1-25: Do We Really Want a Military Showdown with China?

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece filed at Worldpost by Reuters.]

As written here recently, disturbing activities in the South China Sea may prove volatile, if not downright belligerent, soon. China’s actions and American reactions, if not resolved diplomatically, do not bode well. Yesterday’s report from Reuters is reason for pause.

China Insists It Will Protect South China Sea Sovereignty

At first, China responded publicly to declarations from Washington, saying it

… had “irrefutable” sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea after the White House vowed to defend “international territories” in the strategic waterway.

Here is what spokesman Sean Spicer said at a press conference that prompted China’s strong words.

“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” … when asked if [President Donald] Trump agreed with comments by his Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson. On Jan. 11, Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea….

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, like Spicer, spoke at a news briefing Tuesday during which she said, “the United States is not a party to the South China Sea dispute.” She is correct. So why is the U.S. pressing this issue so vigorously? In addition to protecting the empire,

It’s the oil!

China claims most of the South China Sea, while Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei claim parts of the sea that

  • commands strategic sealanes
  • has rich fishing grounds
  • has oil and gas deposits

The gauntlet is thrown.

Tillerson’s remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing prompted Chinese state media to say at the time that the United States would need to “wage war” to bar China’s access to the islands [in the South China Sea], where it has built military-length air strips and installed weapons systems.

Tillerson was asked at the hearing whether he supported a more aggressive posture toward China and said: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

This is heavy-duty talk.

The former Exxon Mobil Corp chairman and chief executive did not elaborate on what might be done to deny China access to the islands.

But analysts said his [Tillerson’s] comments, like those of Spicer, suggested the possibility of U.S. military action, or even a naval blockade. Such action would risk an armed confrontation with China, an increasingly formidable nuclear-armed military power.

Tillerson’s appointment has moved from committee, where he was approved, to a vote for confirmation from the full Senate.

Are we, the people, ready to risk going to war, again, over oil? Is it not appalling that, even before he is sworn into the office that will direct our nation’s foreign policy, the Secretary of State-to-Be speaks in terms of: waging war and not allowing another country to pursue its own interests? This does not smack of diplomacy.

Nowhere in this brewing dispute have I seen mention of the United Nations. But, then again, Exxon-Mobil never cared much what the international community had to say about anything. Tillerson has claimed—publicly, proudly, and defiantly—that, as CEO, his allegiance was first and foremost to his shareholders … not his country. That leopard’s spots ain’t changing anytime soon.


The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

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