South Korea won`t develop its own anti-missile defense system. Seoul is not interested in joining Washington’s plans to build up missile defenses in the Asia-Pacific region. The announcement comes after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta`s recent visit to the Korean Peninsula.
Officially, Seoul opposes technical aspects of the global anti-missile defense system in Asia, saying that South Korea is interested in protecting itself from missiles launched at a range of just 500-1000 km (obviously, from Pyongyang), while the US system is designed to work at a much greater range. But the real reason behind the argument is perhaps that Seoul does not want to get on its northern neighbor’s nerves, to say nothing about China as Beijing is a major opponent of the U.S. anti-missile plans in Asia.
Washington’s allies in the West seem to be fed up with the issue of US anti-missile defense plans. It looks as if they would like to distance themselves from this US project which is hardly possible amid intense pressure from the U.S. Now Washington has turned its sights to Asia.
International Chess Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachev offers an interesting chess parallel to this development of the U.S. policy of deterrence. "A new geopolitical idea came into existence at the US embassy in Moscow in 1946. It was about preventing Communist ideas from spreading worldwide. There used to be a bright image in politics at the time: domino chips quickly falling down one after another symbolizing the countries of Eastern Europe and Asia that supported the Marxism - Leninism theory and wanted to oust colonial administrations from their territories."
This very theory was used by the U.S. to justify its intervention of Korea and Vietnam in the late 1950s. These days, however, Washington appears to rely on the same principles, Mr. Tkachev continues. "A similar scheme of deterrence is now used to win control over energy resources and dominating presence in Eurasia. What has changed is the number of countries that the U.S. believes should be deterred: apart from Russia, these are Iran and China. I have a strong feeling that the authors of this theory were inspired by a classical postulate of chess strategy which says that an object of your attack should first of all be encircled, blocked and then eliminated."
As far as the Asia-Pacific region is concerned, it is no secret that the Asian segment of the U.S. global anti-missile shield is aimed not against Pyongyang but China, Washington’s key military and political rival in the region. Nevertheless, the White House should definitely think Seoul`s reaction over.