Who Do We Turn To? by Erick San Juan
Washington continues to implement it's political and military plans in the Asia Pacific region and expand it's presence in the region as a counterweight to China's interests. At the Nato summit in Chicago recently, the United States announced the completion of the first stage of the Asian segment of the U.S. global missile defense system. In Japan, Patriot air defense systems are on alert. The U.S. and Japanese destroyers are equipped with the latest maritime defense component, the Aegis system. Each year, the U.S. Navy participate in over 170 military exercises and visit over 250 ports in the region. Oppositors are not convinced and believe that the U.S. is just using this pretext of protecting Japan and South Korea from the North Korean missile threat.
According to strategic observers, terrritorial disputes in South China Sea between countries in the region should be resolved only under international law while China believe that it must be between the parties involved in the dispute. Internationalization of these problems can reportedly cause undesirable consequences which could drag the security of the region, The Asean community has seen this during the stand off between the Philippines and China. The Philippine government is perceived to be a willing tool in the U.S. expansionism. Even the U.S. Coast guards took part in the said military exercises as part of the maritime security operation.
The American government is even willing to offer their services to the Asean nations to contain China. The U.S. assistant secretary for political and military affairs, Andrew Shapiro, talked about this with the military leadership of Thailand at a meeting in Bangkok last June 22,2012. Shapiro added that his government's defense establishment is ready to participate in creating a system of deterrence to any possible threat. The 'permanent' stay of the U.S. military in the region was perfectly achieved through the accreditation of their humanitarian and rescue operation centers.
According to the "China Choice", a new book written by Professor Hugh White of the Autralia's National University's Strategic Studies and a veteran China watcher, if America tries to be dominant, if it tries to keep China in the box, that it has been in these last few decades, then China's going to push back. That's going to make rivalry more likely. Just like the Asean, Australia will be faced with that terrible situation of having to make a choice between U.S. and China, which is really a choice we don't want to make, we can't afford to make. White added that as rivalry grows, a clash could ensue and grow to a war. the war could become a nuclear war if the two sides are'nt very careful. A risk that we all have to be conscious of.
Philippa McDonald, reporter of ABC news in Australia said that Australia is reliant on China for it's prosperity and the U.S. for it's security blanket. But former Australian ambassador to China, Stephen Fitzgerald, said that strengthening U.S. alliance and hosting hundreds of American marines in down under is risky. Fitzgerald believe that despite the denial of their government, the deployment is clearly aimed at China. It is just like choosing the devil and the deep blue sea.
In this kind of situation, who do we turn to?