Wednesday, May 27, 2015

“Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador”

I have no doubt that you are aware of the current “disagreement” between the United States and China. Some people are convinced that this is destined to end badly while others feel that it will blow over and eventually just go away. What is your opinion of the situation?

Up to about 1 month ago relations between the two countries were basically normal, that is until China decided to expand its national boundary just a little bit more. Actually, quite a bit more including territory in the South China Sea that is claimed by other countries in the region such as Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. That’s when it all began to change. In the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress this month China was referred to as a threat to regional and international peace and stability.

The next incident occurred when a U.S. spy plane in the region was threatened by the Chinese military and ordered to leave the area at once. The Chinese government stated that "War will be inevitable" unless the U.S. withdraws from the area. It was further stated that "We urge the U.S. to correct its error, remain rational and stop all irresponsible words and deeds. Freedom of navigation and overflight by no means mean that foreign countries' warships and military aircraft can ignore the legitimate rights of other countries as well as the safety of aviation and navigation."

Simply stated, China has declared a "no fly zone" for all U.S. aircraft in the area, an area that is considered by many nations as not belonging to China. As you can imagine, the U.S. government did not take kindly to this approach. In fact, our largest aircraft carrier (the USS Ronald Reagan) is currently underway to Japan but U.S. officials are stating that this is not in response to the current situation. I don’t believe that and neither will the Chinese government.

So what’s the end result going to be? Well, no one knows for sure but there is a lot of “tough talk” between the two nations and neither is showing any signs of backing down. Remember the movie “Hunt for Red October”? This situation makes me think of a famous quote from the politician Jeffrey Pelt in the movie; “It would be well for your government to consider that having your ships and ours, your aircraft and ours, in such proximity... is inherently DANGEROUS. Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador.”

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