Continuing our story from yesterday, about the new burgeoning relationship between Russia and China, and how it is driven by American attempts to contain both regional powers, each in its own sphere, and cutting each off from its own regional sphere of influence… which naturally draws said regional powers closer to one another. As my dear old Uncle Vanya the Philosopher used to say: “There is no better foundation of True Friendship than having a common enemy….”
The analyst Petr Akopov poses the rhetorical question: Will the U.S. be successful in containing China? And responds with a resounding “No”. It’s not just a case of historical cycles, but also such “banal” factors as China’s economic growth and ever-growing military potential. Americans might even know that they cannot contain China in the long run; but they will pragmatically continue to exert every effort to at least slow down Chinese expansion. While also nourishing hopes that the “grand historical cycle” will lead to another cycle of internal unrest within China; during which, busy putting down internal rebellions, China will lose interest in the external world. And, knowing the Americans, they won’t just sit back and wait for unrest to develop on its own natural course either; they’ll give it a little push, wherever they can.
Back To The South China Sea
Yesterday we talked about the South China Sea, and how China regards this whole arc as within her sphere of influence. The Chinese claim that ancient maps reveal — surprise! that all these disputed islands belong to them. And China don’t care about no stinkin’ Hague Arbitration Court, neither. What is this thing called Hague, compared to several thousand years of Chinese history? But the other thing that’s been going on for centuries, if not millenia — is friction with the neighbors. Vietnam. Malaysia. The Philippines. Indonesia. Even Taiwan. All these nations also have claims to some of these islands. And all these nations are egged on by the Americans, who do everything in their power to sour relations between China and her neighbors. American troublemakers do loves them some pot-stirring. Just for its own sake, because it’s fun to watch other countries at each others throats. But the Americans also have rational goals: In some cases, they want military bases (Philippines), in some cases they need the use of ports (Singapore). So, they are constantly whispering to “the neighbors” (for example, Vietnam) how they, the Americans can protect them against Han Expansionism.
These nations, especially the Vietnamese, are not idiots. Along with Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam back in the day was turned into a hellhole of a colony and mercilessly bombed back to the Stone Age by American hardware. These people know that the Americans are troublemakers, and know that they are being played like violins. And even the Philippines, which was granted “independence” by the benevolent USA, yet still has to put up with hosting American military bases. Nonetheless, the Chinese hegemonist threat does seem “real” enough to them that they factor it into their calculations. The Americans are able to utilize this “rational core” of their anti-Chinese argumentation, even if people are on to them for their true motives and ignore all the ancillary B.S. about democracy and rule of law.
Around two years ago, the Chinese started to build their own air bases on a series of islands forming an archipelago called Spratly. According to wiki, Spratly consists of 14 linked islands and a bunch of underwater coral reefs. The islands are named after English whaling captain Richard Spratly who discovered them in 1843. The islands were unhabited at the time, no indigenous tribes, or anything like that, that we know of. Nowadays variegated peoples from several different nations live there and send their kids to school, all hoping to place some kind of stake. Because God placed these islands strategically, right in the middle of the shipping lanes, and everybody wants a piece of them.
When China started building aerodromes on some of the islands and declared the air above them to be Chinese airspace — this is when the problem started. The U.S. saw that they cannot allow their own hegemony in the South China Sea to be threatened. All these bases are belong to us, according to the American philosophy of global dominance.
This is a war of bluster: The Americans declare loudly that they won’t tolerate this; and send ships and planes into the South China Sea.
China responds aggressively, rebuffing the Americans while patiently continuing to construct artificial islands and aerodromes. Americans need to show the other nations that they are on the ball; and yet realistically there is nothing they can do to stop China from building up these reefs. Realistically, the Americans don’t have any cards to play, except for the unhappiness of China’s neighbors.
Oh yeah, well what about that giant American fleet? Well, the Chinese are constructing their own Pacific Fleet at record tempo. It is in long-term Chinese interests to extend their influence over the entire South China Sea and to gradually push the Americans out.
And there is even bigger fish to fry here than just Spratly’s whales [I know that whales are not fish, don’t bother to post a comment]:
Namely, we are talking about China’s future access westward to the Indian Ocean via the strategically important Strait of Malacca:
[to be continued]