapons, because we think so and she had tested some sorts of nuclear tests.  She has the manpower for a really big war!  She is mysterious enough that the United States, NATO, and South Korea might not have good enough intelligence to make the right decisions.  She is a buffer for China!  Her allies do not want to see a united Korea!  She would become 100 times stronger if she got attacked first (i.e., as long she doesn’t make the first move like starting a war without good reasons).  Thus, I think North Korea will go on and poke at United States, NATO, and South Korea with whatever tricks she has, because she knows nobody is foolishly enough to think she is another Saddam Hussein!  Nonetheless, things cannot go on forever like how they are, because the hot air balloon might just pop.  I think the West and South Korea and North Korea need to find ways to be friendly, otherwise the hot air balloon is just going to grow bigger until it pops.  It won’t be pretty!  North Korea might regret, but the world would pay a hefty price!

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