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US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is willing to risk a war with China in order to defend “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. Speaking in Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, Carter issued his “most forceful” warning yet, demanding “an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation” by China in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Carter said: “There should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world.” He also added that the United States intended to remain “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.”

In order to show Chinese leaders “who’s the boss”, Carter has threatened to deploy US warships and surveillance aircraft to within twelve miles of the islands that China claims are within their territorial waters. Not surprisingly, the US is challenging China under the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a document the US has stubbornly refused to ratify. But that’s neither here nor there for the bellicose Carter whose insatiable appetite for confrontation makes him the most reckless Sec-Def since Donald Rumsfeld.

So what’s this really all about? Why does Washington care so much about a couple hundred yards of sand piled up on reefs reefs in the South China Sea? What danger does that pose to US national security? And, haven’t Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines all engaged in similar “land reclamation” activities without raising hackles in DC?

Of course, they have. The whole thing is a joke. Just like Carter’s claim that he’s defending the lofty principal of “freedom of navigation” is a joke. China has never blocked shipping lanes or seized boats sailing in international waters. Never. The same cannot be said of the United States that just recently blocked an Iranian ship loaded with humanitarian relief–food, water and critical medical supplies–headed to starving refugees in Yemen. Of course, when the US does it, it’s okay.

The point is, Washington doesn’t give a hoot about the Spratly Islands; it’s just a pretext to slap China around and show them who’s running the show in their own backyard. Carter even admits as much in his statement above when he says that the US plans to be “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” China knows what that means. It means “This is our planet, so you’d better shape up or you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt.” That’s exactly what it means.

So let’s cut to the chase and try to explain what’s really going on, because pretty soon no one is going to be talking about Ukraine, Syria or Yemen because all eyes are going to be focused on China where our madhatter Secretary of Defense is trying to start a third world war.

Here’s the scoop: Washington has abandoned its China policy of “containment” and moved on to Plan B: Isolation, intimidation and confrontation. In my opinion, this is why the powerbrokers behind Obama dumped Hagel. Hagel just wasn’t hawkish enough for the job. They wanted a died-in-the-wool, warmongering neocon, like Carter, who is, quite likely, the most dangerous man in the world.

Carter’s assignment is to implement the belligerent new policy of incitement and conflict. His actions will prove to the skeptics that Washington is no longer interested in integrating China into the US-led system. Rather, China has become a the biggest threat to Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia. And, just to remind readers how important the pivot is to America’s future, here’s an Obama quote I lifted up from Tom Engelhardt’s latest titled “Superpower in Distress”:

“After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region….As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority.”

The so called pivot is Washington’s “top priority”, which means that China’s unprecedented ascendency must be slowed and its regional influence curtailed. Thus, the dust up over the Spratly Islands will be used in the same way the US has used other incidents, that is, by demonizing China’s leaders in the media, by assembling a coalition that will publicly oppose China’s activities, by implementing harsh economic sanctions, by launching asymmetrical attacks on China’s currency and financial markets, by excluding China from critical trade agreements, and by inciting social unrest (color-coded revolution) through the support of dissidents living in China. These are the all-too-familiar signs of US meddling directed at “emerging rivals” who threaten US global hegemony. China now finds itself at the top of the list.

US powerbrokers know that bullying China involves significant risks for themselves and the world. Even so, they have decided to pursue this new policy and force a confrontation. Why? Why would they embark on a strategy so fraught with danger?

The answer is: They don’t see any way around it. They’ve tried containment and it hasn’t worked. China’s growing like crazy and its regional influence threatens to leave the US on the outside looking in. Carter even admitted as much in a recent speech he gave at the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. He said: “We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets…forging many separate trade agreements in recent years, some based on pressure and special arrangements…. Agreements that…..leave us on the sidelines. That risks America’s access to these growing markets. We must all decide if we are going to let that happen. If we’re going to help boost our exports and our economy…and cement our influence and leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world; or if, instead, we’re going to take ourselves out of the game.”

See? It’s all about markets. It’s all about money. Here’s more from Carter’s speech: (The) ” Asia-Pacific…is the defining region for our nation’s future”… “Half of humanity will live there by 2050″ and that “more than half of the global middle class and its accompanying consumption will come from that region.”….”There are already more than 525 million middle class consumers in Asia, and we expect there to be 3.2 billion in the region by 2030…President Obama and I want to ensure that… businesses can successfully compete for all these potential customers. ….Over the next century, no region will matter more… for American prosperity.”

This is why the Obama administration is making a general nuisance of itself in the South China Sea. It’s so the big US mega-corporations will have new customers for their IPADs and toaster ovens.

For that, they are willing to risk a nuclear war.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, China, South China Sea 
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  1. hbm says:

    Because Jewish Neocons want to start WW3, Mr. Whitney.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @pyrrhus
  2. Realist says:
    @hbm

    And whites are too stupid.

  3. pyrrhus says:
    @hbm

    Yes, the neocons have gone completely delusional as well as mad. If our fleet gets into a war with China, it will end up on the ocean bottom….

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  4. Jim says:

    I sometimes wonder about Obama – what does he really believe? – is he actually in charge? Is he just putting in the hours until retirement when he can get on with his life.

    • Replies: @Realist
  5. Corvinus says:

    “US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is willing to risk a war…”

    First, it’s posturing. Second, China is not going to fly off the handle and drop the hammer. Third, let us assume that your wild assertion becomes a reality. Is it not in the best interest of end-of-the-worlders? I mean, they pray for this scenario in order to rid the world of SJW’s, da Joos, Muzzies, and any other people deemed “enemies”.

    “Because Jewish Neocons want to start WW3, Mr. Whitney.”

    Oh, no, not another da Joo reference.

    “And whites are too stupid.”

    Speak from experience?

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Mr. Anon
    , @Mack0
  6. EVERYTHING is all about money.
    The War Machine. The Multiculturalism Machine. The Mass Immigration Machine. The Feminism Machine. The War On Terror Machine. etc etc etc

    All these endeavors and ideologies that are given to us from on high, from CorpGovMedia, from academia, from Hollywood, these are all about corporate profits and GDP and growth.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  7. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @pyrrhus

    It depends. The US Navy is way more advanced in the most important combat component of any fleet–submarine force. US submarine force is more numerous, more skilled and deploys better technology than PLAN. PLAN also has some major issues with ASW. So I wouldn’t rush to the conclusion here. But there are some conditions under which US Navy can find itself operationally defanged, but it is not for the discussion on this board. As per neocons going completely off the rails–it is not only them, sadly. There are some huge issues with US power “elites” as a whole.

