SCS : Too Risky to Tread?
By Erick San Juan
In the history of maritime navigation, particularly on the British imperial navigational charts, most parts of the South China Sea with all its small islands, rocks, reefs and low-tide elevations was once considered as hazards to ships and other marine vessels . It was actually called the “Dangerous Grounds” and perceived as very risky for sea navigation. (Source : Is the South China Sea a new ‘Dangerous Ground’ for US-China rivalry? By Chengxin Pan, Deakin University)
It still holds true today but in a different perspective.
It is still perceived as the “Dangerous Grounds” but now it is different, it is now man-made, the area was transformed into a garrison. Claimants on the SCS’ disputed areas had put up or reinforced their military presence that made the region as the most contested area in the world. Fears of a brewing regional conflict intensified as the United States shifted its naval forces in the said area and renewed its support to some of its allies.
As an observer of events, this building up of tensions in the region can be associated to the economic realities being experienced by the key players – US and China.
To quote from - “Is the Chinese Economy Sputtering for the Same Reasons as the American Economy?” by Washington's Blog :
And Charles Hugh Smith argues:
Despite their many differences, the economies of China and the U.S. share a number of key traits: both are corrupt, rigged, crony-capitalist, rely on phony statistics and propaganda and operate with two sets of rules: one for the elites and another for the masses.
Lou Jiwei - the chairman of China’s sovereign wealth fund, recently told a forum organized by the Brookings Institution and the Chinese Economists 50 Forum, a Beijing think-tank that:
Both China and America are addressing bubbles by creating more bubbles and we’re just taking advantage of that. While Americans are focused on the bursting of the American housing bubble, the bubble in residential and commercial real estate was global, including China.
As Northwestern University's Victor Shih points out, the Chinese government will slowly reveal more and more of the true ratio of bad loans to good loans, and raise its figures for local government debt. Shih says that recapitalizing Chinese banks to cover losses for the bad loans will eat up more and more of China's reserves.
The Telegraph noted last June:
China's chief auditor has warned that high levels of local government debt could derail the country's economy, with some observers suggesting that a number of Chinese provinces are even more fiscally-troubled than Greece. (Ibid)
The abovementioned 'quotable quotes' are just some reports that world economies are failing to see especially US and even China. Such situation could possibly push them to look for an outside enemy and create war in the process.
The world had experienced wars of great magnitude in contemporary history and for sure if such world war will happen now, God forbid, it would be a mutually assured destruction (MAD) due to nuclear armaments.
Currently, word wars coming from the claimants in the SCS are actually not helping to ease the tensions. Added to this is the “show of force” by all camps near the contested area and the never-ending naval military exercises aggravated by the presence of the US.
Sadly, our country seems to be taken for a ride here by Uncle Sam, promising military assistance and full support while in reality we are paying for these military junks and for the training of our soldiers using possibly the royalties we get from Malampaya.
Our nation is gradually falling for the trap and we are giving way for another conflict not of our choosing. The worst, even the media is being manipulated to release the photos and information about the war capability of the US in preparation for the so called "Balikatan" military exercises. The chinese, both our local and from China, whether we like it or not are intrigued and agitated. We never learn our lessons from history and worst we tend to repeat it.