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The Asia-Pacific region, at the moment, cannot be thought of as one that can solve its issues independently, since geopolitics and economic interests of large international players like the USA, China and EU are touched due to the inadequate approach to construction of the dialogue from the North Korean side. Such environment, together with the numerous provocations from the side of North Korea in a form of development of nuclear weapon, its tests, together with an open policy of a constant readiness to war with its southern neighbor creates a strong necessity for the design of a military operation aimed to develop a calm economic and political atmosphere that will fit every party.
Current situation in the region is rather tensed due to the old conflict between two Koreas. North Korea, at the moment, represents an extreme form of totalitarian regime, while South Korea is a representative of a successful democratic society with one of the world’s strongest economies. At the present time, the latter is an ally of the USA, Japan and many other countries that have an extreme technological development together with strong economies. North Korea, in its turn, does not have strong ties with any foreign state at the moment because of the national policy of conservation. Moreover, currently, the army equipment in North Korea is outdated due to the lack of scientific approach to economics, weaponry and politics. The only danger this country creates at the present time is its nuclear missile, which has been developed recently. Its existence is a factual data that has been officially supported by Kim Jong-un, intelligence and tryouts of new weapons conducted by the North Korean side of the conflict. Such state of things means that preventive acts aimed at securitization of the region have to be taken due to the existing agreements with the Asian-Pacific countries.
The stronger necessity of the current operation is justified by the existing need to protect most of the world’s technological production plants that are situated in South Korea, Japan and China, meaning that the state of war in that region is likely to result in the supply shortages of microprocessors, phones, circuit boards and consumer electronics, causing the problems in military field, internal markets and scientific researches, which is unacceptable. At the moment, summarizing all the data above one can conclude that the current operational environment is defined by the high level of tension in the Asian-Pacific region, where American allies are trying to deal with the North Korean provocations, which are aimed at the further destabilization of the situation. Moreover, the US military bases are present in the area (Japanese territory is an example), meaning that actions have to be taken from the side of the USA. Otherwise, the question of the necessity of having military bases in foreign countries may arise, meaning that in order to keep the military influence in the region, America is forced to participate in the conflict in some way. North Korea, at the moment, is acting being focused on provocations, while other states in no way want to engage in the conflict, as it can be a too destructive one in terms of the global economy. The current situation means that the operational environment is such that armed actions have to be taken, but in no way they have to be aimed at North Korea, since its provocations are aimed at drawing attention, but not at starting a war, which cannot be afforded by North Korea at the present time. Another side of the question is related to the resonance of the possible armed activities in the region, meaning that any type of war in Asia-Pacific is likely to negatively affect the American position on the political arena due to the status of the discussed area, which was promoted as a field of an active involvement and protection from the side of the USA. In other words, simple nuclear missile tryouts by North Korea have endangered the economic stability of the region together with the American positions on the international political arena, making the environment for the current operation significantly more tensed than traditional situations, where numerous solutions are acceptable.
At the moment, current conflict is on the level of development that is a little further than a simple demonstration of an American participation as an observer and prospective defender of South Korea, since some steps have already been taken. To begin with, at the present time, a US ship with the antimissile defense system is patrolling territories near South Korea in order to prevent any launches from the North Korean side. This step has launched numerous activities, meaning that with American support local countries can behave more impudently, which has excited the existing political situation. The official position of the ship being present near the borders of South Korea, which was provided by Jay Carney, stated that that action was taken in order to minimize pressure on Seoul and to allow it to take actions more confidently, but since the mobilization in North Korea was not present, there was a strict limitation on not entering North Korea (Barnes, Nam, & Jun, 2013). The next step that was taken was related to military training with the local allies, since such approach would minimize direct involvement of America into the foreign affairs. The logical action that has changed the situation and has drawn attention of other sides was related to the joint drills of the USA, South Korea and Japan, meaning that some of the strongest economies in the area have not only become allies, but also focused on the power of own armed forces. China, which in some way is an ally of North Korea, has not been happy with such development of things, since the missile tryouts run by North Korea have resulted in the exact split in the Asian-Pacific region, meaning that on one side of it was the USA, South Korea and Japan, while the other side involved North Korea and China (U.S. Brings South Korea and Japan Together for Missile Defense Drills, 2016). The rest of allies, at the moment, can be neglected due to no direct interest in the current conflict. The last, but not the least to mention, is the launch of the advanced missile defense system THAAD in South Korea, which is a joint project of Seoul and Washington (Kim, 2016). These steps have resulted in the higher political tension in the region, but have stabilized it in terms of prospective military operations, meaning that at the present time, there are no reasons to think that the next aggressive action will be taken by the opposite side of the conflict because of the disadvantageous position of North Korea.
