Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Cambodia, a new battlefield?
By Ronnie Yimsut
Another Cold War is brewing? The next Cold War, IF there isn't one already, will be fought between two familiar foes, namely the Capitalist America and Communist China. This war will be over world economic domination and rightful claim to the diminishing and scarce world resources, if not over ideology of the past Cold War.
The U.S. has been enjoying economic prosperity and military supremacy since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, her previous Cold War adversary. The U.S. economy grows steadily at about 3 percent GDP and inflation has been kept relatively low. This growth was sustained and based almost entirely on other nation's savings, according to an article by the International Herald Tribune entitled "U.S. and China on a collision course." Asian central banks, including China's, shouldered and sustained the majority of the growing American debt. This illusion of economic prowess by the U.S. has led the American people to enjoy one of the highest standards of living in human kind history.
For a nation with only about 5 percent of the world population, the U.S. consumes an estimated 35 percent of the world resources. This consumption binge by the U.S., through massive imports, does not do the world a favor, however. On the contrary, such imbalances are now threatening the trade system itself; and the dollar dominance, which has been such a successful ingredient of the U.S. policy for the past 40 years, could be easily weakened by a series of events.
Events, such as the two wars being fought concurrently in Afghanistan and Iraq, are slowly draining the U.S. treasury at a tune of $150 to $200 billion a year, a huge sum that could very well go toward economic development and shore up the much needed social services at home. Only the creative policies under President George W. Bush and Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of Federal Reserve Board, have thus far delayed the day of reckoning. The U.S. economy, in short, could face another major recession, which could have serious world wide ripple effects.
All this time, Communist China was quietly making its way onto the world stage, often time competing directly with the U.S. on all fronts, specifically economic front. While the U.S. and its allies economy is faltering, China's economy is growing by leaps and bounds, and at a breakneck pace. With a growing population of over 1.3 billion people, maturing heavy industries, and vast untapped resources, China is poised to directly challenge the U.S. domination.
The steadily increasing trade imbalances with the U.S. only favor and solidify China's position. China is currently holding an estimated $500 billion in cash reserves, which can be used as leverage against the U.S. dollar at any time through currency devaluation. Strategically, China has been investing heavily all around the globe, especially in the oil rich Middle East and Africa, to ensure her growing needs are met. China has also put more and more of her immense and growing wealth to develop and modernize a strong military to ensure her security.
Since China is also a nuclear power, it has the means to defend against any unconventional attack—utilizing mutual destructive" principle originally developed by the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. China has no hesitation in sharing such technology, as well as ideology, with her protege, North Korea, which is currently a menace to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan; three of the U.S. most trusted allies in the region. China also spanned her sphere of economic and political influence, to build and increase a strong presence, to include SE Asia region. To China, all nations on the planet are simply a tool to be used as leverage against her foes. North Korea, for instance, is directly being used as a pawn against South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.
In the past few years, China has been using her influence in Cambodia very effectively against Taiwan, which is considered as a renegade province that belongs to China. More recently, China has used this great influence on Cambodia against Japan, China's historical foe, to reject Japan's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. This is a most interesting development because Japan has been Cambodia's single biggest financial and political backer since 1993. This Cold War, perhaps only at a low intensity level at this time, has already been fought on battle fields, such as North Korea and Cambodia, between China and the U.S. It is a scary prospect for all of us as when "the elephants fight, no single ant will be safe." And us ants will be used as pawns in this conflict and then discarded like trash in the end.
Cambodia not only facing with the Chinese's factor but also competing Japanese, and the American’s interests in the region. China, with one of the world’s fastest growing economies just to the north, had steadily increased its “Sphere of Economic and Security Influence” throughout SE Asia, paying particular special attention in Cambodia as one of its core strategic value areas. Billions of dollars worth of Chinese’s investments, in form of direct financial aids, including free cash and “soft loans,” as well as military aids, have poured into Cambodia. This is, yet again, an attempt by China to gain even more influences in the region, with a special focus on Cambodia. Ever wonder why? We should ask the Chinese.
To counter China’s growing influences, both the US and Japan (a strong US’ allies), two of the world’s largest economies, have also decided to pour billions of dollars more—in various forms—into Cambodia. This has led to the “Three Ring Circus” effect as Cambodia is all but a tiny ant beneath the three competing interests that may not necessary Cambodia’s. The last of such “Cold War” fought had led Cambodia into untold national tragedies and sufferings, first under the Lon Nol’s Republic Regime and later on under the Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea. A past lesson that has never learned by Cambodia is bound to repeat again, unfortunately.
End note: This article was written and posted in TalesofAsia.com in 2003. The world's economic crisis of 2008, the worst ever seen in memory, was predicted and resulted in one of the world's most severe economic crisises ever.
Please contact Ronnie Yimsut, Program-Coordinator, at (414) 235-5998 or email@example.com