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

Apr 4 2014, 4:58pm CDT | by

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...

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16 weeks ago

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

Apr 4 2014, 4:58pm CDT | by

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.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was b ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejec ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Min ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last mont ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.7 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk S ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocatio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaa ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Da ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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