Desired operational environment slightly differs from the existing one, since at the moment, Washington’s hands are tied, as at the present time, the conflict cannot be escalated due to the public opinion on the situation. Moreover, the current position is not advantageous yet, since North Korea still has space for the nuclear missiles launches and danger remains. There are numerous parameters in the current case that have to be altered in order to run a successful operation, which include the change of the existing parties of the conflict, since China as an opponent is dangerous because of the tremendous army in case of the war and economic connections in terms of production of most American electronics. Such state of things means that concerning the optimization of the current operation, China has to be peacefully eliminated from the list of opponents in order to have a chance to create a beneficial situation. Another side of the question is that every type of military activities results in the economic losses, on the one hand, and the economical profit, on the other one. It means that America has to minimize its direct involvement into the conflict in order to assure that human and weapon losses are minimal. Still, the part of Washington in the best-case scenario is a role of a weapon supplier to the sides of the conflict if it takes place, but in the current situation, where South Korea is involved, the best environment involves North Korea being cut out from its allies and supplies, while the USA obtains an international support. With its allies, it can organize an armed coup against Kim Jong-un for a person who is more likely to be able to conduct foreign policy adequately and will destroy nuclear weapons in North Korea. Moreover, the creation of another military base in the region would likely help in the solution of the current case and would become a useful leverage in conflict situations in future. Existence of such military base is only possible if China is not against it, meaning that it has to be forced to take steps that will result in the global deprecation of China. It means that the country has to be put in the situation where it has no other choice, but to agree for a military base in the area. In contradiction, American military forces in Japan have to be minimized in order to stimulate the creation of leverage in the region that can become opposing to China in order to further increase the involvement of the USA into the local security and to redistribute the power of local economic giants. The current conflict has to be shifted to other countries in the area and has to take a passive form that in no way can evolve into the armed actions as the Asian-Pacific region is needed in a peaceful condition.
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The current problem is related to the extremely complex situation, where American interest exists on both sides of the conflict, since China supports North Korea, even though, at the moment, this support is not directly seen due to the minimal involvement of the former. Still, one has to understand that the policy of a calm deprecation and low involvement from the biggest North Korean ally, at the present time, does not guarantee that in the nearest future China will not decide to increase its power in the region and will not provide a military sustenance to North Korea. Another problem is related to the existing international agreements America has, meaning that the case the USA vs. China, at the moment, is unacceptable for EU and most other countries that are interested in the economic partnership with America and China. Consequently, the pressure of the society and partnering states does not give the USA a card blanche to do whatever it wants in the area. Moreover, Afghanistan-American war has been active during the beginning of the current conflict, meaning that any type of active armed involvement into North Korea would result in the weakening of the Afghanistan part of the American army. In other words, the most obvious issues at hand have been listed, but numerous other ones exist at the present time due to the scale of a situation. An official problem that has been documented and is related to the leadership in the region is such that China opposes the USA in every way possible, since Asian market is too big to painlessly leave it to the other country. Both traditional allies and emerging partners in the area are eager to further strengthen relations with Washington. However, there is concern throughout Asia that the US fiscal crisis and likely to cut the defense expenditures, as well as the ongoing crises in the Middle East and North Africa will forestall the US efforts to play a greater role in the region (Blumenthal et al., 2013). The current issue seems to be the most important, but for sure it is not, since the American leadership in the area reinforces its positions on every other continent due to the elimination of China as a prospective economic superpower, takeover of the world’s biggest market that is likely to provide Washington with enough finances to retake the role it had after WWII, where it was the country that has singlehandedly led the entire western world with no chances for changes in the nearest decades. Another prospective development of America taking the Asian-Pacific region is related to Russia that is not likely to support such state of things because of the internal security issues and active cooperation with the states in that area that is likely to be destroyed in case of the US dominance there. It creates numerous problems in the region raging from the opposition of China to the lack of the desire to help among other partners that do not belong to Asia-Pacific itself. It means that Washington is left alone on the territory of Asian Dragons that are likely to breeze fire soon if no steps are taken, meaning that every next action America takes becomes way more risky than any previous one it has had.
