A Gathering Storm From the East

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A Gathering Storm From the East

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Last weekend United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave the keynote speech at a meeting of Asian defense ministers in Singapore. Rumsfeld made headlines by stating plainly that China threatens the security and stability of Asia by conducing a massive arms buildup. ''Since no nation threatens China," Rumsfeld told the assembled defense ministers, ''one must wonder: Why this growing investment? Why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases? Why these continuing robust deployments?" Currently China's defense budget ranks behind only the United States and Russia's. Rumsfeld asks, "I just look at the significant rollout of ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan, and I have to ask the question: 'If everyone agrees the question of Taiwan is going to be settled in a peaceful way, why this increase in ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan?'"

America has treaty obligations with Taiwan and should China decide to repatriate its lost province it could send an already stretched American military into a shooting match. Most analysts agree the Chinese military, despite its size and number of weapons, is no match in training and experience against American troops. But the last thing the defense department wants with troops spread thin throughout the Middle East is a war in the far east.

Fear is key factor in this Asian equation. Japan fears a resurgent and belligerent China. China fears a nuclear armed Japan, something that could happen within six months once Japan's leaders feel that is the only option to protect their sovereignty. South Korea fears an invasion from North Korea, a nation that will not join the modern world nor adequately clothe and feed its own people. The region is a tinder box waiting for a spark to ignite a conflict that could easily get out of control and drag other nations into war.

Here are two articles showing opposite views on China. One is from the Boston Globe and presents a view that makes the United States to blame for China's fear. The other, by columnist Suzanne Fields, offers what I feel is a more realistic appraisal . Read them both and then look at this article by our own writer Cecil Maranville which appeared in a recent issue of World News and Prophecy.

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