Monday, February 04, 2008

China and Thailand

Speaking of Southeast Asia, I don't seem to see anyone in the U.S. government, or the commentariat, talking about the role of China in the ongoing political crisis in Thailand. People closer to the source, like Bangkok Pundit, are alert to it.

During the Burma uprising we learned that that nation is a thrall of China. I suspect the Chinese leadership would love to add Thailand to that list.

There are two Chinas, I think: the fuzzy, furry, messy surface of a Westernized and semi-capitalist Asian people, but at the core a patient military-government nexus that sees America as its rival and is prepared to build its strengths and sap our weaknesses for the long haul.

Watch, in the coming Olympics, how the Chinese leadership has been able to winnow its population and find the exact athletes to win in the obscure sports and thus boost its medal count.

To the extent that our Mideast entanglements distract us from thinking and talking about China, they are a disaster for our foreign policy. But even before we dove in, we weren't paying enough attention.

If the conflict with China becomes more direct, the U.S. Navy will have to stand up. And I really wonder if it is ready for that.