Asia's Week: It Transpires That an Arms Race Is Under Way

Apr 4 2014, 4:58pm CDT | by

Asia's Week: It Transpires That an Arms Race Is Under Way
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

The time finally arrived for elite international media to pick up on the arms race in Asia. Not that this is likely to check the wasteful and potentially deadly rush, but at least it may put policymakers under more of a glare.

It’s been apparent for awhile that mainland China was building up its navy and amassing missiles on its coast.  That rush, in the face of no concrete threat, has been widely decried.  It is also a big reason why East Asia military spending has tripled from 1988-2012, to $302 billion, the fastest increase of any region in the world, according to figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Now, however, states on the potential receiving end of a Chinese blast have developed more of an arms appetite. Who wouldn’t want an enticing submarine? Certainly India isn’t content to wait–and it isn’t even being led by a Hindu nationalist yet. The state-enabled merchants of this hardware (and software) can be counted on to serve it up at top dollar.  This week came news that Japan–while sounding its own martial drums–also is getting back into weapons exports.  Will a display case for Pentagon contractors be part of President Obama’s baggage in his late-April trip to Asia?

Conceivably, drones and other surveillance fare could prove defensive and useful in reassuring nervous antagonists that no immediate attack looms that requires preemptive response. If true, some purchases might have a peace payoff.  Don’t expect much sharing, however. The painful MH370 plane disappearance, if anything, has shown how guarded each military involved in the search is about sharing the extent of its electronic knowledge.

On top of the gut- and brain-blasting firepower that conventional weapons bring, there’s the ongoing nuclear threat, from the North Korean dictator and the hotheads in Pakistan. (One hopes the Chinese and Indian chiefs have surer fingers on the buttons…and there was a bit of seeming good news when Japan opted to return some weapons-grade plutonium to the U.S. at a talkfest in the Hague.)

The best hope for maintaining the general peace that has fostered Asia-Pacific’s recent prosperity–and allowed its resources to go toward wealth-creating rather than asset-destroying investments–is for a broader popular understanding that unprovoked or unnecessary shows of force do not lead to national greatness or good tidings.  The elite media attention won’t translate into mass opinion, but sometimes ideas trickle down. The popular will, in turn, is best reflected in countries with some form of democracy, of which there are gradually more in Asia.

In more concrete terms, some argue that firm and open alliances among nations can actually discourage conflict even as they sometimes seem to engender more preparation for war. If that is true, the various trip wires for the U.S. in Asia-Pacific may have a positive effect. (See forbes.com contributor Stephen Harner’s arguments to the contrary when it comes to the especially risky China-Japan standoff.  Also contributor Doug Bandow’s contentions in regards to South Korea.) In any case, an indigenous security pact, something more convincing than the fractious ASEAN axis, would hold more widespread appeal.

Oh, then there’s another powerful peacekeeping recipe for the region: continued good luck.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Hitachi evinces interest in developing Andhra ports
Hyderabad, Nov 28 (IANS) Japanese multinational conglomerate Hitachi has shown interest in developing ports in Andhra Pradesh.
 
 
Ebola test results now in 15 minutes!
London, Nov 28 (IANS) A 15-minute blood and saliva test for Ebola is to be tried in Guinea.
 
 
Japanese scientists develop hybrid silk using spider genes
Tokyo, Nov 28 (IANS/EFE) Japanese scientists have developed through genetic engineering using genes from spiders and silkworms a super resistant silk which could be used for textiles as well as in the surgical field, media reported Friday.
 
 
OPEC daily basket price closes over three dollars lower
Vienna, Nov 28 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $70.80 a barrel Thursday, compared to $73.70 Wednesday, the OPEC Secretariat said.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Apple Black Friday Sale Released
The Apple Black Friday 2014 Sale has launched online at the Apple Store. Apple has announced a huge charity promotion to fight AIDS for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Apple will donate a portion of the sales the company...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
A look at Black Friday video game deals
All major retailers will be getting in the video game Black Friday spirit. PS4 and XBox One will certainly be two consoles that should garner huge sales but actual games should do good as well. One thing that is for...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Comics looking for event filled Black Friday
While video games and other electronic gadgets look to be the big draw on deals during Black Friday, comic book readers and fans will be able to find their fair share of deals as well. It has been announced that two...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Anna Kendrick positive after nude photo leak
Anna Kendrick is looking at the positives following the recent hacking of her nude photos. The 'Pitch Perfect' star - whose naked pictures were posted online by hackers earlier this year alongside other stars like...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Benedict Cumberbatch hates selfies
Benedict Cumberbatch hates selfies. The 'Imitation Game' actor - who recently announced his engagement to Sophie Hunter - won't be personally taking any photos of him and his bride on their wedding day and instead would...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
James Franco filmed threesome with Zachary Quinto
James Franco and Zachary Quinto filmed a threesome for their new film 'Michael'. The actors took part in the sexy scene alongside the former 'Desperate Housewives' star Charlie Carver for the upcoming drama, according...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
UN condemns attack on British embassy vehicle
United Nations, Nov 28 (IANS) The UN Security Council (UNSC) has condemned the attack on a British embassy vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan. "The members of the UNSC expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Not all mosquitoes can transmit malaria
New York, Nov 28 (IANS) A genetic study has revealed that certain species of mosquitoes have evolved to better transmit malaria than even some of their close cousins. The study may advance understanding about the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Rio judge ends Olympic golf course impasse
Rio de Janeiro, Nov 28 (IANS) A Rio de Janeiro judge has rejected a request by public prosecutors to suspend an environmental permit for work on the 2016 Olympic golf course. Judge Eduardo Antonio Klausner said there...
Read more on Sport Balla