    • Replies: @Avery
  8. Will Whitney identify some of these powerbrokers? We’re told that ‘it’s all about markets, it’s all about money.’ Isn’t this the same China that has become an economic superpower and vast holder of American government debt under a regime of liberal globalisation that has been fostered by the very same powerbroking elites that Whitney seeks to accuse? Maybe Whitney finds it easier to raise the spectre of some shadowy-anonymous cabal than indict the liberal ideologies of which, no doubt, he is actually a true believer.

    A pox on all your houses!

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  9. Oldtimer says:

    Quote from Gone With the Wind, A Rhett Butler speech

    “All wars are sacred, to those who have to fight them.
    If the people who started wars didn’t make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight?

    But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money.
    All wars are in reality money squabbles; but so few people ever realize it.

    Their ears are too full of bugles and drums and the fine words from stay-at-home orators.

    Sometimes the rallying cry is ’save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen!’ Sometimes it’s ’down with Popery!’ and sometimes ‘Liberty!’ and sometimes ‘Cotton, Slavery and States’ Rights!”

  10. Avery says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Argentine Air Force operating from their mainland did serious damage to British naval forces during the Falklands war. Even after French had passed on the radar signatures of Argentine operated French-made Exocets to the Brits.

    Chinese air force operating from their home bases on mainland can repeatedly attack US surface ships.
    US submarine force is 2nd to none, but it is useless against an enemy air force.
    Why would Chinese play to US strengths and engage in naval battles ?
    Why wouldn’t they use their huge local advantage of aerial assets and anti-ship long range missiles to tip the balance ?

    There was a computer war simulation US ran of a possible conflict in the Persian gulf a few years back.
    It was a disaster for the Navy.
    16 ships, including a carrier, were lost.
    It was only a simulation, of course, but it showed Navy’s vulnerability to modern anti-ship missiles and other asymmetric attacks.
    And US Navy has not engaged a comparable enemy since WW2: so we don’t know how it will do butting heads with a competent adversary like Chinese.

    This whole thing is insane.
    Chinese are not going to back down because it is too close to their homeland: they can’t back down. US was prepared to go nuclear to force USSR to remove their nukes form Cuba.
    The situation is similar for the Chinese.

    A series of miscalculations and/or provocations can lead to a major war in the region involving everybody.
    Totally insane.

  11. The US recently finished building a new mega aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R Ford, development cost $5B and construction $8B, one of a number to be built by 2058. The purpose is to secure an ironclad supremacy over the world’s oceans for at least the next 50 years. This, as well as other such projects, transcends whatever party or president happens to be in the White House and reflects the big-power momentum of the US towards attempted world domination by the use of force as well as economic warfare and internal subversion of other countries. All this demonstrates the long term planning involved and is not just the policy of a handful of individuals but rather is contained in the very logic of US policy which is inexorably expansionist. The only thing that can stop it is where irresistible force runs into an immovable object. The US doesn’t want to allow a country to develop to the point where it can challenge or resist it. Conflict with China seems to be a foregone conclusion as the US doesn’t want them to control the resources and wealth of Asia. It’s probably not going to happen in the near future but trouble lies ahead further down the road.

    • Replies: @travel-lyte
  12. Sam Shama says:

    It isn’t nearly as simple and inevitable a path that you conjure up, Mr. Whitney. Nor are the intra-Asian dynamics as simple, characterised by the benevolent and rational picture you paint of China, which systematically attempts to encircle other Asian countries.

    Just ask India. Or Taiwan, or Vietnam or Singapore or even move beyond Asia to Australia.

  13. The only conceivable purpose is destruction of America. China holds vast sums of American debt and assets. It could tip America’s precarious economy into chaos. The enormous trade deficit shows America needs Chinese products more than China needs American products. And since China now has the means of production that American companies have eagerly shipped across the pacific, China can withstand a complete trade embargo longer and better than America. Further, China’s populace is less dependent on the modern globalist economy. It’s people can more readily live with less than Americans who now lack the ability to produce anything on their own.

    Why would China allow itself to be bullied by Washington? China is not Iran. China holds the ability to sink the global economy and the population to withstand any type of warfare including nuclear. Thanks to China’s one-child policy, she has a surplus of some 50,000,000+ unattached men. She can sustain population losses greater than the total American population without risking her complete annihilation. On the other hand America cannot have war with China without at minimum plunging the nation into economic catastrophe unprecedented in any nation’s history.

    America has been steadily gutted for the past 50 years of all methods of production and all her national wealth. She is today a toothless bankrupt hag who now wants to pick a fight with her largest benefactor.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  14. Realist says:
    @Jim

    “I sometimes wonder about Obama – what does he really believe? – is he actually in charge?”

    He is in charge as much as GWB was, which is to say….not at all.

  15. It’s just an endless game to boost military spending every higher. They restarted this same dangerous game with Russia. It seems great fun to them, but wars can occur from childish blunders. I worry the Philippines will play the role of Poland in 1939. It is very weak yet acts bold and firm against China because of assurances from the USA. It may get shot up in a petty island quarrel and drag the USA in the mess.

    Of course the G2mil blog has relevant info:

    Nov 30, 2013 – Diaoyu/Senkaku Warmongering.

    I didn’t understand the conflict over a few tiny, uninhabited islands near Taiwan. Our war machine aligned with our corporate media to publish hundreds of stories over the past two years about aggressive Chinese claims to these Japanese islands. Then I read this letter in the “Economist” last February:

    SIR – Your leader about the dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands presented China as the aggressor in the East China Sea and Japan as the victim (“Dangerous shoals”, January 19th). A different story can be told if you go further back. China has claimed the islands for centuries and always treated Japan’s annexation of them in 1895 as illegal.

    The Potsdam Declaration of 1945, which set out the Allied Powers’ terms for Japan’s surrender, deprived Japan of all its overseas territories, including the islands. But the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951, signed by Japan, actually broke those conditions by restoring the islands to Japanese control (but leaving open the issue of sovereignty).

