Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fun and games with the bear and the dragon

While the American media remains fixated on Cindy Sheehan, the Russians and Chinese are having some fun of their own. It turns out the two pals are wrapping up a series of war games off the coast of China:

The live-fire exercise, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005," involves about 7,000 Chinese troops and 1,800 Russians, along with warships, warplanes and amphibious tanks.

Now that's some intense peace! But actually, I think I see what's going on. The comrades are playing one of those games where you call something the opposite of what it really is. Here, I'll give you an example... "Honest Democrat".

Of course, the two countries are making it clear that nothing sinister is afoot:

Top Chinese and Russian generals have sought to reassure the region that the exercises aren't directed against any third nation. Under the fictional scenario for the exercises, the forces have a U.N. mandate to stabilize a country plunged into violence by ethnic strife.

Sounds like there really is nothing to worry about. A U.N. mandate to use force is about as fictional as it gets.

Yet Chinese media have also said the exercises are intended to advertise China's determination to deal with regional terrorist, extremist and separatist threats -- the last a likely reference to self-governing Taiwan, which China has vowed to reclaim by force if necessary.

The games "will frighten the three evil forces of 'ethnic separatism, religious extremism and international terrorism,'" Maj. Gen. Peng Guanglian, a frequent hardline critic of Taiwan and the United States, was quoted as saying in an interview with the Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post.

And should they decide to crack down on the "ethnic separatism" they will likely face a fourth evil force called "American intervenism".

Seriously folks, this development needs to be monitored closely. Russia and China are among the many nations that are not very fond of the U.S. being king of the hill.