A Bumpy Ride
BY JR NYQUIST
We are facing a potentially rough time ahead. The European financial crisis goes from bad to worse. We now learn that JPMorgan has losses of $2 billion. But heavier losses are bound to hit Europe as the French have elected a socialist president who proposes to raise the top marginal tax rate to 75 percent. There are many ways to commit suicide, of course. If the financial news is bad, the prospects for overall international stability look even worse. Military conflict is being threatened in several places; and this necessarily adds a further element of uncertainty.
Strange as it may seem, there is war hysteria in China as a conflict with the Philippines over disputed islands heats up. Presently, the Chinese media depicts the Philippines as an obnoxious “puppet” of the United States, which is supposedly hampering China’s rise to greatness. Beijing feels that East Asia belongs to China, and they want the Americans to back out. Beijing says that any “escalation” by the Philippines will guarantee a Chinese response. The United States, of course, does not want war with China. And yet, a challenge is being issued.
Trouble has also been brewing in another Asian hotspot. America and its allies in Northeast Asia are worried because a military provocation is expected from North Korea. Apparently the North Korean leadership has ordered “special actions.” It is unclear what these actions might be. Already North Korea has begun electronic jamming operations against allied aircraft and ships near the DMZ. The North Koreans have also deployed coastal anti-ship missiles as if some action were pending. It is also being reported that several North Korean submarines have “disappeared” from South Korean radar. While this is not a unique event, we are told that its timing is cause for concern.