China, Botox and there’s no Easter Bunny

It’s clear that the Chinese economic rise is fundamentally affecting the world, as I (and many others) have written about before. But what does this mean? The average citizen takes home roughly $7,500 USD (at Puchasing Power Parity) per year. Amazingly, that salary has increased roughly 8-10% per year for quite a long while. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to see pay raises of 10% every year. I’ve seen some jumps in pay as a result of promotions, but, even at my best I’d guess that it was never more than 4% or so (which is about what it will be when I’m promoted to Major later this year). So what are the Chinese putting their new found wealth into?

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For Memorial Day: How Kiwis Remember

Image of the Wellington (New Zealand) Cenotaph, courtesy of Wikipedia

**Note: what follows is a written reflection (with a few minor modifications) from my experience at an ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day Dawn Service at the Wellington (New Zealand) Cenotaph on April 24, 2011.  As we pay our respects on Memorial Day, it seemed appropriate to consider how our friends and allies commemorate the fallen.**

I have just returned from the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Wellington Cenotaph with good friends from the NZ Defence Force. It was a touching ceremony, lasting about a half an hour, starting about 5:45am. The time, in and of itself, is striking…the American equivalent for veteran remembrance is, of course, Veteran’s (and/or Memorial) Day. Veteran’s Day celebrates the armistice reached for World War I, famously at the 11th hour (11:00am) on the 11th day of the 11th month (November 11th). ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance of those that gave their lives in the unsuccessful landings at Gallipoli. Continue reading “For Memorial Day: How Kiwis Remember”

17-24 APR Training Week; Yoga for the Wounded and Weight Bearing for Soldiers

It was, in all dimensions, a great training week for me. I did two leg strengthening workouts and visited the acupuncturist on Friday. Actually, this was a pretty tough acupuncture session in that Dr. Yan decided that I’ve progressed to “graduate” level: he had me sit in a chair while he put the needles in my knee. Wow. Let me just say that there are very few moments that you truly lose your breath (meeting my wife was one of them)…this easily makes that list. It was stunning, but, as with other treatment sessions, the initial pain goes away quickly and the healing process continues.

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ANZAC Day Dawn Service, Wellington Cenotaph – Reflections

I have just returned from the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Wellington Cenotaph (photographed to the left) with good friends from the NZ Defence Force. It was a touching ceremony, lasting about a half an hour, starting about 5:45am. The time, in and of itself, is striking…the American equivalent for veteran remembrance is, of course, Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day celebrates the armistice reached for World War I, famously at the 11th hour (11:00am) on the 11th day of the 11th month (November 11th). ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance of those that gave their lives in the unsuccessful landings at Gallipoli.

I thought I would write about the key reflections I have of the ceremony. Essentially, these are snap judgments, differences that stick out to an American military officer about how Kiwi’s honor war’s casualties. One must remember that the sample size is small and recognize that full conclusions are not possible in observing one event.

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Economic Interrelatedness


In a separate post, I’ve outlined the amazing growth of the Chinese economy. In this post, I’ll highlight it’s resultant impact on the region and the world. To the left is a fantastic image pulled, I think, from a Wall Street Journal article from last month. It depicts the relative level of trading between China an eleven of the G20 nations. Between 2000 and 2010, China has grown to become the top trading partner of 6 G20 nations,
and the second trading partner of another 5 (including the United States). That’s quite a shift. Especially when one looks at India and South Africa (10th to 1st), and Russia (6th to 1st), and Brazil (10th to 2nd). That carries with it a considerable amount of leverage, that, I think, even the Chinese are just beginning to comprehend. In Chairman Mao’s era, it seems that China often sought to export ideology in the Asia-Pacific; now, China is moving economic goods much more successfully.

When one looks at the above image, it’s clear to see there’s a cluster at the far left that has something in common…they all have security guarantees with the United States. In fact, the US has 5 of it’s 7 total Mutual Security Treaties in the PACOM AOR:

Japan – security treaty with US in 1951/1960 – #1 trading partners with China.
South Korea – security treaty with US in 1953 – #1 trading partners with China.
Australia – security treaty with US in 1952 – #1 trading partners with China.
Philippines – security treaty with US in 1951 – #2 trading partners with China.
Thailand – security treaty with US in 1954 – #2 trading partners with China.

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The Evolving Asia-Pacific and America’s Place in it

This blog will be about a lot of things: war, politics, geography, military and civilian leaders, national cultures, global and regional institutions (my love for running might just make the cut some days). But, above all, the focus will be on U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. As a professional strategic practitioner and one who will soon teach “Military Strategy” academically, my gaze will be towards the Far East.

Additionally, the US PACOM area of responsibility is home to two great shifts. First, the gradual shift of economic power from West to East. Second, the regional shift of (again, economic) power to the People’s Republic of China. Most folks refer to this as the “Rise of China,” a statement that has become so dominant in political science discourse that it might as well have it’s own drinking game. But there is something to the concept, as seen, in the really slick scanned document I’ve provided at the left.
China has overtaken long-stagnant Japan as the world’s second largest economy, behind only the United States. Impressively, China’s economy was one-eighth that of the U.S. in 2001 ~ now the gap is down to less than three to one. This increase represents China’s industrialization; it’s growth to a first world nation. One can, in the chart above, see that at Purchasing Power Parity, China is sitting at roughly $7500 per captia, still a fraction of Japan, the U.S., and most of the fully developed world.

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9-16 APR Training Week; Event Notes & an Article

Howdy Team WWP,
Here we go ~ I’ll stick to my title, and go in order. First, the training week. Running every day now, at about a 7:30 – 8:30 pace per mile. Consistency is what I’m after, and it’s starting to come about. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I’ve been running down to the gym and doing a series of leg/quad strengthening exercises to keep the area around the left knee and tendon intact. I’m up to 3 sets of 3:30 wall sits, so that’s encouraging. On the whole, I ran roughly 36 miles this past week (up from 33.5 and 31 the past two weeks, respectively). I also visited the acupuncturist on Friday. I’m starting to think that my knee challenge is one that will never quite heal, but one that I can manage to the point of tolerability. We’ll see. My biggest change though, has definitely been to modify my running form in order to take more load off the knees and shift it to the feet and calves. Speaking of which, my right foot continues to heal ~ slowly, but it’s getting there. It’s sort of generally sore from time to time, but nothing that would make me think that it’s still fundamentally broken.

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