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Rolling Snakes Eyes in the Indo-Pacific

By       Message Conn Hallinan       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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From Dispatches From The Edge

From youtube.com: Refuelling of ships at Exercise Malabar 2017. {MID-204971}
Refuelling of ships at Exercise Malabar 2017.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: ADU Videos)
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With the world focused on the scary possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula, not many people paid a whole lot of attention to a series of naval exercises this past July in the Malacca Strait, a 550-mile long passage between Sumatra and Malaysia through which pass over 50,000 ships a year. With President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanging threats and insults, why would the media bother with something innocuously labeled "Malabar 17"?

They should have.

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Malabar 17 brought together the U.S., Japanese, and Indian navies to practice shutting down a waterway through which 80 percent of China's energy supplies travel and to war game closing off the Indian Ocean to Chinese submarines. If Korea keeps you up at night, try imagining the outcome of choking off fuel for the world's second largest economy.

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While Korea certainly represents the most acute crisis in Asia, the diplomatic maneuvers behind Malabar 17 may be more dangerous in the long run. The exercise elevates the possibility of a confrontation between China, the U.S. and India, but also between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed countries that have fought three wars in the past 70 years.

This tale begins more than a decade and a half ago, when then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith -- one of the most hawkish members of the George W. Bush administration -- convened a meeting in May 2002 of the US-India Defense Policy Group and the government of India.

As one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, India traditionally avoided being pulled into the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

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But the Bush administration had a plan for roping India into an alliance aimed at containing China, with a twist on an old diplomatic strategy: no stick, lots of carrots.

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Conn M. Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, "A Think Tank Without Walls, and an independent journalist. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He oversaw the (more...)
 

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David William Pear

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This is a must read and take serious article. There are so many threads to go down that it would take a much longer article. Instead I'll just make some broad statements.

Starting with Korea, yes "Korea certainly represents the most acute crisis in Asia, BUT only because the US wants it to be. As the article points out there are much more dangerous nuclear 'threats', all manufactured and/or inflamed by the US.

The 2001 nuclear deal with India is new information for me, thanks. However, the US aiding Pakistan while it developed nukes is a story I have written about. Since Pakistan was helping the US during the 1980 in Afghanistan against the Soviet, starting with Carter and every president and Congress since the US has waved the Symington Amendment to provide military aid to Pakistan even though they had a nuclear program. Further, the Saudi's provided the investment funds for Pakistan's nuclear program, which retired Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) who knows what he is talking about, says that Saudi has nukes 'on the shelf' available to them. (I've written one of my best articles about this, if I say so myself: about this).

The statement that "China's illegal claims in the South China Sea" got my attention and sticks in my craw. There is a lot more to the saga of all the piles of rocks in the China Sea. A lot of countries all have a lot of counter claims to those Islands, which according to the WW2 Japanese surrender agreement they divested all their rights to anyway. My most important point though is that it is the US who has purposely inflamed the tensions over the islands so that Obama/Clinton could have some cover for a "pivot to Asia" to come "to the rescue".

But again, I want to congratulate Conn for an article that focuses attention on really dangerous nuclear situations where the US throws gasoline on the fire and then says "Who me?".

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 at 2:16:52 AM

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