Monday, November 8, 2010

Storm Clouds Brewing?

Oh no, don't worry...I'm not talking about that article by Morgan Kelly. I already know Ireland is basically fecked (thanks Bertie!), and I know that you all know about the basic truth of Ireland's coming economic apocalypse. Admittedly, I am a little ashamed as to how my smartarse, joke predictions of what life in Ireland will be like under German or IMF rule may actually come true.

No, in writing on storm clouds I am actually casting my glance further afield, to Asia, where China seems to have now decided that it should flex some muscles. You will of course be aware of the existing stand-off between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, the arrest of a Chinese fishing crew by the Japanese Coast Guard for (allegedly) colliding with a Japanese vessel while (allegedly) drunk. Allegedly? Look at the video below!

China's growing confidence is further underlined by their response to Hilary Clinton's offer to mediate between China and Japan over the island chain, and the case of the drunken sailors. Does anyone know what the Mandarin for "Piss off Hilary" is?

But China's not alone in displaying a ballsy attitude while dealing with its neighbours. In a suitably ironic response to China's own "String of Pearls" strategy, Vietnam is now offering Cam Ranh Bay Naval Base, the much beloved former shore leave destination for generations of Soviet sailors, to foreign navies. Apparently, all foreign navies.

I'm sure such a move could not possibly backfire. After all, it's not like the Vietnamese need to be seriously concerned about being the stage for a clash between the great powers. I'm sure deploying a strategy of containment and encirclement against China will be greeted with a totally cool-headed and reasonable response in Beijing.

See, suddenly Morgan's article doesn't look that bad, does it?

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