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As the political heat rises over North Korea, a writer can be left wondering if any conflict may be done and dusted before an essay can be completed, let alone published.

If war does break out over North Korea, there would be great risk of a wider conflict, one that could go nuclear and global, in which none would win.

North Korea cannot be viewed in isolation, but must be seen in the light of larger events well underway, in which any conflict breaking out over the Korean Peninsula may simply become a spark to ignite a third world war.

PRESIDENT TRUMP

President Donald Trump of the United States has declared that he will solve the problem of North Korea, with or without the help of China.

Any conflict between North Korea and the United States would be bloody, and lead to the collapse of the hermit kingdom.

China will not like this happening, as a buffer would be removed between them and the United States.

Would China invade North Korea to solve the problem, and maintain a buffer?

If that happened, it could be acceptable to the United States, South Korea and Japan, who are all threatened by North Korea.

Whether North Korea would accept such an invasion remains a moot point.

If North Korea fought China, any conflict may be confined to the north.

If China does not take control of North Korea, then we must wonder what will happen.

North Korea is a problem without a solution, and is a nation ready for a fight.

If President Trump is true to his threat and takes action on North Korea, a vicious war can be expected as the North retaliates.

China will still want that buffer, so if that war happens, and is allowed by China to happen, we can wonder why, and what may happen next.

AN UNFINISHED WAR

As no peace was ever agreed to in 1953, the Korean War never really ended.

Among the casualties of the Korean War were 180,000 Chinese soldiers. [1]

With such heavy losses in that war, how China reacts may not be obvious.

Blood may run thicker than water on the Korean Peninsular.

If China appears to buckle to the demands of the United States over North Korea, they may then appear weak when it comes to their claim on the South China Sea, as well as with their claim on Taiwan.

Whatever happens, China will be seeking a show of strength, however quietly they do this.

RUSSIA

Under the rule of President Putin, Russia has found reason to push the Russian national boundary back toward the West, taking the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and supporting an on-going conflict in the Donbas.

Out of fear of invasion from the west, which has happened four times in the past couple of centuries, if Russia has a chance and an opening, they may go further west into Ukraine and also the Baltic states.

The Syrian civil war has Russian involvement, along with Iran.

We can but wonder what will happen next in the Middle East.

Since the United States bombed a Syrian air base with 59 tomahawk missiles, angering Russia, there is a greater risk of conflict among the many competing interests active there, including the United States and Australia.

CHINA

For China, the move had been long mooted, but when they physically claimed most of the South China Sea, and ignored world legal views on the matter, the aquatic real estate grab hit as quite a surprise.

Now China has a string of air and sea bases in the South China Sea on islands and reefs it has claimed.

This grab for territory compares with Russia’s taking of Crimea.

China has long claimed Taiwan as part of their nation, and would not need too much justification to invade and take control.

China also claims the East China Sea, an area contested with Japan.

When the United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb of their arsenal in Afghanistan, soon after bombing Syria, that could have been taken as a warning by China and North Korea, or it could be seen as a threat by both.

THUCYDIDES’S TRAP

The United States is the most powerful military power on Earth at present, but China’s power is growing and will one day come to rival that of the United States.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.”

China has been waking for some time, and is now stretching its arms and looking about, leading to an inevitable crossing of lines with the world’s current leading superpower, the United States, which could lead to war as interests collide.

This potential of war between an established and an emerging power was observed by the Greek historian and general, Thucydides, who wrote, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

Is war between the United States and China inevitable?

In his book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Graham Allison observes, “When a rising power threatens to displace a ruling one, the most likely outcome is war. Twelve of 16 cases in which this occurred in the past 500 years ended violently.” [2]

WHAT IF WAR

If the political and military rulers of China consider the potential for war with the United States may at some point happen, this would be like no war seen before in human history.

This is because superpowers cannot go to war with nuclear weapons and hope to win.

Facing off against the most powerful military machine on Earth, China may turn to speed and surprise.

The fact that China has moved so boldly on the South China Sea, reveals a will to confront the United States, and play a high stakes game of war.

It could be that conflict begins with North Korea, but what happens next would be as swift as lightning.

Look at the map of the World with Antarctica at the top, and we can see China’s view looking south, where they claim the South China Sea.

Look a little further south, across Indonesia, and we see the continent called Australia, where there is a major intelligence facility near Alice Springs, called Pine Gap.

If a nuclear weapon were going to be used as a show of force and a warning of more to come, Pine Gap would be a potential target.

Australia has no missile defence system.

To disguise the initial intent, that missile could be fired from North Korea.

Should the United States strike North Korea, this may be the trigger for the next great war.

At the same time a missile is sent flying to Australia, Chinese forces could be expected to invade and occupy parts of Australia.

If Russia and Iran are in support of China, they may make swift land moves of their own.

The fog of war may fall swiftly as military satellites are blinded.

Internet connected infrastructure may be frozen as cyber war hits.

Within hours of the conflict beginning, the Chinese and Russian ambassadors may visit the White House and deliver a pre-prepared declaration.

This may involve an ultimatum, that the United States withdraws behind a line, or there will be all out nuclear war.

Faced with the prospect of losing the lot in a war without any winners, and with as yet no strikes on the American continent, what would the United States do?

Faced with the loss of everything in a nuclear war, a peace deal may be struck.

NEW WORLD PEACE

What price would the East, both China and Russia, demand for peace?

KOREA   The occupation of the whole Korean Peninsula?

