Despite the Coronavirus, despite the Hague Rulings, despite the Philippines now cozying back up to the United States, China continues its maritime march to dominate its neighbors and eventually the world.
Sounds crazy? Let’s look at the facts:
In 2012, China and the Phillipines agreed to move away from Scarborough Shoals, a shoaling area frequented by Phillipine fishermen and inside Phillipines EEZ. Phillipine forces left, Chinese ones did not. Now, in 2020, we’re worrying about China reclaiming land around these shoals. Reclamation and militarization of other fake islands continued, with Fiery Cross now able to support H-6K bombers.
In 2014, China deliberately moved an oil drilling platform, the Hai Yang Shi You 981, into Vietnamese waters and drilled for oil, all while protecting the platform with a ring of maritime militia vessels. Was it a one-time incident? Nope. China continues to harass fishermen in the area.
In 2020, a Chinese investor purchased a Keswick Island near Australia and is essentially pushing out the Australian residents. At the same time, the Chinese government is working its economic and social media muscle on Australia.
When people discovered China’s 251 dash line, China was quick to dismiss it as a joke. China would never lay claim to Hawaii, they said. They would never work against the United States to separate Hawaii. In case you thought that was old, try tracking the large Chinese fishing fleet that finds itself off the Galapagos, North Korea, and Chile. It won’t be long till they discover the Atlantic Ocean.
The hard reckoning with China is coming. Just like Nazi Germany, they will continue to do as much grabbing as they can without getting a response from the international community. Just like the invasion of Poland, something is going to trigger a conflict. Maybe it’ll be Taiwan, or the Senkakus, or North Korea, or a remote mountain outpost on the Indian border, or even something in Tajikistan or Kazakhstan. Something is going to push another country to a redline, and kinetic weapons are going to fly. Maybe even nuclear ones too. At that point, we’re going to have to pick a side, because its not something we can sit out.
We can’t sit it out because we’re the last “stop” for China. Nothing else is going to stop them except US resolve. We can’t outspend China like we did Russia. China is smart enough to pay people well to steal US secrets, a mistake the Russians made during the Cold War. Relying on patriotism or social justice to insulate the US from China doesn’t work when even Google, supposidly a hot-bed of social justice warriors, looks the other way on issues like Xinjiang and even actively works on a filtered search engine for the Chinese government. The Chinese movements in the maritime are just the precursor for a bigger movement to usurp the world order.
It’s coming, whether its in 2021, 2025 or 2030, that hard reckoning is coming.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.