The problem with North Korea testing its nuclear missiles is global, as it is not only limited to the South Korean dissatisfaction, but it actually involves the fight for the world’s largest market, which is the Asian-Pacific region. Consequently, an approach to the current operation cannot be limited to taking steps only within the current area due to the necessity of involvement of the players from the side in order to develop a significantly more complex approach to the situation. The best scenario here not only includes the US dominance in Asia-Pacific, but also leads to the weakening of Chinese and Russian positions. That is why these two parties have to be involved in actions in order to assure that the outcome is positive for the USA. North Korea here is secondary, meaning that it is to be used as a trigger, while the development of an environment is the real goal of the operation. To begin with, Japan, at the moment, has claims to Kuriles and numerous Chinese territories, but it still has no army, meaning that it has to be helped in the creation of armed forces in exchange for the support in the region in case of any political or armed conflicts. Such approach will create another powerful ally that later can become a problem, but will be helpful in the beginning. As mentioned above, armed actions against North Korea are likely to trigger a war in the region where it is undesirable, meaning that the situation with South Korea has to stop on the level where it is at the present time. For now, the latter is playing a role of a peaceful zone that will not be touched as it is under the defense of Washington, but, at the same time, Seoul becomes an anti-missile shield in the area, especially if North Korea is not the only owner of the nuclear missiles in Asia-Pacific. Japan has to be stimulated to the active actions in the field of claiming back its territories through the political and economic pressure and by having drills related to the territories takeovers. After that American armed forces have to be minimized in the mentioned state in order to reinforce contacts with it. South Korea, in its turn, has to be convinced to hold more US troops on its territory to guarantee the security of Seoul. The next step is related to the involvement of the smaller countries to the American side, meaning that Taiwan may be taken as an ally in the current region. Moreover, the current area is a fully independent economic zone, meaning that in order to maximize the role of the USA in Asia-Pacific and to eliminate any claims for the current economic zone from the world’s strongest economies and NATO, the creation of a local alliance that will cover the Asian-Pacific, North American-Pacific and South American-Pacific regions has to be taken into consideration. Additionally, the current alliance is to be not only economic, but also an alliance that covers military support. Countries that are to be taken as partners are South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India, since they can take China’s role in the US economy as of a technological hub in Asia.
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The question of the successful operation in the modern world is significantly more complex than it used to be a hundred years ago due to the existence of analytical methods, development of intelligence and communications technologies. It means that even a small simple conflict may result in the consequences that are way above the scale of a single region, meaning that at the moment, any military operation may not involve even a single shot, since political methods today are more effective than a military force. Currently, Asia-Pacific is the only area where the political conflict aimed at leadership is easily visible at the present time, meaning that it is the region where two alliances are fighting for dominance. Today, the resolution of this conflict may mean the redistribution of powers in the nearest future, so every step in that field has to be done carefully so that no advantages are lost. This conflict cannot evolve nowadays, since the opponents are too dependent on each other, meaning that without China American IT will not exist, while without the USA Chinese economy will not be characterized by such a significant amount of investments from the outside. Such state of things means that, at the moment, any operation is to be aimed at the identification and development of the prospective substitutes for the existing partnership, and one who finds it first will take over the dominance in the region. This is because without the strong position, a leader is unlikely to be able to keep the leading position in the highly competitive area, where small conflicts, like in case with North Korea, take place. It means that until the rest of the world is busy with the Middle East conflict, America is likely to be able to take the leading position in the Asian-Pacific region, since today, distribution of forces is not an advantage of China. However, as soon as situation in Syria stabilizes, the looks may shift from the Middle East towards Eastern Asia in order to take a piece of a tasty pie in the Pacific region.