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jerryking : political_geography   3

The U.S. Is Ceding the Pacific to China
March 3, 2019 | WSJ | By Mark Helprin.

While Washington’s focus is elsewhere, Beijing plays the long game—that means preparing for war.

The only effective leverage on China, and by extension North Korea—which otherwise will retain nuclear weapons whether overtly or covertly but certainly—is to alter the correlation of military forces in the Western Pacific, and indeed in the world, so that it no longer moves rapidly and inevitably in China’s favor, which is what China cares about, the essence of its policy, its central proposition. Though with some effort the U.S. is perfectly capable of embarking upon this strategy, it has not. It seems we lack the awareness, political will, intelligence, probity, discipline, leadership, and habit of mind to do so.
America_in_Decline?  Asia_Pacific  balance_of_power  China  China_rising  geopolitics  hard_power  long-term  long-range  maritime  Mark_Helprin  North_Korea  nuclear  PACOM  political_geography  political_will  rivalries  South_China_Sea  strategic_geography  submarines  trade_wars  U.S.  U.S._Navy  USMC  U.S.-China_relations  Xi_Jinping  zero-sum_games 
march 2019 by jerryking
Josef Joffe: Dear Vladimir: Congratulations. You Read My Book - WSJ.com
By
Josef Joffe
March 6, 2014 | WSJ |

Be both ruthless and prudent—just what I prescribed in "The Prince." You Russians have distilled my wisdom into a pithy phrase: Kto kovo—who dominates whom? And you have beautifully executed my central idea. I never preached violence to the max, but the "economy of force"—how to get more with less. The Crimean caper was a masterpiece of smart power politics.

Grab opportunities when you saw them. First, you calculated the "correlation of forces," to use a Soviet term....Then, you assessed political geography correctly. The rule is never to take on a superior enemy like the West on his own turf. You test his mettle on his periphery...Next, factor in geography proper. Globally, the West is far superior to Russia, but regionally, you were the Man. You had the "interior lines," as the great Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz put it; the West was a thousand miles away. And your troops were already in place in Crimea—tanks, planes and all....Now to the balance of interests, a more subtle concept. The EU has been contesting you over Ukraine, but more as a confused afterthought. Your country had more compelling fish to fry: Ukraine as former Russian heartland plus an ethnic majority in Crimea, a strategic gem that Khrushchev had absentmindedly given away to Ukraine 60 years ago.

So you also held the psychological advantage that comes with having more skin in the game. Khrushchev blithely ignored the balance of interests in the Caribbean. Otherwise he would not have moved his missiles into Cuba in 1962, 90 miles off the U.S. coast.....Best of all, you are a true Machiavellian when it comes to the economy of violence. Just enough, never too much, and with minimal risks. So you didn't grab eastern Ukraine, which might have really riled the West and triggered a costly insurgency. You merely harvested the low-hanging fruit of Crimea, and with a fabulous profit. ....Here, my pupil, beckons the biggest payoff. You need not fear the democratic contagion of the Maidan spilling over into your own country. Not for a long time.

What a boost to your "street cred" in the rivalry of nations! With a small investment, you have amassed what Mr. Obama no longer has and what the Europeans lost long ago: a reputation for ruthlessness and the readiness to use force.

Power is when you don't have to wield it—when you don't have to threaten, let alone execute, to get your way.....We live in a split world. In Asia and Africa, mayhem is as present or possible as ever. Call this the "Damascus-Pyongyang Belt." Yet in the "Berlin-Berkeley Belt," force as a tool of statecraft has virtually disappeared....the U.S.—is now loath to resort to the ultima ratio. And that offers you wondrous opportunities. When the supply of force contracts, even a little bit goes a long way, as you have proved in Crimea.
mayhem  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Vladimir_Putin  Crimea  Russia  power  influence  statecraft  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation  rogue_actors  skin_in_the_game  political_geography  ruthlessness  large_payoffs  Carl_von_Clausewitz  strategic_geography  hard_power  stratagems  power_plays 
march 2014 by jerryking

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