I was reading an article by Michael Auslin in the Today paper on the cut of US military budget and how it will impact the security of Asian countries. It portrayed a concern that there will be more wars in
Asia if the American military presence is reduced. The author did not question that since the end of WW2, who was responsible for all the wars in Asia? Did anyone tell him it was the Americans that started all the wars? So, if America was the fire starter, would there be more wars or lesser wars with their reduced presence? They are still fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan and instigating the two Koreans to fight another war with their intimidating military exercises in the Korean seas. They are also trying their luck for a war between China and Taiwan.
The author took the standard western view that everyone’s interests will be threatened with the rise China and its growing military power. It rightly said that ‘Beijing is trying to shape a favourable balance of power in the region by preventing smaller nations from allying with each other or creating effective partnerships with larger powers like the US.’ What the writer conveniently ignored is the unfavourable balance of power against China in its own economic zone, that China was bullied, humiliated, and robbed of it territories by foreign powers because of its weakness in military power. What the writer did not say is that the US and the smaller countries have been encroaching into China’s territorial and economic rights in the surrounding seas. What he did not say were the numerous incidents of intimidation by the US and the smaller powers against China, including Japan, the Phillipines, Vietnam and now India.
What is so wrong about a strong China having a balance of power in its favour? What is so right about a balance of power in favour of the US?
Freedom of passage of the seas has never been compromised. The writer claimed a few incidents of China harassing other military ships but would not say how often the Chinese fishing boats were harassed and arrested by the smaller countries with the backing of the US.
Now that China is strong, it shall not continue to take bitter medicine from the US and the smaller littoral states. It is only natural and right for it to reclaim its territories that were robbed from her by gunpoint. And should these be the flashpoints for future wars, is it the fault of China or the fault of aggressors violating China’s territorial integrity and occupying Chinese land?
Should China remain docile and allow the US to dominate over her, dictate terms on her by bullying tactics, and allow the smaller countries to claim its land?
What is the source of Asian anxiety? The unfavourable balance that saw China being cowed, being bullied, with its islands being claimed by smaller countries giving way, and with China staking its rightful claims for their return? The wrongs of the last century against China would have to be righted, the excesses against China, the lands and islands taken away from her would have to be returned. Those countries that seized China’s land would have to act honourably to return what they took from China. Otherwise the tension and anxiety will be there. No country would allow their territories to be taken away from them at gunpoint.
Would Japan, Russia, India return their occupied land to China, and would the small Asean states stop their wild and baseless claims on Chinese islands and remove their own anxieties?
This is what the writer also said, ‘Not unlike Europe in the late 19th century, nations large and small are seeking to enmesh themselves in webs of protective relationships that in turn feed the insecurity of others. The result is the worsening of the risk cycle…’ Who is trying to enmesh the smaller countries in Asia with protective relationships and feeding on the insecurity of others all these years?