TAIWAN   The occupation of Taiwan?

ANTIPODES   The occupation of Australia and New Zealand?

ANTARCTICA   Complete reign over Antarctica.

UKRAINE   The Russians may demand Ukraine, the birthplace of the Russian nation.

BALTIC   Russia may demand the three Baltic States , as many Russian nationals still live there.

SAUDI ARABIA   As an associate of Russia, Iran may seek possession of Saudi Arabia.

The East would then hold sway over land and sea from the North to the South Pole.

The East would then have access to the resources of the Antipodes and Antarctic.

Ocean floor mining could also be pursued from the North to the South poles through the Antipodean zone.

Any Antipodeans uncomfortable with rule by the East, may be allowed to leave for Western nations, or even told to go.

A new world peace may then be established to accomodate the rising power of China, and avoid the unwinnable tragedy of a global nuclear war.

WOULD THEY?

Would the United States surrender the Antipodes?

It has happened before, with a territory the size of France.

West Papua was heading toward independence in 1961, when Indonesia began invading.

War was on the way in this Dutch colony, in which Australia would have engaged.

In 1962 Washington used their power to force the Dutch out, and gave half of New Guinea to Jakarta, to buy a pro-Western peace.

Many Papuans left for the Australian colony, now Papua New Guinea.

Papuans are now an impoverished minority in their wealthy homeland, where Western corporations mine the land.

Faced with the loss of all in a nuclear war, and seeing that China and Russia are deadly serious, the United States may well agree to cut the cards while they still can.

A NEW SPACE RACE

In the new world peace, a space race can be expected between the East and the West, to mine the Moon, asteroids and Mars, and drawing on the virtually unlimted energy-well of the Sun, build factories in space to make any product and build any dream.

Orbital cities in space would offer other worldly vacations with access to zero gravity, shopping like nothing on Earth, along with research and development opportunities in the vacuum of space.

The brisk war with China would be forgotten, as the high frontier is opened to new opportunities, adventure and new lands built in space for human settlement among the stars.

In this future, the Antipodean vision, offering so much hope beneath the stars of the Southern Cross, will have vanished beneath the boots of new rulers and a red Communist flag.

AN ALTERNATIVE ALLIANCE

Is there another way for the Antipodean nations to have a future and be free?

An alternative peace could be forged by creating an Indian Ocean alliance, where there are nations with much in common, and not just cricket.

South Africa, India and the Antipodes were once part of the British Empire, and are now members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Unlike China and Russia, the three Indian Ocean nations hold shared democratic principles.

India has much to offer.

“India is the world’s fastest growing major economy. By 2050 it will be the planet’s most populous nation.” [3]

Should Australia, India and South Africa forge an Indian Ocean alliance, there are other Commonwealth nations around the Indian Ocean who may join this new alliance, followed by non-Commonwealth nations.

The focus of the alliance can be trade, defence and space development.

India has a powerful interest in space development, and the technically advanced nations of Australia and South Africa could rise to the space challenge.

Having political cultures and histories in common will make it much easier for Commonwealth nations to work together.

In the light of rapidly rising tensions over North Korea, the South China Sea, and on-going conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, if an Indian Ocean alliance is to form, it would need to be soon and take shape rapidly.

If the Antipodeans have a strong alliance with India, that may prove to be a far more reliable defence strategy.

SPACE FOR PEACE

Considering the potential for development beyond Earth, where there is unlimited space for all nations to expand and develop, opening the high frontier will become a force for peace on Earth.

With space for expansion, there will no longer be the need to grab land on Earth.

An Indian Ocean alliance would be able to collaborate with all nations to pursue peaceful exploration and development in space.

OUR CHOICE

An asian nation attempted to invade the Antipodes in 1942.

There may be no stopping another rising empire from doing the same, and more successfully now.

One key reason for invading the Antipodes, would be to prevent the south being used as a base to fight back from, as happened in World War Two.

Compared to China’s population, there are so few people living DownUnder, that China may decide the place is Terra Nullius.

If we want a future for Australia, then we may need to think quite differently, and be fast about it.

If we just drift along, we may find ourselves on a beach in California, as refugees.

Would we be locked up?

REFERENCES ~

[1]  180,000 Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War
China Daily, 28 June 2010
http://www.china.org.cn/china/2010-06/28/content_20365659.htm

[2]  Thucydides’s Trap
http://www.belfercenter.org/thucydides-trap/overview-thucydides-trap

[3]  India poised to become world’s third largest economy and a power in its own right
James Bennett, 10 April 2017, ABC News Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-10/india-poised-to-become-a-power-in-its-own-right-australia/8429582

EARLIER ARTICLES BY KIM PEART ~

Can an Aussie Paper Cat survive a hungry Chinese Panda?
6 August 2016
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/can-an-aussie-paper-cat-survive-a-hungry-chinese-panda/

What Will Russia Do ~ NEXT?
6 March 2014
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php/article/what-will-russia-do-next

Kim Peart was raised in Howrah, Tasmania, from 1952. An interest in history began with the Vikings (787-1066), and found its way through time to the Danish adventurer, Jorgen Jorgenson (1780 -1841). Many similarities can be found between Vikings and colonial Van Diemen’s Land, such as the splitting of logs for building. Some skills worm their way through time with little change. After some years in Queensland, Kim now lives in Ross, which has an interesting bridge. Kim is the founder of Space Pioneers and engages in futuristic contemplations about where we are heading to among the stars.