11A001 Sabers, Rattling by Jim Davies, 1/1/2011    

Governments love war. Always have, always will; war is a perfect expression of what they do.

The very word, "govern", means to impose one's will upon someone else, by force or the threat of it. During war, moreover, a government can greatly extend its control over the people in its "own" domain, in ways they would strongly protest in peacetime; for example the loathsome system of wage tax with-holding was introduced in 1942, just as WW-II was ramping up, as a "temporary" emergency measure for that War's duration. It's still with us, seven decades later.

This week the government of China rattled its sabers. Its "defense" minister (isn't it odd, how governments never admit to having an offense department?) Liang Guanglie stated "In the coming five years, our military will push forward preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction." Hmm. That might be South to conquer Taiwan, North West to take the mineral-rich hills of Afghanistan, East to take revenge on Japan, South West to lock in India... it could become quite an empire, later this Century. The trigger, next week or next month, could be Korea, of course. Here's another odd thing: this highly provocative announcement wasn't seen in the US press, but in the London Daily Telegraph. Evidently, somebody in Washington prefers us not to notice.

The Telegraph article notes that the Chinese military is developing a carrier killing missile able to sink a US aircraft carrier without anyone getting close. If that appears, it ends the American superpower status; "our" government could still launch a nuclear war and destroy more than it loses, but being able to dominate a region using carrier borne aircraft would no longer be feasible. Empires always end, and this could be how "ours" finishes up.

I've no idea why Guanglie made his threat. Chinese people have made wonderful progress in the last quarter century, and seem set to achieve much more with no sign of or excuse for war. Perhaps he wanted to remind his colleagues he is still there and would like something to do. Perhaps he's a sociopath like Curtis LeMay, who famously proposed to "bomb Vietnam back into the stone age" and who was known to favor nuclear war against the USSR. Perhaps he meant to warn the US and South Korean governments not to attack the North. But this is how government behave; they make lethal threats about how much territory, and how many people, they can control. It's a sick, sick game and it will last as long as governments do, and real people will pay the cost in an endless flow of blood.

Until, that is, mankind grows up and learns to get along without them.

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