Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will our Next War Be in the South Pacific With China?

Okay, I didn’t want to but I feel as if it is my duty. Reason waits for no one to present timely analysis in a world in which billions of dollars are spent to wage war on emotions such as terrorism in places like Somalia alone, when poverty continues to expand and metastasize by leaps and bounds her at home. Nor could I wait for common televised media outlets to present breaking news, seeing they are two days behind print media, which is two days behind the internet. Not to mention it is obvious the televised media’s goal is identical to the rule of oppression, based on the incessant rash of treatments inundated with coverage of George Zimmerman, the secret service and any one of several reality shows purporting to display talent, it is unthinkable that the presentation of actual news content is important or possible.

What am I speaking of, well it deals with China and the Philippines and a possible new war on the horizon between the US and China. I have been leery of this possibility for sometimes. Specifically ever since President Obama decided to ramp up U.S. alliances and bases across Asia and in the Pacific. The President basically asserted that the US start to focus on Asian security risks including China and North Korea, which have over the past decade taken a back seat to Iraq and Afghanistan. From this perspective, the United States will maintain large bases in Japan and South Korea and deploy U.S. Marines, navy ships and aircraft to Australia's Northern Territory. It also deals with, if necessary, to be in a position to counter possible efforts by China and Iran to block U.S. capabilities in areas like the South China Sea and the Strait of Hormuz. In essence, this was Obama’s presentation at a special trip to the Pentagon this past January. It was basically his post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan defense strategy.

During his Asian tour, Obama signaled the opening of a military base in Darwin and possibly one in the Philippines. Although we have solid ballistic missile defense co-operation with Japan is well advanced, this has more to do with North Korea and China.
Now things are increasingly becoming more on edge. Just this week the Philippines announced it would be seeking add
itional US military help during top-level talks next week, as it becomes more involved with China over a territorial dispute. Calling on a treaty signed in 1951, Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario indicated the desire for United States to help it achieve a “credible” defense system. The treaty calls on both sides to come to each other’s aid in times of external attacks. Currently the island nation is in disagreement with Beijing over rival claims to the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea). China claims all of the West Philippine Sea as a historic part of its territory, even waters close to the coasts of the Philippines.

Over the past few weeks, armed vessels from the Philippines and China have faced off at the Scarborough Shoal. The consequences for the US if this occurs would be another undeclared war we would be dragged into; especially if Manila gets its way and obtains the coast guard vessel and F-16 fighter jets it recently requested. The Philippines is leading a push within the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take a united stand over regional maritime disputes, including the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in one of the world’s busiest stretches of water.

Then there are other geopolitical concerns involved. The Philippines' Malampaya and Camago fields are estimated to hold 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and are in waters currently claimed by China. To top it off, as you read this, the US and the Philippines are engaged in annual joint military exercises that have involved 4,500 U.S. soldiers and 2,500 from the Philippines.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced these intentions a week before the start of April, which he said showed US commitment to the strategically vital Asia-Pacific region. But such was in the work as early as last December when the Obama Administration signaled plans for the deployment of 2,500 Marines to Darwin, Australia. Darwin is also an intriguing choice since it is part of a growing energy hub where companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) are planning to spend more than a $150 billion ($156 billion) to develop offshore natural gas fields.

Given all of the aforementioned, it may not be farfetched to suggest a possible future military conflict with China. Already the Chinese state media has advanced that President Barack Obama is doing all of this to distract from US economic woes, which is logical seeing that the Pentagon is placing more troops in the region than at any time since World War II, with military outpost surrounding all of China’s eastern border (the U.S. is sending 4,700 Marines to Guam, creating the largest deployment of troops to the Pacific since World War II). Meanwhile, China is rapidly expanding its naval power and increasing its presence in the South China Sea.

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Moreover, an ironic observation is that China is also increasing its naval power and their new the refurbished Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag is almost fully operational. In concert with a new seaport being built by the Philippine government in the Spratly islands, in which such would be the first step in creating a mini-naval base for U.S. and Philippine troops, we could see more action sooner than later. In particular with Vietnam and the Philippines beginning to develop stronger military ties with the US.

Last year Chinese ships confronted a Philippine oil-exploration ship as well as cut a Vietnamese oil-exploration vessel’s survey cable. In response, Vietnam later conducted a live-fire naval drill in the area. China has also expressed its concerns over statements made by the US chief of naval operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, that China’s rising capability could limit US access to the South China Sea and that Washington would continue its efforts to ensure freedom of navigation there. The comments were interpreted by some observers as confirming that the US has sided with the ASEAN claimants.

The installation in the Spratly islands could also be used as a jumping-off point for counterterrorism operations in the Palawan region of the southern Philippines. The area is home to the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic terror groups with ties to al Qaeda. Some early reports from France suggest the new facility on Pagasa Island will be the new home for thousands of U.S. Marines scheduled to leave Okinawa within the next two years.

All of this sounds similar, a military buildup in the name of counter acting emotion in the name of terrorism; making enemies we don’t need, with a nation that hold the largest portion of U.S. debt, 68 cents for every dollar or about $10 trillion; and a currency battle that is still in the frying pan, all makes sense to me – our next war will probably in the South Pacific.

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