Tag Archives: analogies

The Falklands War, Reloaded

Recently, I’ve been in a very informative conversation with Thomas P.M. Barnett. In a series of posts, including

here at tdaxp, and

over at Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. We disagree on the nature of a war with Iran (Tom thinks it would be disasterous, I view it more as a non-event) while agreeing on the purpose and effects of the Iraq War.

In particular, Dr. Barnett wrote:

attacking Iran overloads the Core on feedback, thus putting it at risk. I can’t grow the Core if I split it, thus my fear.

This is a reasonable concern. Iran herself is is not particularly important. However, if the developed world is hurt by an Iran War through side effects, it would be a disaster.

So we have to look to the past. Are there examples of major Core powers attacking (without plans of occupying) important non-Core powers against the wishes of other Core powers?

The best example I can think of a “Core-splitting war” was the Falklands War of 1982.

The Iran of 26 Years Ago

Here anti-communist Britain attacks anti-communist Argentina. This was during the Age of Decolonization, where violent attacks on western powers were considered legitimate if the attackers supported disconnectedness, “anticolonization,” and “national resistance.” The French defense trade press praised Argentine victories (accomplished through French weapons), while America publicly condemned both sides while secretly aiding both the Argentines and the Brits. The war ended with a victory by the British and a subsequent revolution in Argentina that overthrow the military dictatorship and ushered in democracy. (A similar thing would later happen after the NATO war against Yugoslavia.)

But what effect did this divisive war have on the Core? Only one: The Falklands War ended the Age of Decolonization. Through its (albeit unilateral and divisive) flexing of muscle, Britain demonstrate that the Core would no longer cede land to the Gap.

The Core of 1982 was more more fragile than ours today. The New Core had yet to be welcomed to the club, and America, western Europe, and Japan were still enthralled by the ideas of government control and “planning.” Yet even in this weakened state, the only “overload” in the Falklands War was the lesson that the Gap attacks the Core at its peril. But this was a change in the nature of Core-Gap interaction. The Falklands War had no impact on intraCore behavior. Just as Iran does not matter today, Argentina just did not matter in 1982.

Update: Sean Meade alerts me to Cal Thomas, Counter Currents, and the International Herald Tribune, who also use a Falklands analogy.

Libertarian People’s Republic of China

America’s Iron Rice Bowl Cracks,” by Todd Crowell, Asia Cable, 23 May 2005, http://asiacable.blogspot.com/2005/05/americas-iron-rice-bowl-cracks.html (from Simon World).

An interesting article about our free market friends in Communist China

America’s state-owned enterprises – oops, I mean blue chip corporations – are teetering, we are told, under the strain of pension costs, medical costs and the effects of an aging population – not to mention foreign competition. They may have to shed social services for millions of Americans or go under.

It may seem strange to use a Chinese term to describe America’s old-line corporations, like General Motors, as being state-owned enterprises (SOE). After all, they are joint-stock companies, publicly listed companies answerable to shareholders and operating in a capitalist country. This isn’t Red China. Or is it?

We have more in common with China than you might think. After the revolution China’s industrial economy was organized into huge enterprises, owned by the state. More than factories, they were virtually self-contained communities. They provided what elementary social services were then available to Chinese workers such as housing, health clinics, old-age pensions and life-time employment.

In China this is known as the “iron rice bowl.”

Similarly, America’s blue chips are, or have been, massive welfare machines. General Motors says it will spend more than $5 billion this year to provide health coverage for its more than one million employees, retirees and their dependents. That does not include costs of old-age pensions.

This is what Tom Friedman would describe as “flattening.” Americans and Chinese are both taking charge of their life, their health, and their medicine. America and China, two dynamic nations, are transforming their economies from big-government/big-business to dynamic-government/dynamic-business.


Update: The article also mentions China’s family-based welfare system

China’s millions have to provide for themselves the old-fashion way, either by saving or falling back on families for support– call it the family responsibility system. The uncertainties of daily life plus the need to pay for their children’s education are one reason why Chinese are such prodigious savers.

Tom Barnett has similar ideas.

Deadly Viper Assassination Squad

Dear Mr. President, Here’s How to Make Sense of Your Second Term, Secure Your Legacy, and, oh yeah, Create a Future Worth Living,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Esquire, 15 February 2005 (from Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

I blogged a post based on the article a few days ago. But not the whole article is out. The snazziest part:

Kill Kim: Volumes 1, 2 & 3

NOW WE GET TO THE GOOD PART. The Koreas issue is the tailbone of the cold war: completely useless, but it can still plunge you into a world of pain if middle-aged Asia slips and falls on it. North Korea is the evil twin, separated at birth, and yet, because it’s still joined at the hip with its sibling, its better half grows ever more irrationally distraught as time passes, contemplating the inevitable invasive surgery that lies ahead.

So while it might seem at first glance like a job for Team America: World Police, you’ll want something less South Park in its comic simplicity and a little more Tarantinoesque in its B-movie grandeur. That’s right, we need a Deadly Viper Assassination Squad to make Kim an offer he can’t refuse.

Kim Jong Il’s checked all the boxes: He’ll sell or buy any weapons of mass destruction he can get his hands on, he’s engaged in bizarre acts of terrorism against South Korea, and he maintains his amazingly cruel regime through the wholesale export of both narcotics and counterfeit American currency. Is he crazy? He once kidnapped two of South Korea’s biggest movie stars and held them hostage in his own personal DreamWorks studio. But if that doesn’t do it for you, then try this one on for size: The Kim-induced famine of the late 1990s killed as many as two million North Koreans. If that doesn’t get you a war-crimes trial in this day and age, then what the hell will?

Here’s the squad we need to assemble: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, plus Russia.

Read the whole article.

The Increasing Obviousness of a Pacific NATO

Pressure Mounts on Pyongyang to Return to Talks: U.S.: Maintain 6-party framework even without North Korea,” by Heo Yong-beom, Digital Chosunilbo, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200502/200502160038.html, 16 February 2005 (from One Free Korea).

Korea, U.S. in Marathon Talks with China,” by Cho Jung-shik, Digital Chosunilbo, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200502/200502170037.html, 17 February 2005.

The U.S. and other world players are virtually ignoring North Korea’s declaration last week that it has nuclear weapons. Instead, they are trying to bring the country back to six-party talks on its atomic program through a mixed carrot and stick approach.

U.S. deputy secretary of state nominee Robert Zoellick reiterated Tuesday that the U.S. would stick to the basic format of the six-party talks, saying, “It is important for the United States to stay constant with the core strategy here.” Zoellick made the comment during a Senate confirmation hearing, where he also said it was important to convey messages simply and clearly to the world’s most isolated country.


In a hectic round of meetings, the heads of the South Korean and U.S. delegations to six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program on Thursday pressed China to persuade Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

After writing on the Concert of Asia and Bush’s multilateral Korean policies, I was struggling with how to “frame” this. It’s so obvious we are setting up a Pacific NATO, in fact if not in name. It’s not quite the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, but when the club to deal with North Korea no longer needs to talk to DPRK, it’s pretty clear what “dealing” means.

It’s also obvious North Korea wants to break this up. It has struggled to unseat the governments that are hostile to it. In both the United States (through John Kerry) and Australia (through the Labour party) it is hoping the Five Parties wil fall apart.

To me, it is so clear that I happy letting the articles speak for themselves

Meanwhile, Australian media reported that Pyongyang’s Ambassador to Australia Chon Jae-hong on Wednesday told the Australian Labor Party’s foreign affairs spokesman the best way to secure a peaceful solution was direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea. He is reported to have asked the Australian foreign minister to convey that message to Washington.