Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WAKE UP DC - THE ASIAN CENTURY IS HERE, Part 2

Click here for Part 1


THE CRITICAL QUESTION - How will China manage its "Great Leap Outward"?
Is China approaching its 1898 point in history? Given its vastly different political and cultural make up to the US, how might China manage its transformation to a global power? Will it be a benign hegemon or will the nationalist passions aroused by a century of 'humiliation' by the West (here I include 1930s Japan) and its sense of exceptionalism (Middle Kingdom narrative) drive it to assert itself in ways that will prove counter productive to world order?


Will China take Theodore Roosevelt's advice to make a new and glorious chapter in its history by throwing away the shackles of isolationism and "dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs"?  
China [in ca. 1900] has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained itself to a career of unwarlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities. If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world.
What if the Chinese have come to the same conclusion in 2011?  A number of analysts consider the intersection of China's tremendous wealth, rapidly growing military capacity, rapacious demand for energy and raw materials, and a new nationalism, will coalesce in a new competition in the South China Sea. In a nod to 1898, Robert Kaplan has called the SCS China's Caribbean.


Having discussed a number of broad trends relating to China's rise in part 1 of this story, it is worth narrowing the discussion to strategic considerations. 


SOUTH CHINA SEA
When Senior Col. Geng Yansheng, a Ministry of Defense spokesman, told reporters "China has indisputable sovereignty of the South Sea, and China has sufficient historical and legal backing" to support its claims, this junior official no doubt had Ming Dynasty Admiral 'Zheng He' in mind. The map above shows the contested waters that are claimed by multiple countries in SE Asia and includes oil and gas platform concentrations. 

Senior Col. Geng Yansheng's statement is not an isolated case of a junior officer 'mis-speaking' in the Orwellian political lexicon, so popular these days. The Jamestown Foundation recently reported that Rear Admiral Zhang Huachen, deputy commander of the PLAN's East Sea Fleet explained that the role of the PLA Navy is changing from a near to “far sea defense” strategy:
“With the expansion of the country’s economic interests, the navy wants to protect the country’s transportation routes and the safety of our major sea lanes” (New York Times, April 23).
On Sept 20, 2011, it was reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Spokesman Hong Lei said
Any country engaged in oil and gas exploration activities in this jurisdiction [SC Sea] without the approval of the Chinese government is infringing upon China's sovereignty and national interest, and its actions are therefore illegal and invalid.
China was reported by the Post as having "warned Exxon Mobil and BP to stop explorations in offshore areas near Vietnam". 

On March 24, 2011 a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said at a news conference that China held “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands.

In March 2010, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai told two senior U.S. officials that "China now views its claims to the 1.3 million-square-mile sea on par with its claims to Tibet and Taiwan", an island that China says belongs to Beijing.

The Chinese media, often a source of colorful statements, has made even more forceful claims
China has always made itself loud and clear that it has indisputable sovereignty over the sea's islands and surrounding waters, which is part of China's core interests. That is based on unambiguous and undeniable historical facts.
The Diplomat has an account of the latest outburst 
Southeast Asian nations are like ‘mosquitos’ that need to be taught a lesson, according to the Global Times, which is published by the official Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily.
In Sept 2010, in a symbolic move China planted a flag deep in the SC Sea.

In an article published in 2010 on “the boundaries of national interests,” PLA Daily commentator Huang Kunlun noted that
 China’s national interests had gone beyond its land, sea and air territories to include areas such as the vast oceans traversed by Chinese oil freighters—as well as outer space. “Wherever our national interests have extended, so will the mission of our armed forces,” Huang wrote. “Given our new historical mission, the forces have to not only safeguard the country’s ‘territorial boundaries’ but also its ‘boundaries of national interests’.” “We need to safeguard not only national-security interests but also interests relating to [future] national development,” he added (PLA Daily, April 1, 2009; Ming Pao [Hong Kong], April 2, 2009). Caveats given by NDU’s Ha—and particularly CICIR’s Da—reflect fears on the part of moderate opinion-makers that theories such as Huang’s will stoke the flames of the “China threat” theory—and deal a blow to the country’s relations with its neighbors.
Secretary of State Clinton was quoted in the Australian newspaper as saying that the Chinese had claimed the SCS as a core interest
Chinese statements signally a more robust view of their interests have prompted Washington to take note. Secretary Clinton told the 2010 ASEAN meeting participants that the United States had
"a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea" and expressed support for a "collaborative diplomatic process." She said in prepared remarks for the forum "We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant". See her full remarks here. 
According to Post story that detailed an insiders account of the ASEAN meeting, the following took place after Secretary Clinton's statement:
Foreign Minister Yang reacted by leaving the meeting for an hour. When he returned, he gave a rambling 30-minute response in which he accused the United States of plotting against China on this issue, seemed to poke fun at Vietnam's socialist credentials and apparently threatened Singapore, according to U.S. and Asian officials in the room. "China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just a fact," he said, staring directly at Singapore's foreign minister, George Yeo, according to several participants at the meeting.
In response to Secretary Clinton's statement, after the meeting China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi issued an unusual press release berating Secretary Clinton's comments as "an attack on China".


ONE COUNTRY - MANY VOICES
China is not a monolith. There are different points of view inside the country concerning China's place in the world and how it will conduct its international relations. News reporting and comments by visiting official suggest that there are two key schools of thought in Beijing - with the PLA leadership on one side and the civilian leaders on the other. Within the civilian leadership there also appears to be a growing divide between political cadres and those responsible for running state enterprises. Reading the power plays in Beijing is reminiscent of the Kremlinology of the cold war intelligence services.


"For me, it is surprising that I'm seeing a general from the People's Liberation Army making a public statement regarding foreign policy, but this is China today," said Wu Jianmin, a former ambassador who helps run a think tank and advises China's leadership on foreign policy.
"This is not something the military should do," said Chu Shulong, professor of international relations at Tsinghua University. "These people don't represent the government, but it creates international repercussions when they speak out." The Post reported in Sept 2010

When the Chinese refused to invite then Defense Secretary Robert Gates to meet with officials as punishment for US arms sales to Taiwan, Gates commented that "The PLA is significantly less interested in this relationship than the political leadership of China".

James Mulvenon, director of Defense Group Inc.'s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, called US enhancement of its relations with Australia, ROK, Japan and Singapore "a masterful piece of diplomacy" in dealing with China, which, he said, "continues to be this paradoxical combination of bluster, swagger and intense insecurity and caution." 


The Commander of US Forces in the Pacific has observed
And to the extent that there are two Chinas that we're viewing, the People's Liberation Army on one side and the very sophisticated civilian side among their ministries, then it should be a concern, I believe, inside China, but also a concern for the region and for the United States with regard to that apparatus and how effective it will be, given the growth in military capability and capacity that we have witnessed over these past years.
 The Post has followed the story of competing power bases in Beijing.
A new generation of officials in the military, key government ministries and state-owned companies has begun to define how China deals with the rest of the world. Emboldened by China's economic expansion, these officials are taking advantage of a weakened leadership at the top of the Communist Party to assert their interests in ways that would have been impossible even a decade ago.
State run enterprises like CNOOC sometimes ignore government policies in their quest to do business. For example CNOOC has continued to seek business with Iran despite the government supporting the  UN sanctions regime targeted at Iran's nuclear program.
"We have never had this situation before," said Huang Ping, the director of the Institute for American Studies at China's Academy of Social Sciences. "And it is troubling. We need more coordination among all agencies, including the military.
The apparent 'divisions' in authority and official opinion are very useful to China in a number of ways. They allow different boundaries to be pushed in order to test acceptable standards of international behavior, and in sensitive cases, the will of the international community. Sending out a spokesman like Senior Col. Geng Yansheng to claim sovereignty over the SCS, can easily be walked back as an errant junior official 'mis-speaking' if the claims are tested. Then a more senior official will issue a statement stating how China is dedicated to peace and dialogue, thereby soothing relations until the next occasion where a junior official throws out a new unacceptable claim. This is exactly what happened at the 2011 Shangri-La Dialogue where for the first time the Chinese sent their Minister of Defense, General Liang, to sooth over the discord created by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at ASEAN in 2010.  Fareed Zakaria has an excellent short video summary of the significance of the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Orchestrated manipulation of strategic messages or genuine differences of opinion in China? The mere doubt provides a very useful avenue for certain actors to pursue an agenda that is inimical to good order. But one thing that cannot be hidden from view is action.  The Chinese have engaged in a series of irresponsible and pushy activities that, like their strategic communications (stratcom), have sought to test the limits of acceptable behavior and not so subtly threaten the weaker states on their periphery. After all, "China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just a fact" (Foreign Minister Yang).

While their neighbors might make nice in international fora, they are not buying Chinese stratcoms for a second:
The fact that all of these counties (and still others in SE Asia) are getting into, or significantly enhancing, submarine programs is a damning indictment of their belief in China's Peaceful Rise rhetoric. They have not forgotten 1996 when China sent a flotilla off Taiwan and launched fusillades of missiles in a crass display of raw military power. A new generation of Chinese leaders might be coming who are more adept at foreign policy, but recent Chinese behavior suggests that might still be a long way off.

RARE EARTH MINIERALS
In early September 2010, Japan's coast guard detained the captain of a Chinese fishing trawler, accusing him of ramming a Japanese coast guard vessel. In response, China was reported as threatening supply of rare earth minerals. This is significant because the PRC is reported to posses 97% of the global supply. (Rare earth explained in short BBC video). Naturally, and according to the pattern of Chinese stratcom, the accused denied all the accusations made against them. The WSJ has an excellent summary of the issues here

This was a major misjudgement on the part of China in a number of ways. First, it was a gross over-reaction to a trivial incident. Second, it drew global attention to their unique holdings of rare earths and thus spurred other counties to initiate efforts to diversify their supplies. And thanks to China misplaying its hand, there is ample time to diversity supply. Third, the Chinese over-reaction tipped their hand on their likely future actions over minor perceived (or manufactured) insults. If they would overreact to a fishing vessel incident what might they do if something really seriously happened?

MILITARY INCIDENTS
There have been a series of incidents, some well known, and other less so, where Chinese and US and allied military platforms have come into contact around the region. Some, like the April 1, 2001 collision between a U.S. Navy EP-3 and a PLAN J-8 in the South China Sea, were quite serious incidents that raised tensions between the two sides. Others, like the July 2011, U2 intercept over the Taiwan Strait, are more routine. In that case, 2 Taiwanese F-16 intercepted 2 Chinese Su-27s that had crossed over the Strait center-line. The Chinese regularly send up fighters but they generally do not cross the line.

In March 2009 the USNS IMPECCABLE, a survey ship manned by civilians, was surrounded by five Chinese merchantmen and harassed in international waters.  As the BBC reported there were a number of close calls that week involving Chinese ships and aircraft (some military) all in international waters. In 2007, the Chinese changed their mind at the last minute and cancelled a planned Hong Kong Port Visit of the USS KITTY HAWK due to stop for Thanksgiving. This was followed by a second incident involving the same Strike Group on their way back to Japan from HK. 
The year before, it was reported that
A Chinese submarine stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group [KITTY HAWK] in the Pacific last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected.
The SONG class submarine surfaced within 5 miles of the carrier. This is certainly not a comprehensive database of all the events that have taken place in the past decade or so but they provide the reader with a useful idea of the kind of cat and mouse games that are taking place in the region. Military forces test one another in this way, but the opportunity for escalation and crisis are ever present. As all of these events have taken place in international waters and air space, China's provocative stance is telling and, unlike its stratcom, can not be walked back. China does not just take on the US military as it lawfully transits sea lanes, it has a long history of assertive if not irresponsible behavior in the SCS.

SCS INCIDENTS
Despite the fact that the US Dept of Energy's respected research centers have been skeptical of the extent of oil and gas reserves in the SCS since the 1990s, the region remains hotly contested in part because "China’s oil reserves have shrunk almost 40 percent since 2001 as the economy expanded 10.5 percent a year on average", according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The same report notes that the World Bank has assessed Vietnam's demand for gas will triple and the Philippines will grow by 40% by 2025. In 1988, Vietnam and China engaged in a skirmish that resulted in several ships being sunk and around 40 deaths. There have been a series of incidents ever since.

So just what is at stake?
Richard Cronin of the Stimson Center has provided a summary of recent PRC activities in the SCS. Andrew Higgins wrote major in-depth study on recent Sino-Philippine relations for the Post. Its worth reading in detail but this particular passage caught MIL INT's eye:
Some politicians... even want the United States to reestablish military bases in the Philippines — 20 years after Manila, in a burst of nationalist ardor at a time when few here paid much attention to China, booted out the U.S. Navy and Air Force.“We need the U.S. to come back. The U.S. needs to come back, too,” said James “Bong” Gordon Jr. , the mayor of Olongapo, the town adjoining Subic Bay, which until 2001 housed a sprawling U.S. naval base. Lt. Gen.Sabban and Mitra, Palawan’s governor, scoff at the idea of the United States setting up again in Subic Bay but say it should take a look at Palawan, much closer to possible flash points in the Spratlys.

US RELATIONS IN SE ASIA
China has pushed regional counties so far that their hedging strategies might go in surprising directions. The Philippines is not the only country in SE Asia that is re-emphasizing its US relationship. Vietnam has substantially enhanced its engagement with the US.
Sino-Vietnamese tensions over the South China Sea flared most recently in May and June 2011. According to Vietnamese authorities, Chinese fishing vessels—in the presence of Chinese naval ships—twice severed cables being used by Vietnamese boats exploring for energy deposits in waters claimed by both countries. The disputes were heightened by over a month of anti-Chinese protests inside Vietnam and by a simultaneous flare-up in tensions between the Philippines and China over their own competing maritime claims.
According to Mark E. Manyin, "U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy", CRS.

The US and Australia just marked the 60th Anniversary of the ANZUS Alliance by agreeing to the first major enhancement of the relationship in recent memory. In addition to an agreement on cyber issues, the US will significantly enhance its use of Australian military facilities. While permanent bases would not have been political viable, the US military will become much more strongly engaged in joint activities in the near future. President Obama is scheduled to visit in November and it is likely that further announcements will be forthcoming at that time. The Sydney Morning Herald captured this interesting quote concerning the reasons for enhancing the relationship:

This is exactly the outcome Hugh White argued against just last year. White, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Intelligence and an former adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, articulated a case for Australia to attempt to convince the US "to relinquish primacy and share power with China and the other major powers in a Concert of Asia". Hardly a realistic proposition and one likely to terrify the countries of SE Asia.


His argument is that Australia had an "easy ride" to date because the "alliance costs us little". Now that conflict has more of a chance of occurring (in his estimation), White wants Australia to quit while it is ahead. Australia can still get out of its commitment because it has "no US forces based here". However, if Australia "remained a close American ally while the US was perennially at risk of war with China. The more intense that risk became, the more the US would demand of us, and if we cast our lot in with them, there would be no option but to comply." White thinks Australia should abandon the alliance as it currently stands because 
the costs [of getting involved in a Sino-US conflict] would be enormous. In an intensifying conflict, our trade relationship with China would, of course, collapse, and relations elsewhere in Asia would become more complex. We would need to do more to support the US militarily, building bigger armed forces, hosting US bases and, if war came, sending big contingents of our armed forces to fight.
He concludes
That makes it clear that the best outcome for Australia would be for the US to relinquish primacy and share power with China and the other major powers in a Concert of Asia. Australia should start talking to its neighbors, including Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, India and even Japan, to encourage them to see the future our way and lend their weight to our diplomacy in Washington.
Of course alliances are not just for the good times. It is alarming that a former head of strategy and intelligence of a major ally would be so willing to give up on the United States at the first hint of possible future burden-sharing. No doubt Beijing was delighted with Hugh Whites analysis. White's position certainly runs counter to all the other countries in SE Asia and has been effectively answered by his government's deepening of its strategic alliance with Washington. This is an excellent example of the corrosive effect China's extraordinary financial reach, combined with its threatening posture, is already having on key allies in Asia. Thankfully, the Australian government, and through it the Australian people, has more mettle than the Joseph Kennedy Snr of Australian strategic thinkers.


INDIA
China has been busy beyond the Pacific. In particular, its has cultivated a series of relationships in the Indian Ocean in a bid to counter the rise of the other great Asian titan - India. The Jamestown Foundation reports that China has been developing a range of military relationships including building naval infrastructure in Burma as elsewhere


which reportedly includes berthing facilities and shipbuilding yards at a number of places along the Burmese coast and wharfs on islands such as the Coco Island (Indoburmanews.net, April 23, 2009). Indian analysts believe that these could be made available to the PLA Navy when it is deployed in the Bay of Bengal/Indian Ocean [2]. More significantly, China has also established in Burma SIGINT (signal intelligence) and ELINT (electronic intelligence) monitoring stations at Hianggyi, Kyaukpyu, Zadetkyi, Mergui, and Great Coco Island (Southasiantribune.com, June 29), and the latter is likely meant to monitor Indian naval activity in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are home to a variety of India's strategic assets, such as missile sites, airfields, military establishments and monitoring stations. Perhaps what is significant is that these facilities can also monitor missile launches from Chandipur-at-sea along the Orissa coast in the Bay of Bengal, the test site for Indian missile programs.

Time has reported on similar Chinese moves in Sri Lanka and Pakistan
A massive deep-sea port being built by Chinese funds and labor at Hambantota, at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, has in particular riled Indian analysts. With a $1 billion facility also under construction in Gwadar, in Pakistan, China will eventually possess key naval choke points around the subcontinent that could disrupt Indian lines of communication and shipping.
China is trading heavily with Burma in the energy sector as well according to Jamestown Foundation reporting.
Among these projects, the pipeline is of critical importance to China for overcoming the vulnerability of the energy supply chains that run across the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca. This 2,800 kilometers long network of two pipelines, one each for gas and oil, is being built at a cost of $2.54 billion, of which China’s CNPC oil firm has a 50.9 percent stake and the Burmese government has 49.1 percent (Defenseindustrydaily.com, June 30). The oil pipeline will terminate at Kunming in Yunnan province, while the gas line will run to Guizhou and Guangxi (China Daily, July 3). Burma has huge oil and gas reserves estimated at 700 million barrels of oil and 444.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas (China.org.cn, February 8).
India, the world's largest democracy, with a significant appetite for energy (though not near the scale of China), has started to respond to Chinese moves in the Indian ocean by enhancing its diplomacy in SE Asia and boosting its defense spending by a whopping 40% just in the past 12 months. 
India’s defence budget for the current year is Rs. 1.5 trillion ($32.5 billion), a 40 per cent increase over the 2009-2010 budget.
The Indian Foreign Minister was in Vietnam in September 2011 to negotiate "oil exploration deals in parts of the SCS". This elicited a warning from the Chinese that India and Vietnam were "infringing upon China's sovereignty and national interest, and its actions are therefore illegal and invalid". Indian commentators have urged restraint when dealing in the SCS for fear of provoking the Chinese elsewhere in the Sino-Indian relationship.

Given how much attention other analysts have provided to the military balance and questions concerning changes in the regional orders of battle, MIL INT has instead focused on the interests at stake. However, its is worth noting that India currently operates an old British carrier and like the Chinese is retrofitting a former soviet carrier for service. India already possesses a significant navy and enhancements to its carrier and fleet air arm's will provide it with a regionally significant power projection capability. 

As MIL INT has pointed out elsewhere, due to its history, democracy, values, language, and orientation in the region, India is a natural fit with the US. Both sides need to move beyond the suspicion of the Cold War. India bought Soviet weapons, but that was because they were cheap, not because the Indians were closet communists. America's consequent embrace of Pakistan has always been problematic from Zia's time onwards. Since 911, "problematic" does not come anywhere near defining the US-Pakistan relationship. Its time to just come out and say it: Pakistan has played America, pure and simple.

For decades, China has cultivated Pakistan as a counter to India. America never saw the opportunity to counter China through India. MIL INT can only wonder how American cosying up to Pakistan acted as a conduit for the PRC to gain all kinds of small but vital INT tidbits over the years (not to mention stealth technology from access to parts of the aircraft used in the bin laden raid).

Beyond realpolitik considerations, the US-Indian relationship has a much stronger, natural, base than US-Pakistan. There could be trouble ahead in the China-Pakistan relationship - as the threat of violent Islamism moves into the western flank of Xinjiang province. Compared with its fears of India, the threat against national stability emanating from Pakistan against Xinjiang may make the cadre in Beijing rethink their special relationship with the crazy element in Islamabad. MIL INT thinks however that it is already too late and that as a consequence the PRC is likely to rethink and reposition its relationship with Pakistan.

CHINA AND THE US - A TALE OF TWO GROWING POWERS

In 1776 and 1949, both countries were isolationist and inward looking. See George Washington's Farewell Address and China's foreign policy dictum of non-interference in internal affairs. Despite the ravages of the US Civil War, the industrial revolution took advantage of a phenomenal agricultural base (established by the Louisiana Purchase and westward expansion) and a vast natural resource base (including mass migration) combined with a sufficiently good infrastructure, to grow from a strong farming state to a major industrial power in a span of just a few decades. The very creation of America was a rejection of European empire, so the Spanish American War and the consequent acquisition of the Philippines and a part of Cuba was perplexing to the new power, in some quarters arousing a fierce nationalism ("When men fear righteous war they tremble on the brink of doom" Teddy Roosevelt) that ran counter to the Founding fathers vision of a weak executive power, peacefully trading with the world. With war came responsibility. By 1917 the US was the indispensable global power, a position that would intensify post 1945 when the last vestiges of isolationism fell completely away. While imperfect, the history of US engagement with the world has been one of powerful attraction of soft power and the use of hard power for good. Even America's greatest critics can't deny that given the choice of surrendering to the US or Russia, both Germany and Japan (who had been twice nuked by the US), chose America, and for good reason.

Will China take Theodore Roosevelt's advice to make a new and glorious chapter in its history by throwing away the shackles of isolationism and "dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs"?

Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. We cannot, if we would, play the part of China, and be content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what goes on beyond them, sunk in a scrambling commercialism; heedless of the higher life, the life of aspiration, of toil and risk, busying ourselves only with the wants of our bodies for the day, until suddenly we should find, beyond a shadow of question, what China has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained itself to a career of unwarlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities. If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world. We cannot avoid meeting great issues.
For the graphically inclined here is a grossly oversimplified trajectory of what might become of China's rise. While American isolationism did not really end until 1941, the trendline started running in 1898. What might be China's 1898 moment?

© MILINT graphics dept


SUMMARY

Indicators seem to suggest that major powers like India and China, as well as middle powers like Australia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are all increasing their focus and attention on the SCS. China in particular seems to be preparing for a much more assertive future in the region. The rise of China may not be so peaceful after all and even if that is an exaggeration, given its confused (at best) or manipulative (at worst) messaging, China has ensured that all of these other players will hedge against the worst. 



All of this could become moot if the many and pressing internal problems in China come to a head or if something akin to the Asian Financial Crisis takes the slowly building air out of growing tensions and military capabilities in the region. One thing is for sure, the US has to turn its attention to the myriad problems and developing strategic picture in Asia. The problems represented by AQ are real and serious but they are best managed by the evolution of moderate views in the Muslim world over which the US cannot have direct influence (but much soft power indirect influence, as evinced by the Arab Spring).  Asia is another matter. Due to geography and the kinds of issues at stake, America is much better positioned to make a vital and strong contribution to regional stability, as it has been doing for decades. 

The economic position of the US and consequent military capacity to continue to ensure peace in the global commons is a vital issue of national security. Not just for the US but especially for its allies in Asia. MIL INT is concerned about China's future ability to do to the US what the US did to its close European allies during the Suez Crisis in 56, a thesis explored in Subramanian, Arvind. "The Inevitable Superpower." Foreign Affairs 90, no. 5 (Sep): 66-78, and well worth future consideration. Dollar diplomacy may turn out to be more vital to future Asian security than gunboats, or at least might remove any need to use force. Sun Tzu cautions it is better to win without fighting. Hugh White was prepared to surrender Australia long before tensions arise. Therefore in order to maintain security in Asia the US must get its economic house in order as its number one national security priority. 

Part 1 (Why Asia Should be #1 US Concern)

No comments:

Post a Comment