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readers' submissions

 

Cambodia, a new battlefield

By Ronnie Yimsut

Another Cold War is brewing? The next Cold War, IF there isn't one already, will be fought between two familiar foes, namely the Capitalist America and Communist China. This war will be over world economic domination and rightful claim to the diminishing and scarce world resources, if not over ideology of the past Cold War.

The U.S. has been enjoying economic prosperity and military supremacy since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, her previous Cold War adversary. The U.S. economy grows steadily at about 3 percent GDP and inflation has been kept relatively low. This growth was sustained and based almost entirely on other nation's savings, according to an article by the International Herald Tribune entitled "U.S. and China on a collision course." Asian central banks, including China's, shouldered and sustained the majority of the growing American debt. This illusion of economic prowess by the U.S. has led the American people to enjoy one of the highest standards of living in human kind history.

For a nation with only about 5 percent of the world population, the U.S. consumes an estimated 35 percent of the world resources. This consumption binge by the U.S., through massive imports, does not do the world a favor, however. On the contrary, such imbalances are now threatening the trade system itself; and the dollar dominance, which has been such a successful ingredient of the U.S. policy for the past 40 years, could be easily weakened by a series of events.

Events, such as the two wars being fought concurrently in Afghanistan and Iraq, are slowly draining the U.S. treasury at a tune of $150 to $200 billion a year, a huge sum that could very well go toward economic development and shore up the much needed social services at home. Only the creative policies under President George W. Bush and Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of Federal Reserve Board, have thus far delayed the day of reckoning. The U.S. economy, in short, could face another major recession, which could have serious world wide ripple effects.

All this time, Communist China was quietly making its way onto the world stage, often time competing directly with the U.S. on all fronts, specifically economic front. While the U.S. and its allies economy is faltering, China's economy is growing by leaps and bounds, and at a breakneck pace.  With a growing population of over 1.3 billion people, maturing heavy industries, and vast untapped resources, China is poised to directly challenge the U.S. domination.

The steadily increasing trade imbalances with the U.S. only favor and solidify China's position. China is currently holding an estimated $300 billion in cash reserves, which can be used as leverage against the U.S. dollar at any time through currency devaluation. Strategically, China has been investing heavily all around the globe, especially in the oil rich Middle East and Africa, to ensure her growing needs are met. China has also put more and more of her immense and growing wealth to develop and modernize a strong military to ensure her security.

Since China is also a nuclear power, it has the means to defend against any unconventional attack—utilizing mutual destructive" principle originally developed by the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. China has no hesitation in sharing such technology, as well as ideology, with her protege, North Korea, which is currently a menace to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan; three of the U.S. most trusted allies in the region. China also spanned her sphere of economic and political influence, to build and increase a strong presence, to include SE Asia region. To China, all nations on the planet are simply a tool to be used as leverage against her foes. North Korea, for instance, is directly being used as a pawn against South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.

Also, in the past few years, China has been using her influence in Cambodia very effectively against Taiwan, which is considered as a renegade province that belongs to China. More recently, China has used this great influence on Cambodia against Japan, China's historical foe, to reject Japan's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. This is a most interesting development because Japan has been Cambodia's single biggest financial and political backer since 1993. This Cold War, perhaps only at a low intensity level at this time, has already been fought on battle fields, such as North Korea and Cambodia, between China and the U.S.  It is a scary prospect for all of us as when "the elephants fight, no single ant will be safe." And us ants will be used as pawns in this conflict and then discarded like trash in the end.


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