There is always a dark side. I have written two recent posts with videos of the growing soft power that is K-pop. This over produced glam music has been seen simply as unoriginal in many eyes, but in this industry there is a dark side. Al Jazeera’s program 101-East provides a 25 minute program that gives an inside glimpse of the Korean Pop Industry, with also little back of Hallyu,한류) Pointing out how the dark side of the industry hurts young performers (over working them, lack of family and social life) but also hurts other musical acts that could diversify the scene.
“I want to make very clear that the United States is going to remain a presence in the Pacific for a long time.” “That means, just so you understand, that we are not anticipating any cutbacks in this region. If anything, we’re going to strengthen our presence in the Pacific.” -Mr. Panetta to American allies in the Pacific region, The New York Times
President Obama is becoming the Pacific President. The U.S. currently has 7 of its 11 aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines based in the region with 85,000 American Service members. So why sustain such a massive force the area? While the U.S. military says its to maintain stability in the region from threats like North Korean. One must look towards the largest economic power in the area, China. So how is Chinese economy a threat to the America. Its the consumption of resources. America consumes 1/4 of the worlds oil. Chinese has consumption of resources keeps growing. Because non-renewable resources are limited, vanishing, nations will take many different actions to insure they get their share. Even if it means an arms race, which both America and China can not really afford.
So I thought it was interesting to view China’s growth in engery consumption.
Here a May 2011 Profile by U.S. Energy Information Administration on China’s energy usage.
You can also read up on U.S. Energy Information on the same site.
I stumbled upon 2 documents today.
In this chart the DoD has listed personnel strengths of all the U.S. armed forces around the around. I’ll list a few here on the blog but check out the link for the full chart.
Active Duty Military Personnel Totals
United States and Territories: Total 1,219,995(of each branch of the military)
- Army: 497,595
- Marines: 294,986
- Navy: 151,806
- Air Force: 275,608
- Germany: 53,766
- Italy: 10,801
- Belgium: 1,205
- United Kingdom: 9,382
East Asia and Pacific: Total 55,671
- Afloat: 15,599
- Japan: 39,222
- Korea, Republic of (figures not available)***
North Africa, Near East, and South Asia: Total 6,270
- Afloat: 2,265
- Bahrain: 2,142
Sub-Saharan Africa: 654
Western Hemisphere: 1,965
- Cuba (Guantanamo): 929
- Canada: 130
- Honduras: 354
***The ROK-US agreed force level is 28,500, which would make the number around the same or more than Europe. The numbers of Active Duty personnel will also be changing as American foreign Policy shifts to East Asia and Pacific.
This nugget hold the DoD”s information on military bases around the world. The interesting thing is there is NO mention of Afghanistan or Iraq. None!!
After reading through and looking at the data you first realize how truly massive the U.S. military is. Second you think this efforts millions of people worldwide. After that, I think how does U.S. Bases affect communities? What affects do the bases cause environmental and socially. Is this helping or destroying communities? Is this suppressing governments and the people the governments represent. Or the local governments suppressing the people communities around the bases? So many questions arise.
To learn more on the topic. A good place to start is with Catherine Lutz. She is an anthropologist at Brown University, who has been researching the history of U.S. bases and their effects on communities. She has two articles on Bases that can be found japanfocus.org that are a good introduction on the topic.
On Wednesday SM Entertainment announced that Korean Pop group 소녀시대 [Girls Generation] will appear on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ Tuesday January 31st. The group also appear Wednesday morning on ‘Live! with Kelly’.
This is an interesting time for the Korean Wave [soft power] referred to as Hallyu [한류] in Korea. Hallyu was original coined by Chinese Journalist do to interesting popular of Korean media in China. So far Korea has been extremely successful with popularizing Korean dramas, movies, and Pop music throughout Asia.
I remember, in Beijing, talking with two workers at a souvenir shop. When they learned that I worked in Korea, they became ecstatic. They began expressing how much they loved Korean dramas. They believed Koreans to be smart and beautiful.
South Korea continues to globalize it’s economic and soft power in the form of Hallyu has helped to inspire interest in Korean culture, especially in China. I hope this trend will continue to help Korea. The next step will be in other cultural arts and foods. For example, Korea has a great wealth of literature. Many scholars have been working on translations. Anyway, despite critics, the Korean wave continues to expand its’ market.
We’ll have to see how well the late night American audience appreciates Hallyu.
January 5, President Obama, along with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey, talked with the Media at the Pentagon over America’s 21st defense strategies.
The Obama administration’s new strategy was set forth in the document titled Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. The proposed plan is a continuation of Secretary of State Clinton’s announcement of America’s Pacific Century (refer back to my previous entry New Policies or Just old Policies Renewed), during the fall issuing a foreign policy shift back to the Asia-Pacific region. In November, America already moved military forces into Australia for counter purposes against China’s growing naval presents in the South China Sea.
Now that, America’s main forces have left Iraq (leaving behind the largest American Embassy in the world and large Private military and security contractors) and are winding down in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense has decided that a new strategy, without prolonged and large land forces, is to be used. A strategy of using a leaner and more agile Joint Forces will serve ever changing challenges better. The President called for a continuation of getting rid of,
“outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in the capabilities we need for the future, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; counter terrorism; countering weapons of mass destruction; and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access.”
After a major conflict America has always cut back its military. Though this time, America will be maintaining it’s military in a different fashion, but mostly be the same. Yonhap News reported, “U.S. present in Korea will remain unchanged” keeping around 28,000 soldiers. America place more focus on air force (unmanned drones, missiles, etc.) and navy. America will want to maintain its status has the largest navy force.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry has prepared a policy of a stable Korean peninsula as first priority for 2012. Though the fact of the matter is the U.S., China, Russia and South Korea have elections this year; this may cause miscommunication within the region. Also the Seoul Nuclear Summit over denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be held in March which may add more flair in an already complicated region. And let’s not forget the regime change in North Korea.
Subsequently, America will not go back into isolation after the Iraq War and will reorganization its military in order to project its power against Iran, China and North Korea. America will be moving into an even more active presence in the Asian-Pacific region. This will bring America and China into more conflict as protection of shipping lines carrying vital resources continue to be disputed. (Check out U.S.-China spat over South China Sea military exercises were China actually called America out last summer) The two Korea’s will remain in the world’s attention.
I’ll end this little entry with a short video.