Why Jim Webb Was In Burma

Reagan appointee (and now conservative Dem and occasional screenwriter whose ‘Rules of Engagement’ was described as “probably the most racist film ever made against Arabs by Hollywood“) the former Marine has gotten Yettaw out, but really the US agenda is …democracyChina.

He is a critic of US sanctions on Burma, Webb in his opening remarks at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Maritime & Sovereignty Disputes in Asia said-

At the pinnacle of this issue is China’s growing military, diplomatic and economic power, not only in the region but world-wide.  China’s evolution has changed the regional economic balance, and has enabled China to expand its political influence.  Across the East Asian mainland, from Burma to Vietnam, we have heard statements of concern about the impact of China’s reach.

As the United States continues its attempt to isolate Burma due to the human rights policies of its military regime, China’s influence has grown exponentially, including the recent announcement of a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline project that would enable the Chinese to offload oil obtained in the Persian Gulf and pump it to Yunnan Province, without having to transit the choke point of the Strait of Malacca.

As a maritime nation, the United States should maintain the quality and strength of its seapower—if not improve it.  The recent trajectory of American seapower is not encouraging.  When I first joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968, there were 931 combatants in the U.S. Navy.  When I served as Secretary of the Navy in 1988, this battle force numbered 569 ships.  At present, the U.S. Navy has 284 deployable battle force ships, with 42 percent of them underway today.   Although the quality of China’s 241 ships cannot match that of the United States’, that quality gap is closing.

If the United States is to remain an Asian nation, and a maritime nation, our nation’s leaders have a choice to make.  Our diplomatic corps and our military—and especially our Navy—must have the resources necessary to protect U.S. interests and the interests of our allies.  Smart power must be reinforced by military might.

The US is an Asian nation? Imperial entitlement much? I would like to hear Aung San Suu Kyi’s side of the meeting with Webb, but y’know she’s a prisoner of a military dictatorship so that’s not so easy. That’s kind of the point, Jimbo.

4 Responses to “Why Jim Webb Was In Burma”

  1. ceedee Says:

    I’d like to think that Jim Webb actually meant to say “ASEAN nation,” (as in Association of Southeast Asian Nations) except of course that the US isn’t one of them either.
    Perhaps he was alluding to the US having a place on the ASEAN Regional Forum (that’s ARF, would you believe?) along with, erm, China.

  2. RickB Says:

    ASEAN was discussed, but I think he was in the sphere of influence mode, maybe now it is irrelevant they could repurpose Rule Britannia to The United State Rules the Waves, it would please Webb’s Navy heart.

  3. Jotman Says:

    I believe Webb meant that the US is an Asian military power. On one hand, China is going to do what it takes to meet its needs, and exert more influence. That’s not something that a few more US ships will change. And one way or another the US will have to come to terms with a more influential China.

    On the other hand, let’s say that nothing else changed with the world, but the US simply “quit Asia.” In that event, both Japan and South Korea would likely seek to develop their own nuclear weapons and build up their armed forces to counter one another and China.

    Finally, Webb is a complex character. As a Democrat, he couldn’t have won a Senate seat in the previously very Republican state of Virginia without coming across as at least somewhat conservative. But to Webb’s great credit he is no friend of the neo-conservatives:

    As early as September 2002, Webb began speaking out, forcefully and presciently, against invading Iraq. In a September 4, 2002, Op-Ed in The Washington Post, he wrote, “Is there an absolutely vital national interest that should lead us from containment to unilateral war and a long-term occupation of Iraq?” (At that point, few people were envisioning an occupation.) He also asked: “Would such a war and its aftermath actually increase our ability to win the war against international terrorism?”


  4. RickB Says:

    I agree he is not a simple caricature but my overriding thought is he sees this in terms of what is best for US power, not what is best for the Burmese. It seem like a cold war paradigm, never mind human rights, it’s all about getting people on our team and in truth they would not do a damn thing to really displease China, after all they hold all that US’s debt and they make the US elite very rich shipping us crap to buy.

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