US Meddling Is Making China More Aggressive

A lengthy report in the Spring 2012 issue of the Washington Quarterly, the journal published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reiterates the argument I have repeatedly put forth, that the U.S.’s pivot to Asia is exacerbating tensions in the region by emboldening China’s neighboring rivals and putting Beijing on the alert.

“As China rises in economic power,” Leszek Buszynski writes, “its maritime interests similarly expand (and with it its naval power), bringing it into conflict with the dominant naval power in the Western Pacific – the United States.”

To counter this, the U.S. “has been searching for positions from which forces may be surged forward into conflict zones in the Western Pacific,” and “has moved to strengthen defense ties with ASEAN states that share concerns about China.”

I cover these issues often here at the blog, but I also published two pieces this month, one at The American Conservative and another at The Washington Times, reviewing these kinds of arguments. The tensions between China and its smaller neighbors like Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and others are intensified by the U.S.-China fight for geopolitical supremacy in the Asia Pacific. I’ve argued that if the U.S. backed off of trying to dominate the region, problems may be mitigated.

“From the Chinese perspective,” the report explains, “the U.S. naval presence in the Western Pacific prevents the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland and emboldens the ASEAN claimants in the South China Sea to oppose Chinese claims.”

And this: “As the United States strengthens its role in the region, ASEAN claimants would become more emboldened to resist Chinese pressure, which has increased over the past two years. If these trends continue, the region would become polarized between the United States and China, and tensions would increase particularly in the South China Sea.”

Here is one explanatory anecdote of this phenomenon:

ASEAN has engaged China in regular dialogue hoping that its leaders could be convinced of the value of a regime of norms which would govern behavior in the South China Sea. ASEAN was habitually careful to avoid in any way provoking China expecting that China would in time reciprocate, and that the ASEAN way of encouraging agreement by consensus would in time be embraced by Beijing. Had the issue involved only competing claims to energy and fisheries, an agreement which would specify the rules of interaction and dispute management (otherwise called a maritime regime) might have been possible in the way that ASEAN policymakers have argued. Strategic rivalry with the United States, however, reshapes the dispute in a way that reduces the role of ASEAN and its ability to negotiate a resolution of the issue with China. It makes China unresponsive to ASEAN apprehensions and more concerned about U.S. moves outside the area and U.S. naval activity. It imparts a particular assertiveness to Chinese behavior as greater control over the South China Sea is a necessary accompaniment to its extended naval strategy and deployments.

There are other interesting arguments in the piece. Read it in full here.

  • I fully support the United States to intervene in order to prevent another aggressive move by China recently. I do not know how to handle China but really felt they had gone too far and what to do

    • Werner

      Good for you, Tiger–have you signed up to join ZOG's mercenary force/hit squad, I mean the glorious and heroic US military to defend our freedumbs yet?

      • Theo Baumann

        Werner, …very good question!

    • Bob

      What aggressive moves by China? the US tries to intervene in drills that the new Chinese aircraft carrier was going through. It is the USA that is far from home in this episode.

    • toto

      Take a look at a world map…who is in whom's backyard with guns waving? Who has 1000+ military bases in over 151 nations? Who has military strikes gong on in 6 countries its not at war with? Who tortures human beings in a country it has an embargo against? Who spends more on militarism than the rest of the world…combined? Who sells more weapons than the rest of the world does…combined? Who is the greatest purveyor of violence, the largest exporter of terrorism, and the greatest THREAT to world peace and conciliation in the world today? Why yes, it's the f****ing divided states of mordor….the red white and BOO!! psychopathic nutjob….it's days are numbered…

  • St Just

    I have a hunch that China is waiting for the boughten stooges in Congress to start a war with Iran before it goes into the ring with the USA.. This war will be a thousand times more costly and destructive than those piddly mideastern things.Cheney is tingling with joy and excitement as these crazy things develop.

