Conflict is about reputation, public image and sending a message

People are attracted to territory, according to UT Baker Howard Center fellow.

“It is about military power. Military is about power. They need to say ‘Don’t mess with us,’” said Krista Wiegand, Ph.D.

“China’s strategy is to provoke [other Asian countries].”

On Wednesday’s Baker Café session, Wiegand discussed topics on military warfare; terrorism and various implications countries may face because of those disputes. She particularly focused her talk on Asian political issues such as China’s growth in power and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) presence in the Middle East.

According to Wiegard, China is trying to surpass the United State’s influence in Asia. One red flag is the country’s increase on military spending and participating in war games. She reiterates that reputation is key in sending a message to other countries.

China wants to be a superpower in Asia but [mostly] economically,” said Wiegand.

While the U.S. government has taken notice, it is tiptoeing a fine line because of the fragile alliance between them. It is alarming because China appears to be taking the role of expansionists. The country wants to appear as a strong sovereign state.

“Everything in China is about image and how they appear,” according to Wiegand.

According to Wiegand, an unbalance relationship could effect alliances with multiple countries in areas such as trade, which would affect the United States economy. Wiegand said about 80 percent of Walmart’s trade is from China, which could be a potential causality in a conflict.

Also, Wiegand talked about North Korea’s ego and their propaganda techniques to manipulate their citizens. She described North Korea as a bubble. They believe their country is in the center of Asia and the world.

Then she went into ISIS’s negative impact in the Middle East. The terrorist group is destroying everything the American government has created to put the Middle East on a road to democracy.

“They really truly believer it is a battle between Islam and the rest of the world,” said Wiegand.

Wiegand received her degree in political science from Duke University, where she specialized in International Relations & Security Studies. She published two books, her newest one, Islands of Contention: The China-Japan Border Dispute in a Multidisciplinary Perspective, will come out in 2015.

She was nominated for award of excellence in research at Georgia Southern University in 2013. According to Wiegand’s website, she will be teaching for the Semester at Sea program visiting 15 cities in 12 countries.

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