Saturday, January 30, 2010

Odious

Now that's a word you don't hear too often. It's saved for particular, special occasions. It's an odious word, after all.

Which is why Guambat was taken aback by China's response to the US sales of military gear to Taiwan. "Odious" turned a strong rebuke into a vehement stinkbomb.

China Suspends Military Exchanges With U.S.
"Considering the severe harm and odious effect of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the Chinese side has decided to suspend planned mutual military visits," Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying.

The Obama administration told the U.S. Congress on Friday of the proposed sales to Taiwan, a potential $6.4 billion package including Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot "Advanced Capability-3" anti-missile missiles, and two refurbished Osprey-class mine-hunting ships.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei also told the U.S. ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, that the arms deal could jeopardise bonds with Washington, which has looked to China for help in surmounting the financial crisis, dealing with Iran and North Korea, and fighting climate change.
It is even more worrying that China said bonds might be jeopardized. Guambat truly hopes this is a correct interpretation, in the sense of "ties", and is not a veiled threat to call the loans China has made to the US.

Stories like this tend to raise unease with Guambat considering how fragile is his burrow when pitted against the might of titans clashing in the neighborhood. While the US is currently beefing up defenses here, the US has no honor in its consistency with regard to defense of this neck of the ocean.

The US very consciously decided, for instance, that they would abandon Guam rather than defend it prior to the last World War, with the results that, first, Guam became the only inhabited US territory to become foreign dominated and occupied, and that, in order to retake it, thousands and thousands of lives were lost and the island was completely obliterated in the process, with the US dumping more bombs and cannon fire on the little island than had been used in the entire WWII up until the point of liberating it.

But, if certain elements in the new Japanese government get their way, Guam may be forced to load up its defenses as the last bastion of "welcomed" defense and deterrence. What started out as an effort to begin to ease a few marines out of Okinawa and onto Guam seems to be a snowballing posse to throw out all US military forces from Japan.

Protest Held in Tokyo Against US Military Presence

As hospitable as Guam has been to US military presence, there is no way the local community or its resources could gracefully absorb the full brunt of the US Pacific defenses. And no Stateside community would stand for it, nor be expected to shoulder such a responsibility without major, major quid pro quo, either.

China's growing awakening is bound to teach us all the meaning of its old curse, "may you live in interesting times".

Trouble in paradise?

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