Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Of threats and might.

Recently, there has been rush of OpEds that deal with the topic of US and Chinese military and diplomatic dynamics in the pacific. Some are good (FT, US Naval College Review, Arms Control Wonk) others are bad (Time, Newsweek, CSM) and the rest are just plain ugly (Foreign Policy and WaPo). While the OpEds dance across the political spectrum, they seem to share a common theme – the Pacific has been reduced to two actors. Some argue that the US and China should increase cooperation, while others take a more confrontational view citing efforts to line up allies for a show down. One thing is certain, no nation in the pacific is willing to go to war [at this juncture] for someone else because they share a common ideology, market, or culture, and soft-power influence. Lip-service notwithstanding.

By reducing the dynamics of the pacific to two actors, it forces the issue of PLAN modernization into the open. However, the unintended consequence is that it downplays other stronger regional players such as the Japanese, Korean and Australian navies. Then again, readers prefer their burgers juicy and their debate black-and-white; it makes for simpler reads.

One more item this blogger would like to add -- using the display of military might to change others behavior is wishful thinking at best. For example, North Korea will not change its world view just because the USS Washington is parked in the Yellow Sea. The same goes with the Chinese. To quote a recent OpEd from the Huanqiu, an official PRC propaganda mouthpiece:

Huanqiu: the Optimal Strategy of the Chinese Aircraft Carrier
Written by TGS/HEM

“Aircraft carriers cannot help solve the maritime security problems for China. A dozen of them would not do, let alone the rumored five or six. “

“We must be clear that it is unrealistic over a very long period of time to bring about the turning point of ‘China strong, U.S weak’ in the Pacific by building aircraft carriers. It is equally unrealistic to bring about a pro-China Asia by intimidating neighbors through a growing military force.”

Source: Huanqiu, July 30, 2010

1 comment:

Tor Hershman said...

We'ins gotz some blue-willow china and MammyMater 'tis MOST defensive about it.