Bears? I’m worried about dragons

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Bears? I'm worried about dragons

This week the press freaked out about a Russ­ian spy ship off the east­ern coast. It even man­aged to roll up my way, obvi­ously hop­ing to cap­ture infor­ma­tion about sub­ma­rine oper­a­tions near Gro­ton.


The Vik­tor Leonov, from shipspot​ting​.com

The truth is, this is nor­mal. The Vik­tor Leonov didn’t vio­late any rules. It didn’t cross into ter­ri­to­r­ial waters. It didn’t get in the mid­dle of a live naval exer­cise. It oper­ated in inter­na­tional waters accord­ing to the rules. Before we jump all over Rus­sia, real­ize that the United States puts war­ships in their back­yard and con­ducts mil­i­tary exer­cises near their bor­ders on a reg­u­lar basis. Allow­ing this ves­sel to oper­ate where it did is part of being a respon­si­ble mem­ber of the estab­lished world order, an order that has given pros­per­ity to all nations around the world.

What we should be afraid of is attempts to dis­man­tle this order, which is exactly what China is attempt­ing to do with a revi­sion to its mar­itime law:

The draft revi­sions stip­u­late that author­i­ties will be able to des­ig­nate spe­cific areas and tem­porar­ily bar for­eign ships from pass­ing through those areas accord­ing to their own assess­ment of mar­itime traf­fic safety.…“As a sov­er­eign State and the biggest coastal State in, for exam­ple, the South China Sea, China is enti­tled to adjust its mar­itime laws as needed, which will also pro­mote peace and sta­ble devel­op­ment in the waters,” Wang said.

This should frighten peo­ple. China already con­sid­ers the entire South China Sea to be its ter­ri­to­r­ial waters. They’ve gone so far as to plant Chi­nese flags on the sea floor. The cer­tainly don’t respect prop­erty rights in the area either, as demon­strated by the ille­gal seizure of a US unmanned drone.

And in case it still doesn’t scare you:

“China’s waters are open to for­eign ships as long as they do not dam­age the waters’ safety, order, or China’s sov­er­eignty,” Yang said

China’s sov­er­eignty. Which begs the ques­tion, what is China?

[cap­tion id=”” align=“alignnone” width=“556”] What is China? From Wikipedia.[/caption]

That def­i­n­i­tion seems to keep expand­ing. As the above graphic shows, what is China has mor­phed over the years. Now it includes Tai­wan, Tibet and Xin­jiang, and appar­ently the South China Sea, and even per­haps Hawaii.

That should scare us. The bear, while a prob­lem, is devi­at­ing from the rule book. The dragon is throw­ing out the book entirely.


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not the views of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other fed­eral agency. The fea­tured image is from polit​i​cal​fo​rum​.com.

Drop some money in Da Tip Jar, because oth­er­wise CNN wins, and we all know they are fake news. And stop by my blog when you get a chance.

This week the press freaked out about a Russian spy ship off the eastern coast.  It even managed to roll up my way, obviously hoping to capture information about submarine operations near Groton.


The Viktor Leonov, from shipspotting.com

The truth is, this is normal.  The Viktor Leonov didn’t violate any rules.  It didn’t cross into territorial waters.  It didn’t get in the middle of a live naval exercise.  It operated in international waters according to the rules.  Before we jump all over Russia, realize that the United States puts warships in their backyard and conducts military exercises near their borders on a regular basis.  Allowing this vessel to operate where it did is part of being a responsible member of the established world order, an order that has given prosperity to all nations around the world.

What we should be afraid of is attempts to dismantle this order, which is exactly what China is attempting to do with a revision to its maritime law:

The draft revisions stipulate that authorities will be able to designate specific areas and temporarily bar foreign ships from passing through those areas according to their own assessment of maritime traffic safety….”As a sovereign State and the biggest coastal State in, for example, the South China Sea, China is entitled to adjust its maritime laws as needed, which will also promote peace and stable development in the waters,” Wang said.

This should frighten people.  China already considers the entire South China Sea to be its territorial waters.  They’ve gone so far as to plant Chinese flags on the sea floor.  The certainly don’t respect property rights in the area either, as demonstrated by the illegal seizure of a US unmanned drone.

And in case it still doesn’t scare you:

“China’s waters are open to foreign ships as long as they do not damage the waters’ safety, order, or China’s sovereignty,” Yang said

China’s sovereignty.  Which begs the question, what is China?

What is China? From Wikipedia.

That definition seems to keep expanding.  As the above graphic shows, what is China has morphed over the years.  Now it includes Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, and apparently the South China Sea, and even perhaps Hawaii.

That should scare us.  The bear, while a problem, is deviating from the rule book.  The dragon is throwing out the book entirely.


This post represents the views of the author and not the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  The featured image is from politicalforum.com.

Drop some money in Da Tip Jar, because otherwise CNN wins, and we all know they are fake news. And stop by my blog when you get a chance.