    Moreover, the Chinese government, by then controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, was excluded from the conference that produced the treaty. For both those reasons the Chinese government regards the handing back of the islands to Japanese control as illegitimate.

    Until 2010 the two governments left the settlement of their claims undefined. This was the agreement that came out of the diplomatic recognition and friendship talks between the government of Japan and Zhou Enlai in 1972 and Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Deng famously suggested that contentious issues like Senkaku should be “left to the wiser heads of later generations”. In practice, Japan accepted the islands’ limbo state, exercising only “practical control” by shooing away non-Japanese fishing boats.

    The current dispute began in 2010 when the Japanese arrested a Chinese fishing boat in defiance of an agreement not to apply domestic laws to trespassing fishermen and proposed to put the captain on trial. This provoked an unexpectedly furious Chinese reaction, which stiffened the Japanese government’s determination not to appear weak in its dealings with China.

    China’s “aggression” towards Japan has to be understood in this context. In a civilised world both sides would bring the case to the International Court of Justice.

    Professor Robert Wade
    Department of international development
    London School of Economics
    ____________________-

    According to the Potsdam Accords, Okinawa should not have been given back to Japan in 1972, since the Japanese empire invaded that island chain in 1872. The Okinawans were not consulted, since they may have chosen independence and closed the unwanted American military bases. Note that Taiwan was also a Japanese colony, and was freed after World War II. Taiwan also claims these islands near its coast, and a long way from mainland Japan.

    If you read more about this issue, it remained in limbo until 2010 when Japan began to exert sovereignty over these distant islands, challenging Taiwanese and Chinese fisherman in the area and claiming the airspace. China refused to accept this illegal and provocative behavior, and countered this squatter’s rights move by declaring the air space as well. This only means that China (like Japan) demands permission to fly through this zone (far from Japan) and reserves the right to intercept non-complying aircraft and shoot down hostile intruders.

    This is an old, petty squabble between Japan and our World War II ally China. It is not a sign of an aggressive Chinese military and no excuse to maintain wartime levels of spending that are helping bankrupt our nation. It explains why the Pentagon immediately flew two B-52 bombers through the zone and publicly backed Japan’s claim, while demonstrating its control over our corporate media, which failed to report these facts.

    I suggest an obvious compromise. Japan should offer to transfer these big rocks to Taiwan if China drops its claim. Taiwan is the nearest nation, and this should have happened when it became independent after World War II. China’s reaction would be interesting, but this would diffuse the issue and improve relations with Taiwan.

    • Replies: @Avery
  16. Realist says:
    @Corvinus

    “Speak from experience?”

    Yes from reading tripe from idiots like you.

  17. Avery says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    Very interesting background info, Mr. Meyer.
    Learned something new.

    I remember visiting G2Mil regularly years ago, then lost track somehow.
    Great site.
    Glad you still keeping it active.

    Russia and China had a long running dispute around Amur river border demarcation.
    USSR and China even had a mini-war there years ago.
    But recently Russia and China signed-off on a mutually agreed demarcation: done.
    No more dispute.

    A couple of years ago Russia offered to give 2 of the 4 disputed Kuril Islands back to Japan to end the matter amicably.
    Japan refused and insisted on all 4, or no deal.
    So Russia said, fine: no deal, no deal.
    The islands are being militarized and re-enforced by Russia now.

    Japan has apparently forgotten the massive war they started and caused a lot of death and destruction in the region.
    Japan has forgotten that they invaded and occupied China, Korea, ….much of Asia.
    They lost the war they started.
    They lost those islands.
    When you start a war and lose it, there are consequences.
    They could have lost a lot more.

  18. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Avery

    I was talking about fleet-to-fleet (aka Sea Control) battle. It is known fact that appearance of AD/A2 “concepts” was driven by realization of inability of US Navy to operate in the littorals of nations other than stone-age Mid Eastern satrapies. Your comment would have carried more weight if you have omitted your reference to Falklands. US Navy can deploy much larger (how vulnerable it is–is another matter) air component on its CVNs than GB could on its Hermes and Invincible carriers. Defeat of US CBGs by PLA(N) may require more than just the large number of sorties by its Air Force. PLAN doesn’t have yet submarine capacity to provide SALVO which would carry enough leakers for hard-kill of CVNs. It still may, but any simulation is built around acceptable and desirable probabilities. I don’t think this board is a good place to discuss Augmented Salvo Equations and Fractional Exchange Ratios.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  19. anon • Disclaimer says:

    The foundation of military power is economic power. Wall St betrayed America when they off-shored the economic power to make themselves rich and now the US is increasingly a paper tiger – like a shrinking man with a massively heavy gun who can still just about carry it but is weakening daily.

    Don’t blame Russia/China etc, blame Wall St.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @MarkinLA
  20. Mr. Anon says:
    @Corvinus

    “Corvinus says:

    ““US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is willing to risk a war…””

    First, it’s posturing. Second, China is not going to fly off the handle and drop the hammer. ”

    Sure. Cooler heads will, in the end, prevail. Just as they did in 1914.

  21. Mr. Anon says:
    @leftist conservative

    “leftist conservative says:

    EVERYTHING is all about money.”

    That is a common view among people who are stupid, greedy, short-sighted, and – typically – not wealthy themselves.

    Rich people have more money than they can ever possibly use to buy themselves baubles. And there are better ways of making money than war. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, George Soros – they are all far richer than any Daddy Warbucks arms-merchant ever was.

    What the wealthy and powerful want is power and more power – the power to rule men and nations, the power to make history, the power to shape the future. Money is nothing but a means to that end. It is ultimately the power to tell other people what to do, even to the extent of ordering them to their deaths, that motivates the power-hungry.

    As George Orwell wrote in 1984: “The purpose of murder IS murder. The purpose of torture IS torture”. To that I would add the inevitable corollary: the purpose of power IS power.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Avery

    What worries me is the long term consequences

    America could get out of a war with a ‘victory’… But the Chinese don’t simply walk away and forget.

    They are SEETHING already, over indignities inflicted on them 100 years ago…they aren’t just forgetting about this stuff after it happens.

    Whites are a small part of the global population…and getting smaller. We can’t assume we’ll be on top forever.

    Our focus should be defending our own homelands…be it military invasions or immigrant invasions.

    Our position is going to be so weak in the coming generations, our grandchildren will be begging their Chinese overlords for forgiveness and mercy.