  • outsider

    If it ever comes to it, how can the US imperialists hope to "win" a war fought within China's sphere of influence? The US can't even defeat the Taliban.

    One annoyance I found with the article. The author should have stated what the acronym ASEAN stands for.

  • toto

    the empire of corporate 'america' is paper tiger and all its technology with its vioelnce and terrorism all for the pusuit of profit loses in the end. Ask the Vietnamese and the Taliban,

  • Truthster

    How is China being "more aggressive"?
    Glaser always screws up. His politics is always slightly "off.".
    So far China has remained in its own neighborhood and has not fired on anyone.
    It is certainly not on the borders of the US half a world away.
    And let us not forget that the US supported the fascist Kuomintang against Mao and is now pushing Japan into confronting China.

  • Caesar_Saladin

    Oh how that wheel of history just keeps on turning. We urge the Chinese to resist the Japanese, then refuse to support them in any meaningful way until it's too late for millions of Chinese soldiers and civilians…. then we bait the Japanese into attacking us so we can attack the Germans…. and now we are baiting the Chinese and pushing Japan to confront them? Something seems terribly wrong and "deja-vu-ish" about the whole sorry mess. I'm just hoping we don't find ourselves pushing too hard on the Chinese and finding our nation embroiled in a war (hot and economic) that we are ill-prepared to fight. What's the Mandarin word for 'Pearl Harbor'?

  • Oswaldwasalefty

    Yeah, those awful Chinese, who once invaded and occupied Britain, France, Japan and the U.S….

    …no wait a minute, it was the other way around:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_of_humiliati

  • denk

    the media r saturating bombing us with china's *provocative*, *destabilising* , *tension escalating * adiz. [sic]
    to get some perspective here's a sample of muricuns provocations at china's doorstep, just the tip of iceberg mind u !

    yinhe hijack http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinhe_incident

    hainan spy plane http://www.g2mil.com/May2001.htm

    impeccable spy ship http://info.japantimes.co.jp/text/rc20100805a1.ht

    cowpens provocateur http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3

    **************************

  • US "meddling" is hardly making China more aggressive. US meddling didn't compel China to invade and annex Xinjiang and Tibet. It didn't compel China to manufacture a claim to the Senkakus in 1971. The US did not trick Beijing into invading Vietnam nor did the US compel China to snatch 24 islands from Vietnam. The US did not spur China to claim the entire South China Sea, nor to attempt to extend those claims over the years. The US did not compel China to invent a claim to Taiwan in the late 1930s, nor did it convince Beijing it was a good idea to claim an entire Indian state and parts of north korea's border. US meddling did not precipitate China's totally unnecessary military build up nor did it cause China to point 1500 missiles at Taiwan and threaten to murder and maim its citizens if it did not annex itself to China.

    Sorry, but US meddling is what keeps Taiwan free and keeps China from going to war with Manila and Japan. Asian nations are not arming against US hegemony. They are arming against Beijing.

    The US is not preventing "reunification" of China and Taiwan. It is preventing annexation of Taiwan by China. I'm always weirded out by people from democratic states who think it is a good idea to send the 23 million people of Taiwan into Beijing's arms, or that doing so would be a sound idea, geopolitically. After Taiwan in Chinese minds comes Okinawa, which Chinese expansionists constantly complain was returned to Japan without consulting China.

    Michael

    • denk

      *US "meddling" is hardly making China more aggressive. US meddling didn't compel China to invade and annex Xinjiang and Tibet. *

      that is the legacy of the yuan dynasty under the mongols
      which was centuries before the whitemen's brutal descend on murikka http://disinfo.com/2013/10/native-american-man-an

      *It didn't compel China to manufacture a claim to the Senkakus in 1971*

      do i take the words of certified china hater michael turton's or the respected japanese
      historian ? http://www.skycitygallery.com/japan/diaohist.html

      *The US did not trick Beijing into invading Vietnam nor did the US compel China to
      snatch 24 islands from Vietnam. The US did not spur China to claim the entire South China Sea,*

      kid
      those r *disputed* territories, currently vietnam occupying most the the isles, followed by tw.

