In his article in the ST on 27 Sep titled ‘Choosing between America and China’, this Australian academic could not resist wearing his pink lenses and all his western biases to discuss the China American relations in Asia. ‘None of us in these countries want to live under China’s shadow….At the same time, all of us want America to stay engaged in Asia, to help balance China’s power and set limits on how far its regional leadership develops….’ Who were these ‘none of us’ and ‘all of us’? Australia and Singapore, or do they include Laos, Cambodia and other neutral states? Hey mate, Asia is not only Australia and Singapore and American allies. Now the Philippines is not going be counted in your ‘none of us and all of us’, get it? The ‘us’ must be the Little USAs right?
Now what is your problem, what is Australia and America’s problem, an assertive and expanding China upsetting the balance of power in Asia? What is the picture, what kind of balance of power? China expansionist, assertive and has no right to want to have a bigger breathing space and room to play with? Look at the chess board, China is occupying only two squares in a corner. The rest of the squares are occupied by the Americans. This is the status quo that the American and the Australians and the ‘us’ would want to preserve as the status quo. And this was what he said in the rest of the article. China must be contained in the same two squares, by persuasion, coercion or war.
Now, who is pushing who into a corner? The American Empire is very comfortable to constrain China in a corner, with two squares and the Empire controlling the whole chess board. So, is China pushing outwards against the squeeze put up by the Empire, trying to break free, or being assertive and trying to eat into the space of the Empire?
He then dwelt with the reality of accepting China as an equal partner to the US, that the rise of China is inevitable. How could the relationship be equal if the Americans insist on sitting on 62 squares and demanding China, as an equal, to sit in the corner with 2 squares?
Hugh White could not see this inequality, inequity, that the Americans have been occupying too many squares in the chess board and it is time to relinquish some space to an equal partner. How about each power sitting on 32 squares? Is it too much for China to want to sit on half of the squares in the chess board? Why is China called aggressive and expansionist and ambitious, when it has only 2 squares and wanting a few more squares to breathe easier while the Americans refused to vacate a few of the squares?
What kind of balance of power is Hugh White talking about? What kind of equal partnership is he advocating for China to accept? What was clear in his article is this, the fear that ‘America might start slowly but surely, to withdraw from Asia’. What kind of foundation for a regional order would he think would be acceptable to both China and the US? A chess board where the Americans continue to sit on 62 squares and China to sit in 2 in a relationship among equals and with the Americans pointing a gun at China not to move?
To the western narrative, China’s OBOR, AIIB are all expansionist and belligerent in nature, a country that is planning to conduct wars, to conquer other nations. On the other hand, all the wars conducted by the Americans and western countries all over the world are for peace. Signing up military alliances and conducting war games are for peace, friendly gestures to the countries targeted, even when conducted outside their doorsteps.
Finally there is an Asian leader, brave enough and clear thinking to admit the truth, that conducting war games are aggressive in nature and would raise tension in the region. Duterte is going to end all military war games with the Americans. No provocative joint patrols in the South China Sea. I said he is brave for his life is at stake for going against the ‘peaceful’ Empire. He would be removed by the Empire, dead or alive. His Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay is negating almost everything he said to appease the Americans. Yasay could be a hot favourite of the Americans to be engineered to take over from the fall of Duterte. Duterte must watch his back and his every move. Defying the Empire is very risky thing to do. It is better to be Little USAs to be safe and be in the good books of the Empire.