Friday, March 13, 2009

President Obama In the Midst of a Military Stand-off with China

In response to the recent incident in the South China Sea involving the USS Impeccable surveillance ship, President Obama has dispatched U.S. Warships to the area, setting the stage for a potentially more serious incident. In his first military challenge since becoming President, Obama has decided to use military muscle, over diplomacy. See China's response to President Obama's decision to "up the ante".

Change That I'll Believe In When I See It

I am not so sure that brinksmanship was the way to go in this situation. It is clear that the U.S. is spying (although technically legal) on Chinese military activities in their own region. This would be the equivalent of China having spy ships off the coast of San Diego monitoring U.S. ships and military installations.

China could send ships of its own into the area to face off with the U.S. ships or as a show of force - China has a formidable naval fleet. Or if this spat is allowed to grow, China has plenty of leverage that it could use to punish the U.S.... One being dumping U.S. debt and turning the U.S. dollar into monopoly money. Thanks to poorly thought out and downright reckless economic policies of the past 25-30 years... China basically owns the U.S.

No need to least not right now. The dumping of U.S. debt is not likely to happen, because the Chinese need a stable and healthy U.S. economy to absorb their exports. If we don't recover economically...neither do they. But reshaping the financial relationship between the two Countries (to our detriment) could be one of the cards available to the Chinese...under the guise of some other reason such as concern about getting a good return on their investment or whether they will be paid back.

Obama has to figure out what kind of foreign policy he wants to have when it comes to China. This is a Country which, as of right now, is not presenting a direct threat to the United States. Although technically Obama has the UN on his side on this issue, but he is not likely to win the international PR war, because the U.S. comes off looking like the global bully and an a** to the rest of the World. This comes at a time when the U.S. is trying to transform its image abroad.

These spy patrols don't paint the U.S. in a positive light.... and only serve to create tension in my view. If you recall, Bush stepped into a similar crisis not long after taking office... when a U.S. spy plane crash landed in China after a mid-air collision. That set a negative tone for relations between the two Countries for the remainder of Bush's time in office. This latest incident....and Obama's brinksmanship could have the same impact. And Obama will never win the PR war in my opinion.

From China's standpoint...this may be an effort to test Obama. Because these spy flights and surveillance ships have been in the general area for years now. China knows that. But perhaps the rest of the World did not know...and by helping to create an incident.... they are able to bring international attention to the fact that hey...look... the U.S. is still at it... they are still spying off our coast. That's a PR war that the Chinese will win every time. Because the U.S. patrols smack of imperialism.

My view is... there would not have been an incident if U.S. ships weren't spying near the Chinese coast. If Chinese ships were near the U.S. coast...holding exercises, spying, etc... the U.S. would be in a panic. In my opinion this is unnecessary, stupid brinksmanship.... a case of someone fighting the wrong battle at a time when there are much bigger and more important fish to fry. This is not a distraction that we need right now or at any time.

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