WANG: America should use military to actually protect democracy


Opinions Column: A Third Person Perspective


North Korea’s persistent and aggressive attitude toward developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is nothing new. However, President Donald J. Trump's  administration has recently decided to coax China into pressuring North Korea into dampening its endeavors. China has heavy authority within North Korea’s foreign trade, accounting for over 80 percent of the country's foreign trade, signifying significant political leverage. In exchange for raising a hand of authority to North Korea, the Trump administration has decided to make it more enticing for China, by putting better trade terms on the table.

One reason why this new proposal is problematic is because,  for decades, the United States has agreed to not interfere with China’s relationship with North Korea. American officials have stated that any kind of bartering for China’s alignment with the United States to oppose North Korea would simply never happen. However, Trump is pushing forward with China, in hopes that China will pressure its alliance with North Korea.This signals a break in the relationship between the United States and China.

This is causing tension within the White House because "by keeping discussions focused squarely on North Korea and the shared U.S. and Chinese interest to prevent war on the Korean peninsula, American officials have also avoided getting dragged into making other concessions — like recognizing China’s territorial claims to Taiwan — in order to win China’s full support of North Korea." This has remained the main goal in regards to global stability.

However, the usage of “concessions” to describe something like China’s territorial claims to Taiwan, is exactly why this break between U.S. and China is perhaps a step in the right direction. Sure, it’s important to keep China happy in order to increase America’s chances in gaining support to prevent North Korea’s weapons program. But that’s exactly the problem. The break in U.S.-China relations only continues to show how past administrations have made “democracy” and “spineless” into synonyms. Why do we continue to allow communist countries dictate our agenda of democracy? If a break in United States-China relations is the first step in preventing North Korea from developing an advanced nuclear program, so be it. Maybe next time, the United States can begin taking steps toward ending China’s unjust claims on Taiwan, in which over 20 million people choose to separate themselves from their mostly-communist neighbor.

Call it naive. Call it simply silly to even suggest the idea of the United States ever abandoning relations with China in order to protect a country as small Taiwan, but whatever happened to the concept of democracy? Is it right to allow our biggest ally, communist China, to dictate control over other democratic countries that instills choice and equal rights within their own land?

But if we look back on this current issue of tensions surrounding China, North Korea and the United States, this potential break in relations between the United States and China could result in devastating domino effects. If China were to accept the Trump administration’s offer of better trade deals by pressuring its North Korean ally to step down, then this acceptance of a barter would only signal a further break in the U.S.-China relations, as American officials have guaranteed America’s distance in regards to how China chooses to deal with its North Korean ally. Perpetuating this idea of how countries can “haggle for a better deal and get the U.S. to give up on longstanding positions” introduces a notion of shakiness in global interests and stability for the entire world. But did any of those concepts exist in the first place? Or has the U.S. simply settled to not cause fights, rather than fighting for peace? Has the United States just been “conceding” all this time and allowing communist countries to run amuck?

Let’s face it, America has the largest defense budget in the entire world, totaling up to a staggering $597 billion in 2015, and this number is only going to continue to rise. Let’s actually put our military to use. Let’s protect vulnerable countries like South Korea if its communist neighbor decides to begin war because it’s unhappy. Let’s protect democratic countries like Taiwan, who happen to be America’s ninth largest goods trading partner in 2015. Why don’t we actually start protecting the countries that need it instead of conceding to unruly communist countries? We have arguably the most obnoxiously, over-funded, criticized-for-its-expenses, military in the entire world. Let’s start using it to protect democratic countries that align their beliefs with ours in regards to treating individuals with respect.

Ashley Wang is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in English and minoring in philosophy. Her column, "A Third Person Perspective," runs on alternate Thursdays.


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Ashley Wang

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