Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 4-Jun-05
Rumsfeld expresses alarm over militarization of China and North Korea

Web Log - June, 2005

Rumsfeld expresses alarm over militarization of China and North Korea

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke in Singapore on Saturday to an international conference on Asian security issues, hosted by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

In his speech to the conference, Rumsfeld described North Korea as follows:

"[C]onsider North Korea’s Stalinist regime, where: The children and grandchildren of dissidents are pressed into labor; Refugees who escape are kidnapped from foreign countries; and Where starving citizens search barren fields for individual grains.

A European doctor who spent many months treating children in North Korea said: “There are two worlds in North Korea: one for the senior military and the elite; and a living hell for the rest.”

Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions threaten the security and stability of the region, and because of their record of proliferation, it threatens the world."

Here is what Rumsfeld said about China:

"[A DOD report] concludes that China’s defense expenditures are much higher than Chinese officials have published. It is estimated that China’s is the third largest military budget in the world, and clearly the largest in Asia.

China appears to be expanding its missile forces, allowing them to reach targets in many areas of the world, not just the Pacific region, while also expanding its missile capabilities within this region. China also is improving its ability to project power, and developing advanced systems of military technology.

Since no nation threatens China, one must wonder: Why this growing investment? Why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases? Why these continuing robust deployments?"

Rumsfeld is saying what has been getting increasingly obvious for a year: Both China and North Korea are mobilizing for war.

They both have large armies, and both are improving their missile technology and nuclear technology quickly.

China's anti-secession law has laid what Beijing considers the legal groundwork for a pre-emptive strike to reunite Taiwan with China, and N. Korea's desperately poor people are jealously eyeing the great wealth in S. Korea and Japan.

A more sanguine point of view was expressed by Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, in his keynote address to the conference:

This kind of statement exhibits the kind of generational naïveté in leaders that we saw this past week, as voters in France and Holland surprised the élite leaders of Europe by rejecting the EU Constitution in a major generational split.

Lee may be Asian, but he fits the same élite profile as the European leaders: Born in 1952, attended University of Cambridge, and got a Master's degree in public administration at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University.

As we noted last year, Singapore sides with China in the Taiwan dispute. Singapore is 80% Chinese and is very wealthy, the wealthiest country, per capita, in the region.

Taiwan poll results to question: "Do you feel Taiwanese, Chinese or both?" <font size=-2>(Source: WSJ)</font>
Taiwan poll results to question: "Do you feel Taiwanese, Chinese or both?" (Source: WSJ)

Lee's statement that "Taiwanese population and government now know that independence is now out of the question" is simply false, as is completely evident to anyone who looks at the generational issues.

The adjoining graph, which shows the number of Taiwanese who call themselves "Chinese" versus "Taiwanese" shows how the generational change is playing out. As the older generation dies out, the number of people calling them "Chinese" has been decreasing; as younger generations grow older, the number of people calling themselves "Taiwanese" is increasing.

Lee is generationally naïve, but the people of Taiwan are naïve as well. Lee is naïve because he thinks that the Taiwanese younger generations don't mean it when they say they want independence, and the Taiwanese younger generations are naïve because they don't believe that Beijing means it when they say they'll start a war over Taiwan. This is how these major crisis wars start, as they've started through millennia of history, as I've described in my books.

I always enjoy speaking to people from the "Silent Generation," as the generation that grew up during the Great Depression and World War II is called. Younger people who read this web site often think that the whole thing is crazy. But "Silents" who read this web site may disagree with some of the details, but they know that everything on this web site is perfectly possible. That's because Silents have seen it all before, and younger people haven't.

It's always a pleasant surprise to see any major leader speak frankly about the state of the world, but Donald Rumsfeld, a Silent born in 1932, grew up during World War II, and is very well aware that a war could be triggered at any time.

All that either China or N. Korea need is an actual trigger - a new pro-independence law in Taiwan, or an offensive anti-Kim remark by someone in Japan or U.S., for example, for either country to initiate a pre-emptive war. The war might begin next week, next month or next year, but it's coming with 100% certainty, and it will affect the entire world. (4-Jun-05) Permanent Link
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