The headline was meant to be humorous, but is really just one example of saying the loud part out loud.
A satirical impression of a headline in the ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine, authored by one Raymond L. Bloodthirst Jr., began circulating around the internet recently. It read as follows: ‘We’re Having Trouble Finding Asian Countries Willing to Shoot Missiles at China.’ The subheading then lambasted China’s neighbors for not being “Democratic enough” to potentially sacrifice thousands of lives in this endeavor.
It’s very clearly fake, although some people who shared it didn’t examine it too closely and believed it was real – and one journalist on the “disinformation” beat, who apparently works for Voice of America, made a Twitter threadThe post. Although it’s possible to forgive users for sharing the humorous headline, they are, at most, not responsible.
A recent article published by RAND Corporation, an American non-profit global policy thinktank, was satirical in tone. RAND wroteTwitter: “A U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific that relies on an ally agreeing to permanently host ground-based intermediate-range missiles risks failing because of an inability to find a willing partner.”
The section of the report outlining the key findings goes on to list US allies in the region, such as Thailand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Australia, and discuss how each of them would be reluctant to accept US GBIRMs – either because of “historical”China opposition or reluctance. This does however suggest that “the most likely strategy to succeed would be helping Japan develop an arsenal of ground-based, anti-ship missile capabilities.”It says that this would be the first step to get Japan to accept GBIRMs.
The satire seemed to be on the right track. Indeed, what it succeeded in doing was critique RAND’s position by bringing the unsaid to the fore, which is the mark of good satire. This position is so absurd that it invites us all to laugh at it. Yes, the idea of the US placing intermediate-range missiles in China’s neighborhood is ridiculous, and when you mention the logical conclusion of this policy then it does appear just stupid.
I am reminded of one dramatic principle, Chekhov’s gun. It is a principle that every story and play must contribute to the narrative. Writers should not make false promises in narrative works: details that may create misleading expectations should be omitted, whereas those that are included should ultimately be involved in the narrative’s resolution. To sum it up, you should never introduce a gun in a story that you aren’t prepared to use.
Reality doesn’t always conform to art (though we can see that actual news headlines and satire are sometimes not far apart), but one has to wonder whether these GBIRMs aren’t one of Chekhov’s guns. If the US isn’t ready to use these weapons, why would it want them to be placed near China?
This is why it is such a provocative move – because placing these missiles in China’s neighborhood necessarily implies that they could be used against China. If anything, just the threat of that force is inherently coercive and undermines China’s sovereignty and independence. It also necessarily implies that whichever country might choose to house such weapons would be complicit in this threat, i.e., they’d have to be “Willing to Shoot Missiles at China.”
This policy would be devastating and detrimental to global peace. China is a nuclear power that even though it has an extremely restrained policy in nuclear matters, could still resort to them should they be involved in a conflict. The United States will likely go to great lengths to defeat China. Because the US dropped two atomicnuclear missiles on Japan after World War II ended, it remains the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in a conflict.
Inciting war between these countries would lead to a final nuclear war. That outcome will only benefit no one, and it could also threaten our survival as an organized species of life. That’s why people are excoriating this policy – because it is absolutely deranged. If no countries in China’s neighborhood end up wanting to house US intermediate-range missiles, that would be a positive development for humanity.
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