FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

South China Sea Trifecta

For a guy who’s sick of the whole South China Sea imbroglio, I sure write about it a lot.

I have a piece up at The Asia-Pacific Journal/Japan Focus: China Not Leaving the “South China Sea”.  It updates the PRC strategic move to an island based posture in anticipation of an unfavorable ruling on the UNCLOS arbitration.

And a piece at China Matters, America’s South China Sea Fail, which addresses the shortcomings of the US pushing the territorial sea/anti Nine Dash Line gambit in the SCS.  I regard the US SCS policy as ill-conceived and ineffective, therefore eliciting a lot of lip service and a lot less genuine buy in from countries in the region.  In this context, I take a look at Kurt Campbell’s patty-cake with David Ignatius as an effort to logroll an also less-than-enthusiastic President Obama to escalate a Clinton-legacy/Pentagon-adored SCS policy that otherwise is boldly going nowhere.

And a piece at Asia Times on what I find to be an interesting “dog that did bark” (to mangle Sherlock Holmes): the spasm of panic that the UNCLOS ruling will not come down soon enough to box in the various candidates in the Philippines presidential election in early May.  It’s exclusive at Asia Times, titled  Philippine Election Question Marks Sow Panic in the South China Sea.  The specter of the PRC reclaiming the Scarborough Shoal is being evoked, possibly to stampede the arbitration commission into issuing a ruling Before It’s Too Late.

Certainly, if the PRC successfully occupies Scarborough Shoal as a territorial feature beyond the reach of UNCLOS, some people in the Philippines would question the value and wisdom of the UNCLOS route even more than they’re doing now.  And it would be a move that would demand a US escalated response, both to display US might and resolve to the PRC and to persuade the Philippines they have not signed on for a policy that is not only ill-conceived, but doing immediate and concrete damage to Philippine interests.

United States strategists never concerned themselves overmuch with flaws in the South China Sea endgame or possible shortfalls in local support, in my opinion.  Discord with the PRC of any kind was productive, since it would polarize the region and push China’s neighbors into closer relations with the United States.  And the casual assumption concerning US influence in Asia is that the military relationships and the pro-American milsec forces they foster have enough clout to shoulder aside the China doves.

However, as the choices become harder, the options less palatable, and the flaws in the U.S. approach become more evident, more active and cruder measures will have to be implemented in order to gut local opposition to lining up with the United States against the PRC.

I think that overt local China-hawk political campaigning in tag-team with the Pentagon is becoming a fact of life in the Philippines and Australia.  And I think more extreme efforts to invoke a sense of regional crisis to force local governments off the fence and sign on for things like joint FON patrols, open statements against the PRC in SCS etc. will become the key destabilizing issue in the SCS in the upcoming period.

More articles by:

Peter Lee edits China Matters and writes about Asia for CounterPunch.  

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail