As China continues to build up a military presence on their man-made islands in the South China sea, the Obama administration has decided to move over some heavy equipment of its own. The US military will be bolstering its presence and running patrols from five US bases in the Philippines in order to block against Chinese expansionist moves.
In July, the National Interest reported on the Obama Administration’s policy towards the South China Sea:
“Beijing’s moves have prompted Washington to counter Chinese assertiveness by forging a new strategic alignment in the region—one in which China dominates the South China Sea from the north, the United States and its partners do so from the east and west, and the states of continental Southeast Asia remain neutral or lean toward Beijing in the intensifying U.S.-China strategic competition. This alignment will further U.S. goals: to continue to mount a forward defense, to keep the seas and skies free, and to promote prosperity and the spread of democracy.”
The idea that the USA is doing this for world prosperity is laughable. The USA government is there because it knows it needs to check China now before it becomes an unstoppable force and dangerous to Washington’s interest.
Looking at the map below, one gets a quick understanding of what a complicated and dangerous situation Obama’s brazenness has made it.
Whether one agrees with Beijing’s Island building campaign or not, the US military’s insertion into an east Asian dispute automatically makes the situation into one which is always one trigger away from war. The Chinese argument, whether agreed upon or not by the players in the region is that China used to control the South China Sea. Yes, its true this was centuries ago. However, the Western world has constantly been hamstrung in terms of policies in relation to countries or civilizations that have a concept of time that goes farther back than theirs.
Using the international arbitration case against China further provokes animosity. Afterall, whose world order is it? If we assume the world order and security structure post World War Two is now in free fall, what does it matter if the UN stands against China in regard to a dispute that is older than the USA itself?
The faster the Obama administration takes into consideration that the world is actually a very different place, it will pull itself back from the brink of triggering the next global conflagration.