Pax Pacifica: Impending War in the South China Sea- USA & China!
Over a quarter century ago, I wrote out in long-hand on yellow paper a novel that I hoped would be wrong in its prognostication of an impending war between the two military super powers-PRC and USA.
I worked/travelled in the PRC over a thirty year period. During that time, I spotted a tiny speck of islands located in the South China Sea which if built up could strategically control the entire navigational waters of a multitude of Asian countries. The following countries have legitimate maritime claims to different parts of the South China Sea: Philippines, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos.
China claimed eminent domain over the scattered Spratly Islands. In turn, they started to fill each one of them up with sand. Next they built significant military naval/air installations allowing China to engage in any kinetic action against any other country which might declare suzerainty over the PRC’s respective areas of control [i.e. the entire South China Sea].
When Pax Pacifica was published Ambassador James R. Lilly [former CIA station chief in Beijing], was kind enough to write the following praise:
“The sweep of this book, the author’s grasp of real trends and forces that could change the face of Asia and which many of OUR POLICY WONKS have NOT GRASPED…. His [author’s] justified cynicism about how the world turns…” It’s that last sentence that was most disturbing and unfortunately quite accurate.
Thankfully, POTUS Trump has recently ordered our celebrated former Marine General, Sec. Def. James Mattis to send Admiral Philip S. Davidson CINCPAC to patrol that expansive 1.4 million square-miles of water and interdict any PRC planes, boats, and/ or refortification efforts. So far, we have been at a stand-off.
However, given the so-called tariff wars between Chinese President Xi and POTUS Trump we have a ‘clear and present danger’. Any unintentional mistake or over-reaction on either side could precipitate a major conflagration which would end in mutual assured destruction. It’s time for a recalibration of mutual interests and national security concerns.
And, from the very great Russian Novelist, Leo Tolstoy:
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
And from the Chinese Philosopher, Sun Tzu:
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”