In the 2006 film “Lucky Number Slevin” Mr. Goodkat explains the concept of a “Kansas City Shuffle” to Nick Fisher, a degenerate gambler who owes two different mob bosses a large amount of money. As Bruce Willis’s character explains; a “Kansas City Shuffle” is when everybody else goes left, you go right.
This basic “bait and switch” con is used all the time in politics, anytime there is a “scandal” of any sorts, it is prudent to dig a little deeper to find out what’s really going on. Let’s take the current geopolitical atmosphere, for example. For weeks the media, egged on by the Trump administration and China, have been focused on North Korea. Most rationale people see through this ploy, but nothing unites the country like a common enemy, even if that common enemy doesn’t pose much of a threat at all, so the media ran with it. So while the media has blown this story way out of proportion, I did what I always do; looked to see what else was going on in the region. While the Trump Administration has been threatening China over North Korea, the real threat to global security was happening a few thousand kilometers away, in a small piece of disputed territory in the Himalayan mountains between the world’s two most populous countries.
On June 16th, flanked by Chinese troops, construction began on a road in the disputed territory of Doklam. The territory is located in the Himalayan mountains between Tibet’s “Chumbi Valley,” and Bhutan’s “Ha Valley.” The area has been claimed by Bhutan since 1961, China also claims the territory, saying it is part of Tibet and therefore Chinese land. Despite 24 rounds of border negotiations over the last 56 years, no progress has been made on the dispute.
While the mountain kingdom of Bhutan has less than a million citizens, they have been protected by a “Treaty of Friendship” with India since 1949. This treaty states that India will protect Bhutan from foreign aggression. India takes this treaty very seriously, so seriously that India’s main garrison is located just 13 miles from the disputed territory. So it comes as no surprise that on June 18th India mobilized 270 troops to Doklam to “protect” Bhutan. Many in Bhutan view the standoff as less about protecting their country, and more of a pissing match between India and China. Whether or not India actually cares about the safety of Bhutan is largely irrelevant. The danger is that the “People’s Liberation Army of China” boasts 2.285 million soldiers, while the “Indian Armed Forces” has a standing army of over 1.4 million troops. While both governments have called for a peaceful resolution, neither nuclear power is willing to back down; culminating in a “minor scuffle” this week as Chinese forces tried to enter Indian territory near Pangong lake near Ladakh on Tuesday.
While it is easy to ignore a story about two countries halfway around the world, both China and India play a major role in global manufacturing. China, for example,produced 90% of the world’s computers in 2011. While India continues to grow their economy through manufacturing:
“Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in India’s manufacturing sector grew by 82 per cent year-on-year to US$ 16.13 billion during April-November 2016.”
A military conflict between the two countries would inevitably draw attention from US-based companies like Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and others who rely on Indian and Chinese labor to build their products. A conflict would more than likely reduce supply, meaning higher prices for the consumer.
Any major conflict between the two countries could also present an opportunity for Paki
stan, another nuclear power, to possibly try and take control of Kashmir and Jammu, the disputed states that mark the border between India and Pakistan. This border dispute has led to three separate conflicts since 1947. A three-way conflict between nuclear powers could easily escalate into something much larger, putting us all at risk.
Much like The Boss and The Rabbi in “Lucky Number Slevin,” the United States has fallen for a “Kansas City Shuffle,” ignoring this border dispute while focusing on a hermit kingdom and a dictator, suffering from Napoleon complex.