Sunday August 19, 2018

Carvajal: Art of war

NORTH Korea’s Kim Jong Un seems to have come to his senses. He has a huge army and the nuclear capability to continue his long-standing-and-at-one-time-bloody war with South Korea, yet he has decided to stand down, denuclearize, and go on the high road of peace for the sake of immediately helping his people out of poverty and ultimately of unifying the Korean Peninsula.

This is a smart decision to sue for peace with South Korea, which is backed by the very powerful U.S. military that clearly outnumbers and out-nukes his missiles. Even if for some mysterious reason he wins the war, there would be nothing left of the peninsula. In fact, it will be a Pyrrhic victory for whoever wins the war. The prize to pay would regrettably not make it worth it.

Anyway, while North Korea is coming to its senses, the political opposition is going out of theirs in advocating for war or at least in risking war with China as a way of enforcing the International Arbitral Court’s judgment that the contested islands in the West Philippine Sea belong to us.

I can understand where the political opposition is going with their bravado. They are grandstanding for name recall in the coming elections. That’s the only way I can understand Rep. Gary C. Alejano’s dumb remark that we have the military capability to war against China. But the emotional or otherwise non-political opposition’s pro-war stance escapes me because...

There’s no way we can wage war with China without first getting U.S. assurance of military support as our treaties stipulate. But my geopolitical sense tells me the U.S. will not risk a war with China (and collaterally with Russia) for puny us. They have too much to lose and nothing to gain as they are practically done exploiting us.

And if we went to war on our own, it is a no-brainer that the war will be over even before it starts. Besides, with or without U.S. support and win or lose the prize we have to pay will be too great.

But while we cannot outfight the Chinese, we can stand toe to toe with them in a backroom or secret diplomacy. I am sure there is more than meets the eye or than the two countries’ presidents are letting on in their public show of friendship.

We could learn a lesson from the famous Chinese General Sun Tsu’s “The Art of War.” First and foremost before one goes to war is to know the enemy. But however strong or weak the enemy is, the best general for Sun Tsu is still one who looks for ways to win the war without fighting.

It’s welcome news that North Korea’s Kim is coming to his senses. It’s unfortunate that the political opposition is going out of theirs in egging for a war that we can win not with our meager arms but only by the art of fighting without fighting.