    We need to stay home and focus on strengthening our own societies, the rot from the inside is far more of a threat than anything coming from China or the MiddleEast

    • Replies: @Pshr
  23. MarkinLA says:
    @Stan D Mute

    The enormous trade deficit shows America needs Chinese products more than China needs American products. And since China now has the means of production that American companies have eagerly shipped across the pacific, China can withstand a complete trade embargo longer and better than America.

    Too simplistic. I agree that war with China over “markets” is stupid. The only reason to fight a war is the defense of the people at home and fighting over whether American multinational companies have access to foreign countries does nothing for the average American.

    That said, due to the advances in manufacturing technology, any loses of American manufacturing assets to China are far less important than in the past. America still has all the manufacturing know-how needed to replace anything coming from China. The cost will just be higher, hardly the things that mean the end of the USA. I worked in medical products and we used technology every bit as up to date as Apple, we just were producing 100,000 units a year instead of 100,000 a week.

    Most of what is made in China is consumer junk that is not essential. it is made there to take advantage of near slave labor. That is it’s only reason for being built there.

  24. Mr. Anon says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    My guess is that Aircraft Carriers will prove about as useful in a war with a serious military power, as distinct from the tin-plated dictators and brigands we’ve grown accustomed to making war upon, as slave-galleys. The Navy may as well stage musical numbers on the flight-decks, like in those old 30s musicals, with sailors dancing on battleships.

    If the Chinese went to war with us, they wouldn’t f**k around. They would begin by obliterating our carrier task-forces with nuclear weapons. What does a carrier task-force cost, including all the ships, the airplanes, the ordinance, and the personnel? $10 billion? $20 billion? $50 billion? What does an intermediate-range ballistic missile and a 300 kiloton warhead cost? $ 10, 20 million?

    Our admirals are stupid chumps, busy about fighting the last war and losing the next. They may as well be admirals in Tsar Nicholas II’s Baltic Fleet for all the good they will do this country.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    The US has dominant military power which controls and has access to European, Japanese, South Korean, etc. manufacturing. Plus Mideast and domestic oil. So from a military and geopolitical standpoint, it doesn’t really matter that some toy factories were off-shored.

  26. MarkinLA says:
    @anon

    Just because the US has lost a lot of consumer manufacturing doesn’t mean we have lost military power. The US has more than enough manufacturing capacity where it counts and can easily ramp it up if necessary. All the screw-ups in American military procurement have to do with the need to push technology into unknown territory since weight of numbers is no longer as important as it was. Of course these unproven in battle technologies do tend to give generals and admirals an inflated sense of their capabilities leading to possibly bone-headed decisions by the leadership.

    There are never going to be the types of wars of attrition like we saw in WWII where hundreds of thousands of plane, tanks, and artillery pieces are built and armed with billions of rounds of ammunition. Even when we bully third world countries we expend no where near the amount of ordnance we did even in Vietnam.

    The issue is the stupidity of using the military for no seemingly good end. If Nike can’t use cheap labor in Outer Mongolia to undercut its higher paid workers in Vietnam to make even more on a pair of 200 dollar Air-LeBrons who cares except the executives at Nike and the parasites on Wall Street?

  27. MarkinLA says:
    @Mr. Anon

    Uh, the destruction of a US carrier battle group MUST come with an all out attack on the US mainland with nuclear weapons since within 2 minutes or less the entire US strategic arsenal needed to turn China into a parking lot will be airborne.

    This is why all these stupid war games are ridiculous.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  28. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    There are never going to be the types of wars of attrition like we saw in WWII where hundreds of thousands of plane, tanks, and artillery pieces are built and armed with billions of rounds of ammunition

    Never say never. War between Russia and Georgia of 08-08-08 as well as current conflict in Donbass saw division-corps size formations engaged in the combined arms warfare. The fact that US Armed Forces didn’t fight even semi-competent enemy, let alone peer-to-peer or peer-to near peer wars, since Vietnam doesn’t mean absolutely that either large scale combined arms wars or wars of attrition are the thing of the past, in fact, it is exactly what it is going to be in the framework of the conventional conflict.

  29. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @MarkinLA

    Obviously, your conviction is many times stronger than your knowledge.

    1. Any US CBG can be destroyed under specific conditions, what are these conditions–is a separate matter and not the point of this post;
    2. A2/AD (Area Denial/Anti-Access) concept by US is just a fancy gobbledygook for hiding a simple truth–appearance of any US CBG near the shores of peer or near peer, who, unlike Arabs, has developed Air Defense, real Air Force and long-range Anti-Ship Missiles would be a disaster..for CBG even within the framework of a conventional conflict;
    3. The idiocy of reacting with nukes to destruction of CBG MAY still exist within murky waters of US Navy’s “Carrier Trade Union”(c) (in the words of Elmo Zumwalt) but, thankfully, those “thinkers” are not the only ones who define fighting doctrine. There are more than enough competent US naval professionals who actually DO understand implications and ramifications of using US CBGs against major nuclear and military powers;
    4. All those recent (2-3 decades) doctrinal and technological movements within US Navy, including, however failed, major program of LCS are tacit acceptance of the fact that the issue of risk-avoidance and risk-aversion not only went away but RULES the doctrinal thinking.
    5. Overall state of US military thinking today is….we’ll, I’ll stop here.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  30. George123 says:

    Oh, give me a break. Why is China goading everyone else?

    The Chinese right now are bullies, or attempting to be bullies. They have the German syndrome of the 19th century, will likely make the same miscalculations out of a need to throw their weight around, and will likely provoke a countervailing alliance between states in the region with the inclusion of the United States as an anchor, which will be their downfall, like it was Germany’s.

    Edawrd Luttwak, who writes extensively on strategy, makes a convincing case that the Chinese are strategic imbeciles, whose strategic theories derive from a body of ancient literature whose basic assumptions only apply to conditions between culturally and ethnically similar states competing for limited positional goals according to a shared set of rules, which was true of the warring states of ancient China but is disastrously wrong when applied to the world at large.

    However, the Chinese cannot see this, because they suffer from what he calls “great state autism” – the tendency of any sufficiently large country to be inward-focused and assume everyone else shares their assumptions. The United States also suffers from this syndrome.

