Thursday, June 23, 2016
How do We Stop the Growing Sense of Inevitability of War with China
I have remarked on this before, but the drum beat of inevitability seems to be growing steadily, and certainly China itself isn't helping to change the situation.
Especially in the South China Sea do we see this situation getting worse. The island construction where there were no islands before appears to be an attempt at making "facts on the ground" out of creative engineering, as well as quite questionable claims of historic rights to territory, under water or not. And with the belligerency that Chinese political, and military, leadership is throwing into the mix, you really have to wonder what is going on here.
On the one hand, an objective view of things would certainly allow for China having legitimate concerns for access to oil and food coming from, or across the sea. But to suggest that they could lay claim to the entire sea as sovereign territory just challenges all credulity. So much so that one can't help but ask how, with going against the rest of the world's right to free passage in any open ocean, not to mention the reasonable claims of other nations in the region to fair access of the resources there, can it be in their realistic long term interests to pursue this kind of action? How does anybody there, or in the rest of the world, win if hostilities do in fact break out?
One has to wonder if this might be actions of a leadership far more desperate to maintain legitimacy, in the face of truly troubling economic developments, than anyone has heretofore considered possible. If that were the case, then the question becomes one of how do we engage their leadership, within a face saving context, so as to aid both the economic difficulties, but also to address their concerns for resource access; finding a way to work a long term compromise that gives all players in the region meaningful assurances that such access will remain in place.
Are there cooler heads at work at all here? Are we to give up so easily on diplomacy to solve mutual concerns? Or does this play far to easily into our own confused priorities when it comes to justifying ongoing arms budgets? On can only hope that this is not so.
Beijing Is Setting the Stage for War in the South China Sea
How China Is Building the Biggest Commercial-Military Empire in History