South China Sea, an issue of US Commitment or Interference

Chua Chin Hon, ST’s Bureau Chief in Washington, wrote an article titled, ‘South China Sea issue a test of US Commitment’. The article can best be summed up as a western interpretation of events in South East and East Asia and the role of US to take charge as the undisputed Empire. It touched on how China was staking its claims to 80% of the South China Sea and how this would have rattled the littoral states. It took for granted the US position that 80% of the four oceans are part of their national interest without mentioning how the countries of the world would react to it. Then it pointed to the increasing Chinese military presence and drills as unacceptable developments while the huge military exercises of the American naval fleets in the East China Sea, Yellow Sea and South China Sea as how things should be. What is pertinent in the article is America’s leadership role in Asean. After Hilary Clinton’s attack on China’s position in the disputed South China Sea islands, which provoked a strong reaction from China, the Americans were quick to use this as an excuse to stake their claims to leadership in Asean and their role to lead Asean against China. As Ernest Bower of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) remarked, ‘If you rattle the cage with China like this and depart, you probably can’t be forgiven.’ And Bower added, ‘To be honest, there’s enough pressure now, particularly with the Chinese reaction, that it may require the Americans to take a leadership role (at this stage).’ This is exactly the intent of the Americans. Provoke a crisis situation and instigate the innocents to be a party to a dispute with the Americans as the undisputed leader. In Bower’s words, ‘I don’t see many Asean countries with the political courage to stand up and take the lead when the elephants are butting their heads.’ The Americans do not see the Asean countries capable of taking on the Chinese in a contentious situation when military is needed. Only they are capable of fighting a big country like China. Would the Asean states be dragged into a confrontation with China instigated by the Americans? The relationship between Asean and China has been one of diplomacy and peaceful negotiation. And Asean was and is able to take on China on an equal basis with no fear of China’s use of force. Would this stance be changed and Asean becoming another SEATO, an extended arm of the American Empire set to pitch against China in a military contest? Or would Asean be wise enough to steer clear of the American scheme of things and remain neutral and independent? The US is coveting a leadership role in Asean and this is the real issue, a test of Asean’s resilience and independence from big power domination. Has Asean been less effective over the years without carrying a mighty sword to the negotiating table and now see it necessary to have the backings of a superpower to conduct its dealings? Would Asean be goaded into a confrontation with China and turn Southeast Asia into a war torn region like the Middle East? This is what will likely to happen if the US is allowed to lead and dictate how Asean shall behave.


Anonymous said...

Redbean my fren;

You're over worried for nothing.

Other than the tiny shiny dot in SE Asia and some Authoritarian Regimes in couple of SE Asian Countries, the US can never be welcome in the coming decades. The Indonesians for one WILL NEVER LIKE OR RESPECT THE US.

On the other hand, the US will have its' hands full just to protect its' own homeland and its' citizens and interests abroad.

Let the US gives us some shows, without it, living is quite boring. Me am not alone waiting for the shows.


Wally Buffet said...

I keep telling the Chinese and the Russians to have a large scale military exercise off the coast of California or better still in the Gulf of Mexico to give the MFs a taste of what's provocation.

The question is not whether they would but when.

If someone from outside the neighbourhood brings his cats to shit in my front yard, I swear to God that I will let loose my dobermans on the A@#hole.

Hope I will be around with an upsized BK meal with my favourite Tsingtao beer to savour the spectacle of a Defcon One when the Chinese and the Ruskies decide to f@#k all.

Anonymous said...

The way the US is posturing and strutting tells me that they really and desperately need another major war, to kick start their economy, which is fast going into reverse gear, despite what they claim.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

They are in the same trap as the Japanese prior to WW2. A war is their hope of turning the table around. What's the point of having the biggest and strongest military if they can't turn them into an advantage?

The war industry will be laughing all the way to the banks.

Claudia said...

That would be really great news for me. I learn from you. Thanks for it.

preventing financial problems

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Claudia, Welcome to the blog.

If the US got to lead Asean by the nose, any conflict will not be like Vietnam when we were on the peripheral. We could be caught right in the middle of a deadly war. And we will not be able to continue with our peaceful development.

Anonymous said...

The US is well-known for creating false flags situations, so they can use the excuse to declare war. Gulf of Tonkin initiating the Vietnam War and Weapons of Mass Destruction against Iraq are 2 instances. Their Defence industries need orders to stay in business and weapons and supporting equipment kept in cold storage means there will be less orders in their books. The US desperately needs a war.