Hugh White: A pinky lens

Hugh White, a professor of Strategic Studies from Australian National University, wrote an article on Asean published in the ST on 18 Mar 14.

His analysis has been fairly objective in most cases but one cannot detect, or he cannot escape from the western biased in his thought processes when discussing big power relations particularly between the USA and China. He talked about the rivalry between Washington and Beijing but sneaked in this comment.

Washington generally uses carrots, while Beijing has mostly used sticks but the aim is essentially the same.’ To him this is the truth, the western truth, that the USA has been a very peace loving superpower that does not use the stick, bully or coerce any country to have its way. The Arabs and muslim countries must be having carotene poisoning after being served with decades of carrots. Only China is the rogue superpower that has been using the stick to whack other countries. Westerners are blind to their actions and that is understandable. Even Asians or Africans that have been whacked by the American sticks, oops, I mean carrots, for decades still cannot see the American stick and those whacked would still believe they were not whacked by the Americans.

What were the Americans doing in the Vietnam War, in Iraq, in Libya, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan? Having a tea party and passing out carrots? And what were the Americans doing in the Korean Peninsula with their daily war games? And what were the Americans doing with all the military pacts, signing love letters? And what about the American pivot and all the Americans bases and the weapons of wars? Are they all toys, I mean carrots? Sure, they are not sticks, just weapons of mass destruction.

And what did the Chinese do? Where is the stick? The Chinese whacking the Vietnamese and the Pinoys? Do the westerners want to know why? It was the Vietnamese and the Pinoys that were whacking the Chinese first before the Chinese kicked their asses. As for the rest of the Southeast Asian states having territorial issues with China, how would they expect China to behave when they are claiming Chinese territories as theirs? How would the Americans react if another country would to claim a piece of American territories or some of the islands in the Pacific Oceans like Guam or Hawaii?

And wherever the Chinese go, what are they signing, military pacts or trade pacts? Now who is carrying the stick?

You tell me. But please first remove the pinky lenses.


Matilah_Singapura said...

It always makes me laugh---these ANALysing academics who have tenure, lavish govt pay package, any resource they can imagine, and from their lofty perches in ivory towers they cast their erudite judgement on us "lesser" mortals.

These so-called "top intellectuals" spruik these nonsensical vomit, construct outlandish theories, and us dummies soak up their sacred words whilst we worship their superior intelligence in awe.

Fuck that shit. These academics can't earn a dime in the real world -- the world where real people have real insecure jobs, and have to work really hard to deal with the financial and economic realities of existence. These academics look down on us stupids thinking we require "guidance" from the celestial thrones of academics in ivory towers, where the "real truth" lives. Apparently.

And so I laugh uncontrollably.

America IS the world leader. Their president IS the leader of the free world and THE most powerful govt office on the planet. The reason this is so is ANCHORED in the culture of AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM -- which was confined locally after federation of the union, but since WW2 has expanded to become a global doctrine.

Being a doctrine means that many nation states and their peoples will NOT ACCEPT that bullshit as they reckon--quite correctly that it threatens their own cultures, rights to self-determination and sovereignty.

As I've mentioned before, POWER-- especially large, centralised concentrations of power requires COMPETITION or you'll end up with TYRANNY. That is the founding principle of DEMOCRACY, where the minority centralised power of the state is limited and balanced by the decentralised power of free-willed autonomous individuals, who collectively determine how much power the state can have, and the scope and context of that power. In theory anyway :-P

Same goes for geopolitics. Power must be balanced and constantly challenged. China and Russia are ESSENTIAL because they wield countervailing influences on American geopolitical dominance.

It is a push-pull DYNAMIC relationship. No one single tactic, strategy or doctrine is used. Every method changes to suit the situation and the objective.

Anonymous said...

Canadian PM said that Russia's action in Crimea is forcing other countries to join the arms race.

What about America's action in Middle East, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or Japan's veiled intention to become a military power? Can you blame China for increasing it's spending on it's military? Do we expect China to do nothing and be humbled and gobbled up by Japan again knowing what is Japan's ambition? And can we blame Iran or North Korea for wanting to go nuclear?

The West always use double-talk to hoodwink the rest of the world when they make war against others, but condemn non-western countries when they do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Pinky lens mean what?

What's your kopi level?

Pinky poo

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Pinky poo. Forgot that you also called yourself pinky too. Pinky lens simply means a pink lens or coloured lens. It can be blue green or red, but coloured. People see things thru their own coloured lens. No one is an exception.

Kopi level was red yesterday. Today is yellow and improving.


b said...

Jesus had warned long time ago that this world is full of false prophets. Of course he was not talking about the chinese because there was not even one there then.

Matilah_Singapura said...

@RB & pinkypoo:

I thought for a moment that RB misspelled "pinko" as pinky.

"Pinko" is a pejorative term used mainly by neo-conservative aka old-fashioned fascists to label left-leaning western liberals whom are regarded as not-quite-communists (Red = communist), so therefore they are not quite "red", and thus are "pink".

However I don't think Prof White is a pinko. In fact, I can't tell where his political compass points. However it is a good thing that his opinion is widely circulated on the web via portals like YouTube.

Here he is rebuttal by a colleague at ANU