30/03/2024 strategic-culture.su  5 min 🇬🇧 #245865

All-Out War in the South China Sea

Declan Hayes

The U.S. has  naval and more general economic plans to contain and confront China by upending both its mercantilist and neomercantilist policies.

Although it is almost three months since I wrote that  Russia must be Asia's peace maker, it seems that ship has sailed. Whereas China's thuggish aggression in the South China Sea continues unabated, the contrasting reactions of the Philippines and Japan combine to indicate that Armageddon is upon us. If there is a way out of this quagmire, I cannot see it.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, her navy in particular, are tooling up at an unprecedented rate and NATO's various arms producers see her as another mini-Klondike, with  even Poland inking deals to sell the Philippines Black Hawk helicopters. Given that  12% of all Israeli arms exports now go to the Philippines and that Germany, Japan, the United States and Canada have all significantly contributed to  expanding and modernising the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), it seems the Philippines has resolutely  pinned its colours to NATO's mast.

And good on them for standing up to China, whose imperious claims on the waters of the South China Sea are, together with its ongoing attacks on  the PCG, a casus belli if ever there was one. Not only does the Philippines lack the wherewithal to stand up to this Chinese maritime land grab but the Chinese must know their terrorism against the peoples of the Philippines is, from any angle, unconscionable, unjust and unacceptable.

Given all that, China has no right to protest against the Philippines allowing their Yankee masters build  substantial military fortifications in Batanes, which is less than 200 km from the disputed island of Taiwan. Although the Chinese will bloviate about all of this in the context of their so-called One China policy (which now extends to the waters adjoining the home islands of the Philippines and Vietnam), China should see that her own imperialist and mercantilist ambitions are as much to blame as is the United States of America, which has made detailed plans to upend the Middle Kingdom and all its imperialist pretensions.

If the PCG might seem like a sitting duck, the Japanese navy can best be viewed as a pod of killer whales which, pound for pound, is more than a match for any other country's maritime forces, those of China included.

And, though much could be said about Japan's military prowess, that would overshadow other macro economic factors, which show how the United States and its toadies are shaping Japan as a weapon of vengeance against China. The Japanese yen has been allowed slide to around 150 yen to the Yankee dollar and Yankee and Ossie tourists are being encouraged, with their litter and their bad manners, to flood their fat carcasses into the Land of the Rising Sun. Though those developments might seem tangential to Japan's military needs, this reversal in Japanese economic policy that those changes represent are anything but. Japan is, in essence, exchanging the economic advantages of hard, value added industries that underwrote post war Japan's resurgence for French Fries, a McDonalds Big Mac and a front row seat in the looming war against China. It is not a good deal but it is the way things are.

Nor is Japan the end of the matter. Vietnam, which has  age-old grudges against China still to settle,  is tooling up and the Chinese, which are creating mayhem in the waters off the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan, are bitching about  India fortifying and developing its side of the border. If China is like a bull in a china shop trying to pick a fight, it seems that this time it has walked into the wrong china shop and is going to get its arrogant ass handed to it.

Not only are the Yanks forming networks and layers of alliances to combat China but  so too is Japan. Should things go America's way, with say the Sinophobic Donald Trump regaining power, then we can expect an anti China armada that will include everything from tried and tested Indian aircraft carriers to the PCG and the state of the art Big Boys' Toys of the Japanese navy combining to successfully blockade China and scuttle its export oriented economy. And, if China's aggression against the Philippines is the barometer, the Chinese will deserve everything they get.

The United States then has  naval and more general economic plans to contain and confront China by upending both its mercantilist and neomercantilist policies. Although these plans will cost the Philippines and Japan dear, they will help to maintain American hegemony and, to Uncle Sam, that is all that matters.

Although I see war as being inevitable, the only way of mitigating its effects is for China to listen to Russia's diplomats, to cop itself on and to give countries like the Philippines and Vietnam not only room to breathe but space to wriggle out from under Under Sam's clutches and from those of China as well. Because I cannot see China doing any of that, the gods of war will be increasingly very busy in the South China Sea until both China and the United States are firmly muzzled. Let's hope Japan's cherry blossoms, as well as China's, can withstand further nuclear attacks when both sides really get into their stride.

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