      *The US did not compel China to invent a claim to Taiwan in the late 1930s*

      tw was a war booty, just like north america
      china's claim on tw is as legit as native americans claim on america.

    • denk

      i've a reply which is too long so i splitted into two parts, the first part is still under moderation.

      anyway, i told u ten yrs ago as a self styled murikkan *progressive*,
      u've been barking up the wrong tree. !
      since then the evil empire has chalked up dozens more naked aggressions
      but here u r still yapping about *chinese impelrilism* !.
      with *progressive* like u, who needs the neocons ?

  • Really thank Hobbies information sharing. I have a hunch that China is waiting for the boughten stooges in Congress to start a war with Iran before it goes into the ring with the USA.. This war will be a thousand times more costly and destructive than those piddly mideastern things. Thank you so much!

  • Denk, you're not capable of telling me anything since you're just an apologist for Chinese imperialism. Apparently you only oppose imperialism when the US does it.

    • denk

      since i knew u more than a decade ago, u have been practically making a living out of yapping at socalled chinese imperialism,
      while the world's most destructive imperialist, thats right, ur country murikka, was running amok all over the world

      with *progressive* like u, is it any wonder that uncle sham has been able to get away with serial aggressions with
      total immunities ?

  • ""tw was a war booty""

    As I said Denk, you're just an apologist for imperialism. Whether you guys wrap yourselves in Stars and Stripes or Red China flags, it's always the same lust for power and control.

    Michael

    • denk

      *US meddling did not precipitate China's totally unnecessary military build up *

      u r pathetic.
      us provocations is the very cause of chinese military build up.
      53% of ur tax monies goes to feed the mic n u r here bleating
      about china's budget ?

      *The US is not preventing "reunification" of China and Taiwan. It is preventing annexation of Taiwan by China*

      +The hawks would argue that the U.S. hard line against China is needed to defend Taiwan from Beijing’s threats. But that, too, is rather ingenuous. Beijing says it will only use force against Taiwan if Taipei seeks independence. U.S. military and other moves to show support for Taiwan encourage those in Taiwan who seek independence. That seems a strange way to help defend Taiwan+ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2001/05/21/co

      *After Taiwan in Chinese minds comes Okinawa,*

      why dont u ask the okinawans, wise guy ? http://www.workers.org/2011/world/okinawan_0721/

  • Bead Stallcup

    The U.S. Navy jacking around in the South China Sea is the equivalent of the Red Chinese Navy jacking around in the Gulf of Mexico. Hell yes, the Chinese are irritated by it. Just what do you suppose that gang of corrupt politicians in Washington DC would do if the Red Chinese Navy steamed into the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico? Go nuts, that's what! So, why would anyone expect that gang of corrupt politicians ramrodding the Red Chinese government to be tolerant of the U.S. Navy jacking around off their coastlines? The U.S. Navy needs to focus on protecting our coastlines and the waters around Hawaii, and American territories. The U.S. Navy needs to get its nosy ass out of Oriental waters and away from Red Chinese sea lanes. This is creating dangerous tensions between the Red Chinese military and the U.S. military. Keep this in mind, the Red Chinese army is massive. It isn't scroungy bands of ragheads in the Middle East with AK-47 sniping our soldiers from mountain tops. The Red Chinese Army/Navy is a 1,200 pound gorilla that might very well grind the U.S. Navy into mincemeat in the South China Sea, if we keep jacking around over there. Just as our army and navy sustained itself and fought in the Far East during WWII, so today, could the Red Chinese army and navy carry on full scale naval warfare and land invasion operations off the California, Oregon, Washington state and Canadian coastlines. Never doubt it. If we don't get out their of waterways, then sooner or later the Red Chinese Navy will, I assure you, show up in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, someday soon…

    • Robert deRussy

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      .
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