There are four traditional schools of thought in American foreign policy. Here's a pretty good analysis of President Obama's policy from a member of the Realist School:
Game of Thrones: China Pushes Back | Via Meadia
I once subscribed to the Realist School. Now I am a Neo-Isolationist.
The problem with President Obama's "pivot to Asia" and up close posture in the Western Pacific is that throughout history such an approach leads to generalized war between the great powers at least fifty percent of the time. War should be avoided unless one is forced into it. War usually leads to unforeseen consequences.
There are other ways to complicate life for the Chinese than an up close and in your face approach.
Please refer to "I think I'm more Chinese than Ambassador Locke" at http://www.debatepolitics.com/breaki...threats-5.html (Activist Chen Guangcheng chose to stay in China to protect family from death threats,)
"Democracy is two wolves and a coyote voting on who to have a sheep for dinner. Liberty is a captive wolf returning to the wild. Freedom of speech is a wolf howling indiscriminately. Freedom of expression is a wolf urinating indiscrimately. Dictatorship is a lion eating a sheep first before sharing it with a wolf and a coyote. A one-party rule is a wolf chasing a coyote away from the sheep."-- reedak
I thought by acting like a bully and creating 'unnecessary' conflicts China was acting like a powerful nation, in fact acting a lot like us.
While anything is possible, I don't see China going toe to toe with us with conventional arms. They will need to spend a king's ransom on a modern navy. Not just a token force like the soviets but a truly world dominating navy. A dozen carrier battle groups, damn near 100 killer subs and a couple of dozen ballistic missile subs.
I doubt they will be that foolish. Oh sure might feed a few others to taunt us, we are great at going apesh*t at the least provocation, but they won't go head to head with us any more than the Russians did.
More likely they will opt for a complete new field of combat. One where a dozen carriers or hundreds of hi tech fighters don't win the war.
Now about the atoll, since we hold a piece of Cuba for no other reason than to piss Castro off and the Brits cling to Gibraltar as a vestige of a long lost Empire, so too China can claim an island out in the ocean no matter who else is closer to it.
Argentina is closer to the Falklands than England... that doesn't seem to matter much. The best solution would be paying a small royalty and China drilling for oil.
"...By 2020, the United States will not be able to defend Taiwan from a Chinese air attack, a 2009 Rand study found, even with America’s F-22s, two carrier strike groups in the region and continued access to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Moreover, China is at the point of deploying anti-ship ballistic missiles that threaten U.S. surface warships, even as Taiwan’s F-16s, with or without upgrades, are outmatched by China’s 300 to 400 Russian-designed Su-27 and Su-30 fighters. Given that Taiwan is only 100 miles from China and the U.S. Navy and Air Force must deploy to the Pacific from half a world away, the idea that Washington could permanently guarantee Taipei’s de facto sovereignty has always been a diminishing proposition. Vice President Biden’s recent extensive talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (who is poised to succeed President Hu Jintao), may have reinforced the notion inside the administration that Taiwan is better defended by a closer American-Chinese diplomatic understanding than by an arms race..."
Read more: A power shift in Asia - The Washington Post
See also, A Question of Balance: Political Context and Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Dispute | RAND
The RAND study/report sounds as if it came from the Cold War era. Put USSR in place of China and Europe in place of Taiwan and there you go. It is a simplistic arms race endorsement. FYI exactly what strategic value is Taiwan for us? They have more oil than Saudi sands? But we must commit large sums of money to R&D as well as manufacturing the latest ordinance even if it will be obsolete before being used in anger.
This makes sense how?
I'd suggest you read the Council on Foreign Relations report more focused on the economic ties between Taiwan and Mainland China.
On the onehand Taiwan is a great place to sell weapons, they bought 8.4b between 2000-07. Not bad for a fly speck of a nation.
But lets look at the economic ties between the Island and mainland-
Taiwan has invested 150b on the mainland since 1988 or 35b during the same time as the above weapon sales.
Their bank, insurers and other financial services have cross channel ties and Taiwan has agreed to open 100 businesses to mainland investors.
In 1991 China and Taiwan did 8b in trade, in 2007 they did 102b.
Now 270 flights per week connect the two, and Taiwan increased it's quota of chinese tourists 10 fold to 3,000 per day.
So rather than commit our navy to a terrible tactical position that would be a constant drain on our nation, smart money would back a continued reproachment between the two Chinas.
The smart money in Taiwana and China is...
All the Phillipines has to do is send their navy out there to defend their fishing rights, and make China look like a bully in the eyes of the world.
Not unlike when Libya sent a couple of jets to assert their rights on the Gulf of Sidra as a close bay. It is a meaningless bit of water no other nation needs to transit but Ronald Reagan was hellbent to show the world a hard-on USofA after a 'weak' Carter Administration. For those outside the Republican Party that looked very bully.
The rules are simple, the atoll is out past all UN recognized ownership. Neither nation has an outright claim to it. For all these years neither has done more than set a lighthouse on it, and that only with US help.
If either nation confronts the other with naval force the Chinese will win and the world can judge bully China or dumb move on the other party's military.
Bully- someone you don't like using their might to get their way.
Peace loving nation defending what is theirs- someone you like using their military might to get their way.
Either way ain't our ox....