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China and the U.S. are Approaching Dangerous Seas


China and the U.S. are Approaching Dangerous Seas

Conn Hallinan

A combination of recent events, underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years, has turned the western Pacific into one of the most hazardous spots on the globe. The tension between China and the United States “is one of the most striking and dangerous themes in international politics,” says The Financial Times’ longtime commentator and China hand, Gideon Rachman.


Part of the intentional destabilization of the Middle East was to get factions there fighting amongst themselves so that the US could then pursue this long anticipated pivot to Asia. These are not accidental events unfolding. They are all in the playbook and have been for some time. And to think, my mother told me not to play with matches...


"The Chinese navy has one small aircraft carrier, the United States has 10 enormous ones, plus a nuclear arsenal vastly bigger than Beijing’s modest force. "

If China can only destroy Earth one time and the US can destroy it 10 times, then the vastly stronger US will obviously win.


It would appear as if the only 'winner' here will be 'defense' contractors & weapons manufacturers.


It's laughable to me that Americans take this seriously--we have sent millions of jobs to China to prop up the stock market and the 1% here (and to pacify the 99% with cheap goods), and at the same time we portray them as a threat. Did we outsource manufacturing jobs to the USSR during the Cold War?

If China really is a threat, then maybe companies doing business with them should be charged some sort of tariff, if not openly charged with some kind of economic treason; if they're OK to do business with, shut the f*ck up about what kind of dire threat they are and using that as a rationale for our obscene military spending.


Clearly this is a dangerous situation. China and Japan are historical enemies. The Japanese treated the Ciinese brutally during the WWII and the Chinese haven't forgotten that. Over many centuries China has considered itself the dominant culture in its part of the world. When it became a third world country for about 100 years it was humiliated. Now it is trying to get back to its dominant historical role in southeast Asia. There is also the issue of Taiwan which is heavily armed and considered to be part of China by the Chinese. While this confrontation goes on in the South China Sea, the US and China are working relatively closely now to combat climate change. This relationship that has developed between the US and China is a very important counterbalance to areas where they are in conflict. The danger is heightened because the Chinese people have no say in what there country does as it is run by the autocratic Communist Party. The party is trying to stay in power so creating international conflicts might be seen as a way to distract people from the serious domestic problems that exist in China.


Check the phony election primaries and the enforced candidates AND the results of The Page and Gilens Study and you will see that your statement largely holds true for those residing inside the "land of the free."

Oh, and it's "their country."


Governor Chris Christie in one of the republican debates stated if elected he would fly Air Force one over one of China's newly created islands in the China Sea. To show the Chinese who is boss here. That is is the thinking of Washington D.C. towards China, minus the Air Force One part.


there was having to back down in 1996, when the Clinton administration deployed two aircraft carrier battle groups in the Taiwan Straits during a period of sharp tension between Beijing and Taipei.<

That’s the kind of rewriting history the West is famous for: Clinton did send the aircraft carrier, but to Taiwan island’s EASTERN coast and not in the middle of the Straits where Chinese artillery were still continuing their “exercises.” Beijing in fact had warned that any foreign vessel entering the designated “exercise zone” would be responsible for anything that might happen. A Chinese officer even commented - quite unnecessarily - on the possibility of a nuclear missile dropping on Los Angeles (unlike today Chinese missiles at that time could not reach the middle and eastern parts of the U.S.).

Shooting at each other was not a sign of Chinese belligerence. The practice was first started by Chiang Kai-shek after he fled to Taiwan. Soon the mainland returned the favor, and the practice went on for decades, or at least until the United Nations returned to China its seat in the early 1970s. (Yes, for about 20 years the US had determined that Taiwan represented the real China). A famous threat by Chiang was: “The time is ripe! We shall invade and recover the mainland this year!” Can't remember any Western media calling such annual threats aggressive or “bellicose."

China’s last war was its disastrous 1979 invasion of Vietnam<

Hardly a disaster. The Chinese army crossed the border as Beijing said it would, and returned when it considered its work done. The ceasefire was conditional: Chinese troops would continue the fight if fired upon. The Vietnamese didn’t and the Chinese armies returned in an orderly way, not running to helicopters on rooftops like what happened during the collapse of the US forces in Vietnam. The political consequences was, however, a disaster, for it damaged the long ties - forged by blood by earlier generations of Chinese and Vietnamese leaders - that had existed between the two countries, especially in the war against France and, of course, against the US (as Vo Nguyen Giap mentioned during his visit to Beijing when the city held the Asian Games).

the general U.S. view of the Chinese military is that it is a paper dragon>

I second that view: the new rulers in Beijing want to imitate the West, putting a lot of emphasis on weapons. This actually is good for the West, for it - especially the US - has a clear advantage in modern weaponry. However, like the post-1978 Chinese governments, the US too has no real support from its own citizenry for wars, much less a massive one. Such are the conditions behind all paper dragons AND paper tigers that cannot defeat even small countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. That is because the kind of war those people fight are not for their governments, but for their own survival, otherwise known as - what else - people’s war.


