Friday, November 26, 2010

North-South Korean War: Are we ready for war?

Are we ready for war?


Tensions are beginning to rise in the Korean peninsula, and this is starting to get really serious. The government says it has allotted 25 million as a contingency fund, in case the issue escalates into war. A US warship has been sent by Obama near the Korean peninsula, ready to assist the South Koreans in a full-scale engagement. 


Actually, it is not right to say that a new war might erupt between the two Koreas. Since the 60's, the North has been at war with the South. If one of them fires back, says the South fires a missile at the North, then, this would surely lead to a full-scale attack, a battle if you will that will shake the entire region.


Why so? Because behind this North-South issue lies the issue of regional leadership. Who between China and the United States will successfully end the hostilities? Or, will the two economic giants favor a full-scale war instead of peace?


The North is being backed by China, an emerging global giant, with numerous interests in Asia. The United States, meanwhile, is trying to re-assume leadership in the region. 


A full-scale war will benefit both China and the United States. For the US, it will again re-ignite its war industries, which have been in the doldrums since the last continuing engagement with the insurgents in the Middle East and two, a war will surely re-establish the U.S. dominance in regional affairs.


War feeds the huge US capitalist system. War will again necessitate the production of arms and war materiel, which translates to additional jobs, acquisition of resources and the like. This will be good for the US economy which continues to lag behind other economies in the world. 


This will also be an occasion for China to display its war arsenal before the world. China will definitely be the supplier of arms to the North, thereby, further strengthening the ties of the two Communist states. 


Both countries would definitely use this "tension" for their own interests. For China, this will be used as an occasion to establish or further strengthen its dominance throughout the region. For the US, this will allow itself to re-establish both its economic and military might in Asia.


A tension in the North would definitely impact on the behavior of markets throughout the world. There would probably be more profiteers in this one than the last engagement in the MIddle East.


The most concern is--will this spark a new escalation of conflicts throughout the rest of the world? A war in the Korean peninsula would surely break the tenuous peace in other flashpoints. 


Terrorists could use this to increase their guerilla war in several fronts. This may open the US or Europe to terrorist attacks since the global cop is busy trying to contain the North Koreans.


The only concern that I am articulating here is the effects of such a war in the Philippines. Are we ready for a 21st century war?


A 21st century war is different from the 1960 engagement which the Philippines took part of. The Philippines is a strong ally of the United States, yet we are also beginning to re-imagine our relationship with China. In case of a war in the Korean peninsula, will we have an active role in supporting the South? The AFP already said it is ready to deploy troops in case the South requests it. 


This worries me. It is not wise for the Philippines to take part in this war for two (2) reasons: one, the Philippines does not have enough money to support a deployment of troops and two, we are just beginning to re-establish ourselves as a regional player and this might spoil it. 


Another worrisome aspect of this one is the purported military exercise scheduled by the US and South Korea. US troops have been sent here ready to join the exercise at the Yellow sea. The US still maintains troops in our territory under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). 


Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs, said that the exercise has been scheduled prior to the "tensions", yet admitted that the exercise meant a "very strong signal of deterrence and aimed at strengthening ties with South Korean allies".


The North has warned the US not to intervene in the current dispute and will fire more artillery and missiles against the South if provoked. The question really is---will this involve an attack against US forces stationed in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines? If this tension escalates, then, the possibility is there.


The question is---are we so ready for war?