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Thread: Philippines protests to China over oil rig plan

  1. #41
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    Re: Philippines protests to China over oil rig plan

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    While I don't believe things inevitably have to head to confrontation or worse, I don't believe trade/economic ties, alone, can assure a benign outcome. After all, prior to the outbreak of WW I, trade among Europe's nations was especially vigorous. Other factors can trump economic ones. They have in the past.

    I favor engagement and trade with China. However, I also believe the U.S. can ill afford to ignore its critical regional interests and the needs of its regional allies. There are areas of broad common interest between China and the U.S. on which a productive relationship can be based. However, there are also differences. Those differences need to be managed carefully.
    Have we ever not paid attention to that region. I don't believe we have.
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    Re: Philippines protests to China over oil rig plan

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Have we ever not paid attention to that region. I don't believe we have.
    I'm not suggesting that the U.S. has not paid attention to the region. It certainly has in the post-WW II timeframe.

    My worry is that, much like the Middle East, U.S. policy is becoming increasingly ad hoc and reactive. As a result, the U.S. risks falling behind events or getting overly involved in peripheral matters that have little connection to its critical interests (Somalia was one example in the past; Libya is one recent example). Taking a disproportionately reactive approach reduces the United States' strategic options. Reduced strategic flexibility entails higher costs and diminished capacity to shape events, both of which will become even riskier in an era of fiscal consolidation that is both inevitable and necessary.

    U.S. foreign policy needs to be more proactive so as to reduce the risks of miscalculations and maximize the United States' ability to help shape events in a fashion that is compatible with its interests and the needs of its allies. China's recent actions are, in part, an expression of how China views the South China Sea with respect to its interests and aspirations. It is also, in part, a reflection of its calculations pertaining to the expected response by the United States and neighboring states, as well as their actual capabilities to respond. The U.S. might not be able to have much short-term impact on the former situation. It has a lot of capacity to affect the latter one.

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    Re: Philippines protests to China over oil rig plan

    Quote Originally Posted by tlmorg02 View Post
    Here is my main concern guys, all this talk sounds like "containment," and that is the one policy that Beijing continuously claims the US is trying to do, even as Chinese authorities assert that China has no goals of expansion. However, I do think that as the economic history pendulum continues to swing the other direction (China was after all the world power when Europe was in the Dark Ages) and the economies of the East once again ascend to the top, the Beijing government is going to indeed find itself with evermore power. Thus, as Ludahai, I believe it was said, if we are really talking about containment, Russia must be on board and understand that China is a great potential threat to them as well.

    I would suggest some sort of meeting in Beijing that would include the Southeast Asian nations, as well as Russia and the US. Though international cooperation must be the catch phrase, as any allusion to containment will automatically put Beijing on the defensive.
    I do not favor attempts at Containment. Such an approach would only reinforce China's historic fears, rekindle memories of the tragedies China suffered during the 19th and 20th centuries, and lay a foundation for a bad relationship even as the region's balance of power shifts toward greater Chinese influence. Such an effort very likely would fail and worse, would probably create a self-fulfilling prophecy of a belligerent China.

    Cooperation should be pursued in the broad areas of common interest. Diplomacy should seek to find mutually acceptable remedies for areas of difference so as to preserve regional stability and mitigate the risks of miscalculation/conflict and, IMO, creative diplomacy can offer mutually-acceptable solutions for the South China Sea dispute. Respect for international law and use of that framework to create a process for resolving that dispute is a good starting point.

    Finally, all the parties need to clearly articulate their critical interests (to avoid misunderstanding) and the U.S. also needs to assure that its commitments to the region and its allies remain credible (to reduce the risk of miscalculations). The combination of looming fiscal consolidation, which almost certainly will have a short- and medium-term impact on U.S. power, and neo-isolationist rhetoric among some political figures creates credibility challenges. Ineffectual diplomacy can only exacerbate those challenges and increase prospects of destabilizing events.

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