Some think that Trump is playing 4D chess against China, and that his moves are destined to win. Trump bombed Syria, the theory goes, under a pretext of humanitarianism, but with the ancillary benefit of providing an ‘unpredictability factor’ with respect to potential future actions against North Korea.
But what if China is also playing 4D chess and their chess strategies are, so to speak, superior moves. (NOTE: In U.S. politics, there are a few select West Wing individuals thinking through 4D chess moves, whereas in China one can easily imagine entire research depts committed to just this task. In China, a very high IQ country, there is no worry about stuff leaking to the press… because there is no free press.)
In his latest column, Pat Buchanan asks this same question (“War Cries Drown Out ‘America First’”):
“Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?” tweeted President Donald Trump on Easter Sunday.
Earlier, after discovering “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping over “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, “I explained … that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!”
“America First” thus takes a back seat to big-power diplomacy with Beijing. One wonders: How much will Xi end up bilking us for his squeezing of Kim Jong Un?…
A continuing crisis on the peninsula, however, with Trump and the U.S. relying on Beijing’s help, could leave Xi in the catbird seat.
And now that North Korea has declared its goal to be building missiles with nuclear warheads that could hit all U.S. bases in Asia — and even California — the clock is running for the White House.
Taking a step back, Pat ask why we are still policing the Korean peninsula 64 years after the Korean war:
Why, 64 years after the Korean War, a quarter-century after the Cold War, are we still obliged to go to war to defend South Korea from a North with one-half the South’s population and 3 percent of its gross domestic product?
Why are we, on the far side of the Pacific, still responsible for containing North Korea when two of its neighbors — Russia and China — are nuclear powers and South Korea and Japan could field nuclear and conventional forces far superior to Kim’s?
How long into the future will containing militarist dictators in Pyongyang with nuclear missiles be America’s primary responsibility?
For a look at how South Korea has exploited the U.S. in this regard, see the recent “The Cost of Free-Riding” by Ted Galen Carpenter.
After listing our current, and relatively long, involvements in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and (over the weekend) Somalia, Pat concludes:
The promise of a Trump presidency — that we would start looking out for our own country and own national interests first and let the rest of the world solve, or fail to solve, its own problems — appears, not 100 days in, to have been a mirage.
Will more wars make America great again?