    The Chinese spent the last thousand years or so under foreign dominance, and the myth that they quickly assimilated their overlords is untrue. The foreign conquers remained a privileged caste who hogged all position and power, and were above native Chinese.

    This does not speak well for Chinese strategic ability. The Chinese see themselves as particularly skilled strategic operators, but then, like with individuals, self-assigned national attributes are often psychological devices to conceal painful deficiencies more than a cold eyed appraisal of personal strengths and weaknesses.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Raphael
  31. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @George123

    Luttwak asserts that CCP officials pore over ancient writings to make his case seem more profound than it is. They generally don’t derive contemporary policy from them. At any rate, Luttwak doesn’t seem to read Classical Chinese, and he mistranslates terms in his book.

    I don’t find Luttwak’s argument to be very good or convincing. He argues that the Chinese are strategic imbeciles because if only they would just sit pretty and bide their time, then they would achieve regional hegemony soon just by doing nothing. But since they aren’t just sitting pretty and biding their time, they must be strategic imbeciles. Of course this assumes that the US and other Asian countries are happy to let China just become the regional hegemon by default, and we know this isn’t true. Luttwak himself has to know this, so I don’t know what his motivation is.

    • Replies: @George123
  32. George123 says:
    @Anonymous

    Are you really unaware of how ancient Chinese texts inform modern Chinese ideas about strategy, of how central and pervasive the ideas of Sun Tzu are to contemporary Chinese? These texts remain highly relevant across Asia, not just in China. But more than that, modern Chinese operate on assumptions derived from their own cultural heritage, much like Americans. Americans stupidly believe everyone wants democracy and human rights and will fight for them, and this has had catastrophic policy implications. Chinese assumptions will prove similarly unrealistic about how the rest of the world perceives them.

    No, you are not correctly presenting Luttwak’s ideas. Luttwak argues that a great power, during its rise, can choose one of three things, but not all three at once, or it will appear so threatening to other states that they will form an alliance against it, as happened during Germany’s rise.

    Those three things are 1) Economic development 2) Military build up 3) Political influence.

    The United States, during its economic rise, avoided a threatening military posture. Had it not, it might well have provoked a countervailing alliance among European states. Germany, by contrast, became the dominant economic power in Europe, while at the same time pursuing a military build up that quickly made it the strongest military power, and strove for a position of political influence that it felt were the natural concomitants of its economic and military prowess.

    Of course, it’s possible for a great power to become so predominant that no conceivable alliance can summon enough force to counter it, at which point hegemony becomes established. However, unless such hegemony is pursued by observing a cautious sequence in the above mentioned stages, the more likely outcome is to summon into being an oppositional alliance.

    The Chinese are nowhere near powerful enough to impose hegemony, and we see them clumsily throwing their weight around in the military and political sphere, while developing economically at an alarming rate.

    The writing is on the wall.

    Psychologically, its understandable why the Chinese want to throw their weight around, but it isn’t sound strategy. The gambit might pay off for them, but it isn’t likely, if history is anything to go by.

    The Chinese, because of their cultural blind spot, cannot appreciate how alarming their conduct appears within the context of their incredibly rapid economic and military development.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @PandaAtWar
  33. Raphael says:
    @George123

    Stopped reading as soon as you mentioned Luttwak, an Establishment imbecile whose every prediction has been wrong wrong wrong. Even Thomas Friedman says more reliable and profound things.

    • Replies: @George123
  34. George123 says:
    @Raphael

    I hereby consider my argument demolished.

  35. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @George123

    Luttwak doesn’t simply say that ancient literature vaguely “informs” modern Chinese culture or ideas. He insinuates that specific ancient texts directly and literally define contemporary Chinese policy, which isn’t the case.

    The US had regional hegemony during its economic rise. Its example is irrelevant here.

    The British had a long standing foreign policy predating Germany’s rise of opposing the strongest Continental power with an alliance of weaker Continental states. The US then inherited that basic foreign policy.

    Luttwak assumes that China’s economic growth would not invite any reaction from the US or other Asian countries. Hence the charge of bad strategy. But this isn’t true. Economic growth alone would invite a response. Japan’s economic growth in the 80s alone worried some American foreign policy specialists about potential future conflict with Japan, despite US military bases being in Japan and Japanese military spending and development being limited by the US:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Coming-War-With-Japan/dp/0312058365

    Military build up and political posturing is obviously the dominant strategy here, which is why we’re seeing it happen.

    • Replies: @George123
  36. MarkinLA says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    You are giving the US leadership too much credit if you think they will intentionally stay out of the hot zones with sizable US assets. There will always be the cry from the morons that we aren’t “standing up” to whoever. There will always be an election when some idiot will make this the cornerstone of his campaign. Haven’t we already proven how stupid we can be in the ME?

    Nobody can predict anything about how things spiral out of control. It is only afterward and if it didn’t spiral out of control do we learn the real truth about how close to the edge we really were. Idiots are always thinking they know how far they can push the other guy and then stupidly push to that level.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  37. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @MarkinLA

    Distributed Lethality today and, much earlier, Project 60, including Sea Control Ships concept, and introduction of ASMs (Tomahawk initially was conceived as ASM) and Harpoons in 1970s were all the same–understanding of inability to Project Power against serious (major) power and of limitations of carrier-centric navy. Plus something else.

  38. George123 says:
    @Anonymous

    You’re not understanding the function ancient Chinese texts play in distorting modern Chinese thinking. They provide a a strategic world view that assumes certain intentions, goals, and motivations are universal and unvarying across time, when they might only define conditions in 5th century BC China among similar states jockeying for position, when those tactics were developed.

    Just as the instruments of American foreign policy are adapted to modern conditions, it is informed by erroneous assumptions about universal human motivations derived from the European enlightenment.

    A useful thought experiment.

    Imagine Japan, in the 80’s when it seemed destined to become the worlds economic heavyweight, had embarked on a massive military build up, and began bullying its neighbors.

    What, exactly, would have happened? Do you think its very wise for China to be doing this?

    The US did not throw its weight around in Europe during its economic rise, and it in fact adopted a protective policy with regards to Latin America. Had the US done either, one could easily imagine Europe forming an alliance with Latin America to put the squeeze on the US, frustrating its rise.

    Historical analogies suggest China is riding for a fall, and the past thousand years of Chinese subjugation do not inspire optimism that China possesses the political culture needed to skillfully maneuver its way past these difficulties.

