How North Korea Boosted Obama’s Asia “Pivot” (to China’s Dismay)
B-2 stealth bombers, radar-evading F-22s, aircraft carriers, and various anti-missile and high altitude defense systems have all been deployed or put at the ready. As this great Reuters analysis piece shows, all this has mostly happened because China’s temperamental ally decided to flex its nuclear muscles.To be sure, the US military has been present in Asia for decades. But Washington has deployed significantly stronger forces over the past few months. As Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said: “North Korea’s behavior is causing not just the United States, but others in the region to take action.”President Obama’s pivot to Asia was designed to gradually build up the American military and civilian presence in Asia. That process, especially for the military, has been drastically accelerated because of North Korea. And Beijing, which from the very beginning saw Washington’s pivot as an effort to encircle and contain China, now has to face up to the fact that its sole remaining ally has caused all of its rivals to bulk up their strength across the region.China’s failure to rein in its rogue ally has become a major strategic liability. North Korea’s provocations do nothing to advance China’s interests or its power, but China pays a high price because of them. China does not yet seem to have found a way to respond.