Sunday, April 13, 2014


Apr 6, 2014The United States moved on Sunday to reassure Tokyo over its mounting security concerns, saying it would send more missile defense ships to Japan following North Korean launches,  and use a high level trip to warn China against abusing its "great power."
It also fits within the context of broader American efforts to bolster its military presence in the region, part of a strategic "rebalance" or "pivot" toward Asia that President Barack Obama will emphasize during his trip this month to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

President Obama dispatched heavily armed American destroyers to the scene of a naval standoff between the U.S. and China before.

As Washington pivots, China has been ramping up military spending, building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles and testing emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air -- technologies the Pentagon says appear designed to counter U.S. military capabilities..
Japan has drawn parallels between Russia's actions in Crimea and what it sees as China's challenge to the status quo in the East China Sea. 
Forty years after Nixon’s  visit to China, a clash of political systems exists that not even shared economic interests can mask.

American officials refuse to comment on how the United States might respond to Chinese aggression in contested waters in the South China Sea.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the U.S. State Department have accused China's coastguard of harassing Philippine vessels and called its attempt a week ago to block a Philippine resupply mission to the Second Thomas Shoal, a disputed atoll, provocative and destabilizing.
"Something else ... that I will be talking with the Chinese about is respect for their neighbors. Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict," Hagel said.

During his recent trip to Tokyo,  Hagel reassured Japan that there is no "weakness on the part of the United States as to our complete and absolute commitment to the security of Japan,"


Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told Hagel during his trip to Beijing that China did not want to "stir up trouble," he also stressed that "we will neither compromise on, concede or trade on territory and sovereignty, nor tolerate them [the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands] being infringed on even a little bit," stressing that China seeks negotiations "with countries directly concerned."

"An attempt to seize the Senkaku Islands by force would likely result in a conflict with Japan and the US, which could risk escalating into a war, so I don't see any appetite for that," Edward Schwarck, Asia fellow at Britain's Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has said.

Whether the U.S. can avoid being dragged into a shooting match will depend on how far Beijing and its unruly mix of military, maritime and natural resources agencies choose to push their claims. And whether China’s increasingly frustrated neighbors decide to push back.

The risk of conflict there is significant.
In a scenario of Chinese provocation, the United States might opt to dispatch naval vessels to the area to signal its interest in regional peace and stability. Vietnam, and possibly other nations, could also request U.S. assistance in such circumstances. Should the United States become involved, subsequent actions by China or a miscalculation among the forces present could result in exchange of fire.

Strategic warning signals that indicate heightened risk of conflict include political decisions and statements by senior officials, official and unofficial media reports, and logistical changes and equipment modifications.
With improving political and military ties between Manila and Washington, including a pending agreement to expand U.S. access to Filipino ports and airfields to refuel and service its warships and planes, the United States would have a great deal at stake in a China-Philippines contingency. Failure to respond would not only set back U.S. relations with the Philippines but would also potentially undermine U.S. credibility in the region with its allies and partners more broadly. A U.S. decision to dispatch naval ships to the area, however, would risk a U.S.-China naval confrontation.

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims, particularly over rights to exploit the region's possibly extensive reserves of oil and gas.
Disputes between China and Vietnam over seismic surveys or drilling for oil and gas could also trigger an armed clash for a third contingency.
Budding U.S.-Vietnam relations could embolden Hanoi to be more confrontational with China on the South China Sea issue.

Freedom of navigation in the region is also a contentious issue, especially between the United States and China over the right of U.S. military vessels to operate in China's two-hundred-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These tensions are shaping—and being shaped by—rising apprehensions about the growth of China's military power and its regional intentions. China has embarked on a substantial modernization of its maritime paramilitary forces as well as naval capabilities to enforce its sovereignty and jurisdiction claims by force if necessary. At the same time, it is developing capabilities that would put U.S. forces in the region at risk in a conflict, thus potentially denying access to the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.

Of the many conceivable contingencies involving an armed clash in the South China Sea, three especially threaten U.S. interests and could potentially prompt the United States to use force.
Because genuine strategic trust is impossible between an America infused with "democratic values" and a China ruled by a one-party state, the security competition between the U.S. and China will only intensify.

The most likely and dangerous contingency is a clash stemming from U.S. military operations within China's EEZ that provokes an armed Chinese response. The United States holds that nothing in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) or state practice negates the right of military forces of all nations to conduct military activities in EEZs without coastal state notice or consent.

China routinely intercepts U.S. reconnaissance flights conducted in its EEZ and periodically does so in aggressive ways that increase the risk of an accident similar to the April 2001 collision of a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance plane and a Chinese F-8 fighter jet near Hainan Island.
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A comparable maritime incident could be triggered by Chinese vessels harassing a U.S. Navy surveillance ship operating in its EEZ, such as occurred in the 2009 incidents involving the USNS Impeccable and the USNS Victorious.

The large growth of Chinese submarines has also increased the danger of an incident, such as when a Chinese submarine collided with a U.S. destroyer's towed sonar array in June 2009. Since neither U.S. reconnaissance aircraft nor ocean surveillance vessels are armed, the United States might respond to dangerous behavior by Chinese planes or ships by dispatching armed escorts.
A miscalculation or misunderstanding could then result in a deadly exchange of fire, leading to further military escalation and precipitating a major political crisis. Rising U.S.-China mistrust and intensifying bilateral strategic competition would likely make managing such a crisis more difficult.

The United States could be drawn into a China-Philippines conflict because of its 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.
In addition, the political economies of a democracy (which favors free competition) and an autocratic regime (which favors state control) are fundamentally at odds with each other. Such institutional differences are responsible for economic policies that are bound to collide with each other. So the risks that even shared economic interests between the U.S. and China could erode as a consequence of the clash of their political systems are real.
Those who advocate relations with China have based their argument on the assumption that China’s economic modernization and integration with the West will promote political change and make the one-party state more democratic. This “liberal evolution” theory has sadly not panned out. Instead of embracing political liberalization, the Chinese Communist Party has grown more resistant to democratization, more paranoid about the West, and more hostile to liberal values. As a result, of the three pillars of U.S.-China relations, security, economy, and ideology, only one – shared economic interests — remains [barely] standing.

Is The Google China Pullout The Prelude To A Serious Global Conflict?

 Google's withdrawal from China, with U.S. backing, is the first American step in the build up to a trade war. China's unwillingness to revalue their currency for the benefit of the U.S. economy is a key Beijing foray.

Clif cites Niall Ferguson's latest book, The Ascent of Money, which notes that the only possible path for the world towards an anti-globalization environment the scale of that prior to World War I would be an economic or political conflict between the U.S. and China.
The result of a deteriorating trade and political environment prior to World War I was the biggest conflict in European history. Droke says we might be due for another outbreak, 100 years later, in 2014.

In 2010, Paul Krugman suddenly found a new and passionate interest in China’s exchange rate policy. On 1 January, in his piece “Chinese New Year”, Krugman claimed that America had lost 1.4 million jobs because of the undervalued renminbi and, therefore, he endorsed trade protectionism against China. On 11 March, in another piece, “China’s Swan Song”, he advised the Treasury Department to name China as a currency manipulator. And on 12 March, at an Economic Policy Institute event, in Washington, he said that global economic growth would be about 1.5 percentage points higher if China stopped restraining the value of its currency and running a trade surplus. 



Markets More: China U.S. Government Is The Google China Pullout The Prelude To A Serious Global Conflict?

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