U.S./China Relations: South China Sea

I was asked whether the US warship in the South China Sea will upset the current state of relations between China and the US. My brief response is:

“Don’t worry about the US intrusion into the South China Sea for now. It is well within the control mechanisms put into place by the two countries to manage precisely these sorts of potential face-offs. Everything is within the protocols and agreements reached recently, and the latest incident amply demonstrates why they need to be in place, and they seem to be working as intended.”

“Nonetheless, the American action is yet another example of Obama’s jingoism. As with Syria and Ukraine, he postured, strutted and ventured without realizing its recklessless and/or invalid analytical basis. And he characteristically chickened out as soon as things turned a bit ugly. As a result, we lost ground, got into an unwanted and counter-productive new Cold War, and diminished our credibility among nations of the world. Here again in the South China Sea, he does not seem to realize that it is a no-win situation. As the Chinese would say: he is lifting a rock only to drop it on his own foot. The Chinese will take advantage of his antics.”

“Meanwhile, this is far from affecting the big picture and the elaborate design of the new model of relations between China and the United States.”


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