    I am not optimistic. Something tells me this won’t be the China century after all.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Panopticon
  39. Corvinus says:

    “Yes from reading tripe from idiots like you.”

    My IQ is 144, so I cannot be defined as an idiot.

    “Sure. Cooler heads will, in the end, prevail. Just as they did in 1914.”

    You’re trying to compare the situation involving European countries prior to 1914 to the situation between the United States and China? now as being similar? Now, that is idiotic.

  40. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @George123

    I’m familiar with the cultural influence of ancient literature in China. Luttwak claims that specific ancient texts directly and literally define contemporary policy in China, which isn’t the case.

    If Japan’s economic growth had continued, it would have been wise for it to build up its military, since its economic growth alone would invite a military challenge and confrontation. That’s why military build ups are the dominant strategy and why they inevitably happen.

    The US is not a part of the European region geographically. The US issued the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, long before its rise as an industrial power. It asserted that any European interference or intervention in the Western hemisphere would be regarded as aggression against the US. It was an assertion of regional hegemony by the US.

    • Replies: @George123
    , @George123
  41. @George123

    “I am not optimistic. Something tells me this won’t be the China century after all.”

    I agree with Anonymous and Raphael here. To me this is wishful thinking.

  42. George123 says:
    @Anonymous

    1) You have not addressed my point that large countries tend to assume their motivations and preoccupations are universal and be guided by this in their approach to conflict-management. Please define the precise nature of the influence ancient Chinese thought has on present day Chinese strategic thinking, if any. Luttwak states that the Chinese adapt specific tactics elucidated by Sun Tzu and others to the modern world, and that these tactics are effective only with motivations that may not be universal.

    If you deny that these texts have any influence at all, please explain why they are so widely read and studied across Asia at the highest levels, or clearly deny that this is the case. Do you accept that American foreign policy is guided by assumptions about universal human motivations derived from the Enlightenment? If yes, do you think this is a peculiarity of America or that all countries tend to have beliefs about human motivation derived from their uniquw history and culture, and that the larger and more insular the country, the more likely this is so? If yes, do you believe China is uniquely free from this human tendency, and doubly so because China is a large, insular country?

    2) Economic development determines military potential. Are you suggesting, then, that when a country raises its military potential, it invites attack by countries with a smaller military potential? Do you think smaller countries are reasonable in being apprehensive about the suddenly increased military potential of a larger country, and might need reassurance about lack of aggressive intent precisely at the moment when economic development has significantly altered the balance of military potential? Or do you think that when the balance of military potential has altered in favor of the larger country but not enough to deter a countervailing alliance of smaller states, then that is the most propitious moment to signal hostile intent by engaging in aggressive military moves?

    3) Economically and geographically, the eastern US seaboard was in the European sphere, and just as Europe interfered heavily in the Americas, the US could have decided on becoming an actor on European soil. The Monroe Doctrine was defensive, not aggressive towards Latin America. Do recent Chinese moves resemble the Monroe Doctrine or are they aggressive acts towards countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan?

    If you have the time, I would be interested in your opinions. Thank you.

  43. George123 says:
    @Anonymous

    So far, what I am getting from you, is the bland assurance that you know about the Chinese strategic thinking, and that it is not what anyone would expect based on human psychology and historical precedent, without offering any substantiating evidence, and that Luttwak, who does provide substantiation for his assertions, and whose theories are psychologically and historically compelling, is wrong.

    I think it was David Hume who said about miracles – extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

  44. Karl says:

    >> has abandoned its China policy of “containment” and moved on to Plan B: Isolation, intimidation and confrontation.

    Well, Plan B worked out quite well for the Islamic State.

    >>> Whites are a small part of the global population…and getting smaller. We can’t assume we’ll be on top forever

    So where ==are== all these white young folks, going to specialized plastic surgery clinics to have their eyes made asian-looking?

  45. ccr says:

    The author is extremely naive if he really believes Iranian ships to Yemen are just carrying humanitarian supplies.

  46. Mack0 says:
    @Corvinus

    Your post is just a long winded rambling way of saying you’re racist and anti-Semitic. This tactic has grown stale. Posturing is a meaningless gesture when it’s obvious you can’t back up your threats. Posturing just makes the United States look weaker. Like a sickly old man waving his fist and screaming, “get off my lawn” at a group of verile young men. China knows the United States is on it’s way out and are more than willing to play a long game.

  47. Corvinus says:

    “Your post is just a long winded rambling way of saying you’re racist and anti-Semitic.”

    Never been accused of being racist nor anti-Semitic. Thanks for poppin’ my cherry. And I guess your metric of “long-winded” is a mere 100 words, which is how many typed between two posts.

    “Posturing is a meaningless gesture when it’s obvious you can’t back up your threats.”

    The observable truth is that China is posturing. Our economies are intertwined. China needs a market to sell its goods. It still buys our treasury bills. The author of this piece is acting like Chicken Little. What does China have to gain by blowing up the world? Nothing.

  48. @anonymous1

    Wrong. The Ford is not finished. And the people working on it aren’t thinking world domination. They are thinking about working hard and doing a good job. Otherwise, an interesting post. Somewhat.

  49. Karl says:
    @Avery

    >> Chinese are not going to back down because it is too close to their homeland: they can’t back down.

    If Tibet had an actual army, the chinese wouldn’t even had have had the courage to open a Szechuan restaurant there.

    I ask NOT from any bad-will against the chinese, as all is fair in power politics, but: Can anyone present any evidence that the Chinese ever move forward with their plans in the face of determined resistance?

  50. Avery says:
    @Karl

    {“If Tibet had an actual army, the chinese wouldn’t even had have had the courage to open a Szechuan restaurant there.”}

    You’ve heard about the “_if_ one’s aunt had something additional, she’s be one’s uncle” ?
    Lots of things in this world would be different _if_ something was something else.

    Yes: Chinese moved forward during the Korean war in face of determined resistance.
    UN/US forces fought doggedly, but were pushed back by the Chinese.
    A bunch of back and forths ended in the DMZ separating North and South Korea.
    No need to detail the entire Korean war story here: you can look it up.

    Now let me ask you: can you site a war that US military has won against a determined opponent since WW2 ?

    • Replies: @PandaAtWar
  51. @Avery

    Now let me ask you: can you site a war that US military has won against a determined opponent since WW2 ?

