Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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 “Is America About to Make a Fatal Mistake in the South China Sea?”
 by Ted G. Carpenter (TC)

May 18, 2015
An already tense and dangerous situation in the South China Sea threatens to become even worse. The latest development focuses on reports that the United States is considering plans to initiate systematic military patrols with ships and planes in that volatile area. Without even waiting for confirmation that the reports are accurate, Beijing expressed its great displeasure regarding such a step.
If this actually comes to pass, Washington is about to deepen its involvement in a bitter, multi-sided territorial dispute. The underlying issues are murky and complex. Based on dubious interpretations of both history and international law, China claims an oceanic boundary that would convert some 80 percent of the South China Sea—and the small islands dotting itf—from international waters into Chinese territorial waters. Beijing has begun to enforce its claims with air and naval patrols and major reclamation projects to build serviceable artificial islands (in one case, even including an runway) from nearly submerged reefs. Several neighboring countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, not only challenge Beijing’s claim, they assert significant territorial ambitions of their own. Vietnam has even commenced a more limited artificial island construction of its own.
The Obama administration has made it clear that it does not accept China’s logic or evidence regarding the territorial issue. Washington’s recalcitrance is unsurprising. Crucial sea lanes pass through the South China Sea, carrying a substantial portion of the world’s commerce. For U.S. leaders, that body of water is important both economically and strategically. As the world’s leading naval power and economic leader, the United States is not about to countenance an effort to convert the South China Sea into a de facto Chinese lake.
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An explicit assertion of American interest in the area came early in the Obama administration, highlighted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech to a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July 2010. Chinese officials regarded Clinton’s comments as gratuitous interference in a purely regional controversy. Subsequent U.S. actions deepened Beijing’s concerns and suspicions.
Instead of becoming more deeply entangled in the South China Sea quarrel, the United States needs to take a step back. It is one thing to make clear to Beijing that Washington will never countenance China transforming 80 percent of that area into Chinese territorial waters. It is quite another matter to implicitly back rival claimants and become a military participant in the underlying feuds. Yet the United States has already done the former and seems poised to do the latter. Such a course is likely to exacerbate an already dangerous security environment, and perhaps even more worrisome, create the prospect of a direct military confrontation between the United States and China. Such an outcome would benefit no one.”
(Ted Carpenter-


Everyone loves peace and knows peace is necessary for stability and growth, but what, in case, you are pushed to war and can not avoid it ? Ask God or Buddha.
And do you have to be prepared ?

“Now is the time for flexible, creative diplomacy focused on protecting America’s core maritime interests, "
Hasn’t the U.S. been very “flexible”, even significantly adequately tolerant in the last 6 months or 1 year ?
“It might even be appropriate at this point to propose a compromise that would recognize a more modest Chinese claim while achieving an explicit agreement among all relevant parties that the rest of the South China Sea will forever remain international waters.”
What is this ? The author, has somehow obtained enough knowledge, facts, solid legal bases with validity on issues concerning laws, regulations and appropriate measures to settle the sovereignty problems and many other issues in UNCLOS 1982, and other international laws and regulations which can be agreed upon by many sides involved, to say or suggest this ? Problems and issues regarding different claims of many sides in which historical evidences, proof problems, acceptance rules and regulations in international conventions and tribunals, as well as in arbitration are abundant, and messy. They require a lot of time to sort them through and debate. How can anybody even attempt to “recognize” anything, by now, even the tiniest claim ?

“While there is no guarantee that such a diplomatic initiative would succeed (especially in the short term), it is a far better move than exacerbating an already dangerous situation with a provocative U.S. military presence.”
The reasons in that statement kick each other: on one hand it is fuzzy: no guarantee: very vague situation is assessed; on the other hand it is even fuzzier when it self-asserts its “value”: far better

And please take note:
Even though the U.S is taking preparation for a possible future “confrontation” ( how near or far, nobody knows), that does not necessarily mean imminent conflict or foreseeable war. It just means: To prepare NOW, strategically and tactically, just in case. And maybe, in preparing as such, there is a good chance to avoid “real” war.


"Now is the time for flexible, creative diplomacy focused on protecting America’s core maritime interests, not the territorial ambitions of favored East Asian...

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