Just when I finished my last post saying that the US dominion over the Western Pacific will soon be over, and asked "what then..."
Comes North Korea and shoots an (alleged) hydrogen bomb. The world is startled. No, it's the world is amazed. It's jizzing on its pants. I can't say I appreciate Kim Jong Un's sense of aesthetics, but man, this guy understand strategy.
As usual, everybody is pointing at China. Please do something! You're feeding these guys!
And what says China?
Now, Hu Xijin is just a hack, he is by no means an official spokesman. But he doesn't say what the government doesn't allow him to say. So it's likely that the Chinese government thinks he has a point. In short: if we stop feeding The Kim, he'll get pissed at us. Probably will threaten to nuke Beijing or something. Then the whole media spotlight will be on the North Korea vs. China conflict. The US nor anybody in the West will help us or give a shit about it, and man we really don't need this shit on ourselves right now. China is kinda busy. Enough problems already. So you see this fat nuked-up hot potato here? You can have it, Gringoes.
You gotta see the genius of North Korean strategy during the last decades. They must have known exactly that China would never have an immediate incentive to do anything about them; even though China really doesn't like them at all. So they kept tensing the cord, knowing the Americans also wouldn't dare do anything given that Korean artillery can basically destroy Seoul (20 million people, 50km from the border) in half an hour.
So as I asked in my last post, what when the US is out of the Western Pacific? Now that North Korea has nukes, the answer seems obvious. Nuclear proliferation. First South Korea, unless they get a death wish and the local left decides to surrender and be unified under the glorious socialism of The Kim (not unlikely). But surely Japan will get their nukes. And then... Taiwan! Oh man, is China gonna get pissed at that. It would be quite interesting if Trump were to troll them by helping Taiwan get nukes and daring China to invade.
I don't quite see South East Asia having the technical capability to get any; unless they buy/lease them from the Norks. At any rate, what's the real problem? The typical warnings on nuclear proliferation is that "rogue agents" could hijack nukes and so something crazy, them being crazy. Of course the only people crazy enough to do that are fundamentalist Muslims. But there aren't any of those in East Asia. It's a 90% atheist, modernist, consumerist place.
The official historical narrative is sort of that nuclear weapons made the cost of war too big, which cut most of the nationalist warlike signaling spiral that consumed Europe from 1900 to 1945, unleashing a new era of peaceful cooperation, the EU and that crap. Hey, who knows, maybe in 100 years Kim 3rd the Fat is remembered as the harbinger of Peace in Asia.