    Yeah there was one.

    Have you seen “the Independence Day”?

  52. @Karl

    If Tibet had an actual army, the chinese wouldn’t even had have had the courage to open a Szechuan restaurant there.

    Knowing the Chinese too well, Panda trusts that in that case they would have opened a Tibetan restaurant as well as a by-product, betya!

    I ask NOT from any bad-will against the chinese, as all is fair in power politics, but: Can anyone present any evidence that the Chinese ever move forward with their plans in the face of determined resistance?

    You will notice plenty by just going through ANY Cantonese live stock kitchen my friend.

  53. @George123

    The Yankees play cards: bluff and counter-bluff, then bluff again and another counter-bluff… to see who blinks first.

    The Ruskies play (int’l) chess: run, deceive, then suddenly voilà, checkmate… to see who is the last man standing.

    The Chinese play wei qi: real moves, fake moves, forward, backward, left and right, then wait for , say 100 years…to see who has the most persistent power control and the largest (livable) territory.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  54. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Karl

    I don’t know much Chinese history, but I suppose the Korean War might be an example. The Chinese troops were under armed and under supplied and marched at night to move close enough to counter superior American firepower, sometimes within feet of American positions before engaging.

  55. @Mr. Anon

    I’m not supporting any position in this dispute but I think you are defining the problem away by referring to people like Bill Gates. Why not focus on senior executives of McDonell Douglas and the like?

  56. AaronB says:
    @PandaAtWar

    I fear, panda, that the Chinese are acting to satisfy themselves psychologically rather than thinking intelligently. They have lost the composure and poise they were once famous for as an old, self-confident civilization, and are acting like a nervous, immature and second rate European power of the kind once common in the nineteenth century.

    Instead of being patient, wise, biding their time, self’confident enough to disdain the small pleasures of vanity, s corning the easy satisfaction of showy self-assertion, they have opted for the dubious pleasures of self aggrandizing display.

    As a people declines, vanity and show becomes more important than substance. The Chinese tribute system, fictional and symbol, and the vanity and conceit which led to the avoidable division of China among the European powers in the nineteenth century, shows that the Chinese have preferred vanity over realism and statecraft for a long time.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  57. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @AaronB

    Continued economic growth means that some sort of conflict is likely inevitable:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/28/conflict-us-china-not-inevitable-empire

    Americans fear that China’s rapid economic growth will slowly translate into a more expansive and assertive foreign policy that will inevitably result in a war with the US. Harvard Professor Graham Allison has found: “in 12 of 16 cases in the past 500 years when a rising power challenged a ruling power, the outcome was war.” Chicago University scholar John Mearsheimer has bluntly argued: “China cannot rise peacefully.”

    Thus it makes sense to embark on a military build up.

    • Replies: @George123
  58. George123 says:
    @Anonymous

    If the Chinese were smart, they’d develop economically, build up their military in basic research, technology, and know how but not accumulate massive stockpiles (industry can rapidly convert to armaments manufacture), and be smiling and polite to everyone. Don’t go near those disputed islands, pat Japan on the back, make friends with the Philippines and Vietnam and Indonesia, and act like the best neighbor to everyone. And wait. Be patient.

    But the Chinese are only human, and will act like most fallible humans have throughout history, be led by emotion, vanity, pride, and foolishness.

    Its sad because if any people on earth had a tradition of wise patience and saw through the petty foolishness of vanity it was the Chinese, with their wonderful ancient writers, but the Chinese have turned out to be as foolish, clumsy, and prone to pride and vanity as any second rate European country of the 19th century.

    What’s more, if you look at history the Chinese might have been silly in this fashion for much longer than recent history. What is the famous Chinese tribute system, an empty fiction of Chinese superiority with no substance whatsoever, but the worlds largest, and saddest, example of petty vanity?

    And who can forget the petty conceit with which the Chinese received the Europeans in the early 19th century, a tribute to vanity which ended up costing them their independence?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Rdm
  59. MarkinLA says:
    @Karl

    I don’t think Mao was too worried about Chinese casualties. The Tibetans would never have an army big enough to stop the Chinese. They needed firepower to multiply their force strength and nobody in the west wanted to get involved since it would have to be sent over another countries airspace.

  60. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @George123

    You can’t conduct an arms race and military build up in secret. Military testing and development is monitored by the US and other countries. Furthermore, economic development is regarded by itself as a military threat.

    I’m not sure how the tribute system is relevant here. The tribute system involved formal relations among countries within a shared cultural sphere with similar, shared values. It was not about competition among adversial states.

    The Chinese rejected commercial relations that the Europeans demanded. However, they lacked the military power to enforce this rejection, and consequently the Europeans imposed commercial relations. This would suggest that military power is necessary for independence.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  61. AaronB says:
    @Anonymous

    The Chinese should be satisfied with a modest, defensive military buildup for the time being, whith limited military research.

    That this, together with continuing economic development, will still be alarming is why the Chinese should be especially careful to reassure it’s neighbors. Its doing the opposite. Too much, too soon, for reasons of vanity.

    That economic development alone invites military attack in the modern system is not a credible idea, and besides I’m not suggesting China disarm.

    The tribute system is relevant because it is an example of how motivated by vanity the Chinese can be. In many cases, the Chinese would actually give more in gifts and concessions than the tribute was worth. In effect, China was bribing states to maintain a fiction. I am sure the tributary states were more than a little amused.

    When China encountered Europeans in the early 19th century, she was once again true to form and preferred vanity, with disastrous consequences. China rejected trade with Europeans out of vanity – it would undermine their feeling of self-sufficiency. Instead of recognizing that Europeans were vastly more advanced and powerful than China whom it would be wise to offer concessions and play for time, China preferred maintaining a fantasy of vanity. China insisted, as well, on ritually humiliating Europeans, who were clearly an aggressive people much more powerful than they. Once again, fantasy, fiction, and vanity, display, show, denial, and pretense over realism.

    Like an old woman who wears more lipstick and rouge with each passing year, China has been like this for a long time.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  62. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @AaronB

    Modest is relative to GDP. A modest military buildup would still be a lot since its economy is very largeou already, and continued economic growth would mean that even very slight military spending in percentage terms would mean a very large military buildup. Which is why mere economic growth invites concern by the US and others.

