Patrolling The Hood From (China) Sea To Shining Sea
By Pepe Escobar
May 29, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Asia
Times" - If only Mad Men in real life were like
Don Draper – channeling his true inner self, after many a rocky season, to
finally click on “I’m OK, you’re OK.”
Instead, we have a bunch of (Pentagon) madmen provoking every
major geostrategic competitor all at once.
The Masters of War at the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid
Stuff” Obama administration are now announcing they’re ready to dispatch
military aircraft and ships within 18 kilometers of seven artificial islands
China has built up in the Spratly Islands.
Beijing’s response, via the Global Times, couldn’t be
other than There
Will be War; “If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt
its activities, then a U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea … The
intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as
According to Beijing, two lighthouses on Huayang Reef and
Chigua Reef — sites of reclamation works — were built “to improve navigation
safety in the South China Sea.”
There’s no evidence China will cease its island-building work
even with U.S. warships hangin’ out in the naval hood. Will the U.S. Navy go
heavy metal and unleash “friction” to prevent civilian Chinese vessels from
moving around? Does the U.S. Navy expect Beijing to just roll over and collapse?
What the Global Times implies is that China will
definitely strike back if the Americans come within 18 kilometers of the
Beijing already has electronically jammed Global Hawk
long-range surveillance drones spying on the Nansha Islands. And Beijing is
contemplating setting up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South
China Sea once the work on the seven artificial islands is completed.
This South China Sea exceptionalist adventurism could
alarmingly get out of hand. Couple it with the “patrolling” of the Western
Pacific – as the U.S. and Australia are about to be joined by re-militarizing
their regular bi-annual war games. The result is a Shangri-La Dialogue – the
regional security summit held every year in Singapore, starting this Friday —
even hotter than usual. Assorted agent provocateurs better not mess with Admiral
Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff, who
will be the guest star of the show.
All about the Maritime Silk Road
The latest escalation happens just as Beijing releases it new
Military White Paper outlining in detail a new defensive strategy — which is
now, for all practical purposes, defensive/offensive in Full Spectrum
AirSeaLandCyber Space mode (the full text is included here).
Pentagon planners, eat your collective hearts out; the “pivoting to Asia” is
about to meet its match.
Among the highlights, we now know China “will not attack
unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked” – which is
a blueprint for what may happen next in the South China Sea.
Beijing will be focused on “winning informationized local
wars” (a whole lotta electronic jammin’ goin’ on).
And the PLA Navy will gradually shift its focus from “offshore
waters defense” to a mix of “offshore waters defense and open seas protection.”
Welcome to the (China) sea to shining sea doctrine.
Zhang Yuguo, senior colonel with the general staff department
of the PLA, clearly enjoyed himself at his press conference when he stressed,
“Some countries adopt preemptive strategies, emphasizing preventive intervention
and taking initiative in attack. Ours is totally different.” And then came the
Sun Tzu-style clincher; “Being ‘active’ is only a kind of means and ‘defense’ is
our fundamental purpose.”
For those who insist in not getting the message, the white
paper is the graphic proof China is now positioning itself as an aspiring great
It’s genetic, really — as China displayed the world’s greatest
naval fleet at least two centuries before Christopher Columbus, duly employed by
the Ming dynasty to explore Asian, Indonesian archipelago, African and Middle
And guess what they were up to then; “win-win” trade/commerce,
allied with cultural interchange. Make business, not war. Centuries later, it’s
all remixed in the New Silk Road(s), or One Belt, One Road project.
And don’t forget Urfa
Beijing’s strategy for the South China Sea has always been
clear. Everyone – no discrimination — will have right of passage. All disputes –
from oil and gas exploration to fishing rights — are to be solved bilaterally
within the cadre of ASEAN. And the whole process has absolutely nothing to do
The U.S. government insists the China nine-dash-line
does not comply with international law. That’s risible; the line was actually
dreamed up by the Chinese nationalists of the Kuomintang two years before the
birth of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Washington argues that implementation of the nine-dash-line
will allow China to control navigation in the South China Sea. Once again,
Beijing does not want control, but more business, which is already a fact, as
80% of commercial traffic is by Chinese vessels.
There’s no way Beijing will back down from bilateral
negotiations inside ASEAN – as the South China Sea is a key element of the
Maritime Silk Road. What Beijing wants is “win-win” deals with everyone, from
Vietnam to Philippines, especially in terms of exploring all that submerged
As for Washington — as it is seen from Beijing – the paramount
obsession is to remain the naval hegemon everywhere from the Western Pacific to
the Straits of Malacca and the Indian Ocean.
Cue to the white paper reminding everyone and his neighbor
that the South China Sea is not an American lake, as much as the East China Sea
and the Yellow Sea are not Japanese-American lakes, and the Indian Ocean is not
an American Ocean.
There’s no contest. All these crucial developments were
studied in detail early this week at the 11th round of the
China-Russia strategic consultation in Moscow – when Chinese State Councillor
Yang Jiechi, a very active, policy-making second foreign minister, sat
face-to-face with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.
As the Pentagon huffs and puffs, Beijing releases its
no-nonsense military doctrine; the Russians and Chinese finesse their strategic
partnership; and they get their act together for the crucial, upcoming Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Urfa this summer.
Expect the bunch of madmen to go bonkers. Oh yes, no more
romantic sea cruises from now on.
Copyright 2015 Asia Times Holdings Limited
See also -
US takes dangerous gamble in S.China Sea
: Some Chinese scholars hold that the US is merely flying a
kite. It's testing China's determination and strategy to counterstrike US
provocation. It's probable that the US military and diplomatic circles haven't
yet reached a consensus. Washington will make the decision after assessing
U.S. says China has placed mobile artillery on reclaimed
island: The United States said on Friday that
China had placed mobile artillery weapons systems on a reclaimed island in the
disputed South China Sea, a development that Republican Sen. John McCain called
"disturbing and escalatory."
China castigates Abe over latest military comments:
Japanese leaders should act in a way that is more conducive to regional peace
and stability, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday, after
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated possible support for foreign forces
in the South China Sea.