When Harry Truman first kicked of the "permanent war economy" thus initiating the Cold War , it was claimed by some economists that it would help end the boom bust cycle of the economy and lead to permanent growth.

Some feel the reason the US economy in such bad shape is because the Cold War ended with the solution being to start it up again.


I'm not a historian but it has always been my understanding that when an Empire is in decline it will deprive it's people, build up it's military, and become more bullish. Rather than take the high ground on any of the issues of the day the US sides with saber rattling or worse. When you are becoming irrelevant you fight to stay relevant.
As Mr. Hallinan pointed out, the demographics are changing and the world is re-orienting. Russia and China are working hard to increase trade on the New Silk Road and Turkey and Iran just made a new agreement on Syria. In both of these instances the US is cut out.
We can see the reaction at home to that same paranoia of irrelevance in the Republican party. Fearing assimilation some in the white population are fighting aggressively to maintain the dominance they once had.
It is dangerous times for this country, now consumed in corruption, if there isn't a return to peace, democracy and justice we are doomed to war until it finally falls.


Start with cold war

Bring to a boil


The US has had many chances to co-opt its CIA designated enemies. Instead of making an ally and trading partner of Russia, it decided to make it an enemy. Unfortunately this particular enemy is not going quietly into the night. The same with China. It is the largest nation in the World by population and the largest economy on Earth. It has not established a World wide empire such as the US has. You won't find Chinese military bases in 800 places all over the surface of the Earth. The Chinese have always been particularly concerned for their borders and their shores, as they have been invaded and occupied several times during the 19th and 20th centuries. Right now they are securing their nation by making it an affront to sail military vessels near their maritime borders. The US simply loves to provoke both major nuclear powers, Russia and China, with US naval vessels sailing within the national waters of both nations (in the Black Sea within 7 kilometres of the Russian shoreline). One day the US will unfortunately push too hard and the result will be deadly for American sailors. That is not a threat, it is a fact and if it happens, it will be America that is to blame.


After the longest, most expensive war in US history, this country is already drained out economically and militarily. Since the 1980s, the US has shut down/shipped out a massive number of jobs, then ended actual welfare in the 1990s. As much as we have ignored this issue since the 1990s, the number of Americans lost to hopeless poverty has soared far beyond anything we've seen in nearly a century. We no longer have a way to rebuild our economy. All the American belligerence we can dig up can't change the fact that the US could easily fit in China's (a nuclear power) back pocket.

It's like watching the classic train wreck in slow motion, and there's nothing we can do to stop it.


Your first sentence defines the US today. I disagree with the popular "it's all about race." The great majority of US low-income and poor are white, and we are 20 years into one hell of a war on the poor.


China is an aggressively imperialist nation; it is buying countries through trade, in the same way that we British eventually captured India; trade and purchase followed by divide and rule supported in the main by Indian "security personnel" happily employed in the British East India Company's Army (later the British Indian Army). China is also throwing around, unnecessarily and illegally, its military weight in the South China Sea.

One should never forget that China supported Pol Pot with arms between 1975 and maybe 1988. China invaded Vietnam in 1978 because the Vietnamese army had invaded Cambodia to stop violent terrorist incursions by Pol Pot's thugs into southern Vietnam between 1975 and 1978. The UN did squat-all about this.

The fools in Pentagon still think Russia is the "enemy" and the "aggressor"? That the Middle East is the only place that is important? Given the long border between China and Russia, what choice has Russia but to go along with the Chinese now that the strategically inept leadership of NATO and the USA have moved into Ukraine?

Irrespective of past history which calls for sympathy, China is now a massive imperialist power, and good at it.Maybe I should simply marry one..........


The Spratley Islands are nowhere near China's maritime borders, BUT they have the potential for beinga large source of OIL.


I have. I agree.

I think after 1000 years of "eating Chinese shit", to badly paraphrase Ho Chi Minh back in around 1945, the Vietnamese in the subsequent 1000 years decided they weren't exactly friends of China, and they certainly fear China now.


The boss of China now holds about 11 key positions, including those of boss of the armed forces and police.


China now makes the uniforms for Australia's army and has a 99-year lease on Australia's strategic port of Darwin where the US Marines also have a base and where US bombers periodically use Darwin's airport. Ah, those Aussies, playing both sides..........