    The tribute system is not really relevant because it didn’t involve adversial states competing with each other in an anarchic international system.

    Trade undermines autarkic self-sufficiency and independence by definition. China lacked the military power to maintain independence, which underscores the importance of military power. I’m not exactly sure why you would infer from this that one should abjure military power.

  63. Corvinus says:

    “If the Chinese were smart, they’d develop economically, build up their military in basic research, technology, and know how but not accumulate massive stockpiles (industry can rapidly convert to armaments manufacture), and be smiling and polite to everyone.”

    Mike, the Chinese are intelligent, they have developed a top-notch economy, and built up their military using technology. They assuredly do not need to be “polite” to you or anybody. They have every liberty to build up their armaments as they damn well please to protect their country.

    “The tribute system is relevant because it is an example of how motivated by vanity the Chinese can be.”

    Your entire argument rests on the false premise that the Chinese are vane. Do you even know what this term means? Vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities. Europeans in particular thoroughly demonstrated their vanity as they colonized the globe in their image.

    “China rejected trade with Europeans out of vanity – it would undermine their feeling of self-sufficiency.”

    
No, China rejected trade because it compromised their political sovereignty. The Europeans had carved up spheres of economic influence here and sought to impose their financial will on the Chinese government.

    “And who can forget the petty conceit with which the Chinese received the Europeans in the early 19th century, a tribute to vanity which ended up costing them their independence?”

    Are you even remotely familiar with the Boxer Rebellion (1900)? European countries had defeated China in the so called “Opium Wars” and controlled its ports. The ruling class during this time period—the Manchus—sought to maintain their power at the expense of their peoples by enabling European powers to seize internal economic control of their country. The “conceit” and “vanity” was by these rulers, not the general public itself.

    “Instead of recognizing that Europeans were vastly more advanced and powerful than China whom it would be wise to offer concessions and play for time”.

    
Anyone home? The rulers did offer concessions—their entire country as a feeding frenzied trading ground—to the Europeans in exchange to remain as the leaders of the Chinese people. These rulers, however, clearly understood who actually gained controlled the country. Europeans ran roughshod to the point that the common folk organized a rebellion that was crushed.

  64. Pshr says:
    @Anonymous

    “the rot from the inside”

    Yes, the rot is what you fondly term as the “our (western) way of life.” I don’t suppose you can do much about it, except hopefully get consumed by it.

  65. Rdm says:
    @George123

    If the Chinese were smart, they’d develop economically, build up their military in basic research, technology, and know how but not accumulate massive stockpiles (industry can rapidly convert to armaments manufacture), and be smiling and polite to everyone. Don’t go near those disputed islands, pat Japan on the back, make friends with the Philippines and Vietnam and Indonesia, and act like the best neighbor to everyone. And wait. Be patient. – Mike

    Disputed Islands
    Dokto/Takeshima island controlled by S.Korea, claimed by Japan never become a MSM. Japan submitted to resolve in International Court of Justice (ICJ) two times, and Korea completely ignored twice.

    Senkaku/Diaoyu island controlled by Japan, claimed by China become a major issue under current MSM. China issued to resolve the dispute at ICJ and Japan denied to follow suit.

    The real sequence of what happened here is
    1. Both China and Japan agreed to push the dispute behind the curtain.
    2. Japan out of sudden, under Abe, nationalized the island (private ownership by a Japanese man prior to that)
    3. China declared ADIZ overlapping the disputed island. (Don’t mix up 2nd and 3rd event. Majority of MSM feeders think China is becoming more and more aggressive)
    4. MSM made a huge deal out of China making ADIZ whereas Japan itself has its own ADIZ and China has none before.

    The sequence of events show you how China has been patient over the years until Abe made some devious moves to make some gains for Japan with the US backing while the latter is in decline path. Visiting shrines albeit harmless but symbolic gesture of “IDGAF” attitude towards Chinese and Koreans is what makes the US foreign policy makers having sleepless nights regarding East Asia policy. John Kerry urged Abe not to visit Shrine, and Abe just gave a middle finger and did the opposite.

    Japan foreign policy towards China is punching with the US rhetorics while it still can because once China eclipse Japan, 2nd place is not predetermined for Japan because Korea will tag along with China and what not? the rest of the Asia.

    Have you checked how many islands Vietnam has been hogging while China has been closing one of her eyes until MSM used a magnifying glass for one of the disputed islands lately and actively developed by China? Did you know that Philippines President Aquino failed to make an apology even after Hong Kong tourists were held hostage in Philippines and were dead shot by a maniac? Another one, Filipino patrol boats shot several rounds to Taiwanese fishing boat near the disputed island in SCS. None of those makes a big news, but China developing a huge airstrip on one of its island in SCS is *destabilizing* in SCS. This is what you get daily fed by MSM as if China is acting aggressive.

    China relationship with Malaysia and Indonesia is non issue. Vietnam is only a blip in international news. The main issue is Philippines acting “Bully” in the face of smaller nations “Taiwan”, but called for counter weight when it comes to facing a giant nation like China. The US bite the bullet, once spurned from the Subic bay, now willing to return with a big smile with their arse broken.

    But the Chinese are only human, and will act like most fallible humans have throughout history, be led by emotion, vanity, pride, and foolishness.

    This is what we’re seeing these days for Uncle Broke, isn’t it? Go by vanity but no substance. Bathing on the glory of the past.

    I’d also like to add that there are essentially two factions of Chinese people; one group that doesn’t have a luxury of time to ponder what the last century has been catering for their survival, instead they work hard to feed themselves, take whatever jobs available to them, and the only vague idea they might actually have is “China is a very old country.” That’s it.

    The other group of Chinese belong to ignoramus who think they are waiting and biting their time to shine. China century is about to come finally. Chinese are good at this and good at that. As a matter of fact, these are the groups that the CCP has been breeding in their backyards. The driving force that moves China as a nation to be the 2nd largest economy now is the former group. They don’t sunbathe in the glory of the previous millennia.

    All we have to check is the balance between these groups.

    And who can forget the petty conceit with which the Chinese received the Europeans in the early 19th century, a tribute to vanity which ended up costing them their independence?

    Do you consider Germany as an independent country as at now?

    Regarding patting neighboring countries on the back, I don’t remember the US during its ascendency patting Cuba, Venezuela, almost Latin America on their back, let alone trade embargo due to cold war.

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