Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Man-made Crisis by Design

Man-made Crisis by Design
Erick San Juan

This year’s IISS Asia Security Summit: Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) in Singapore which I attended could be summed up in one word – ......... Plenty of it especially by the G2 - China and the US.

Actually, Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is an inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states. The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002.

The summit serves to cultivate a sense of community among the most important policymakers in the defense and security community in the region. Government delegations have made the best out of the meeting by holding bilateral meetings with other delegations on the sidelines of the conference. While primarily an inter-governmental meeting, the summit is also attended by legislators, academic experts, distinguished journalists and business delegates.

But as what the expert, John Chipman, the Director General and Chief Executive of the IISS said "Every year seems to produce an awful lot of tension in the Asia-Pacific."

"Certainly in the last four or five years, we have been confronted by North Korean missile tests or launches and all sorts of controversy over the South China Sea - the East China Sea this year has been particularly busy," he notes.

"So the Shangri-La Dialogue offers an opportunity," he argues, "to pause the button for a moment and have all the defense ministers of the region and those who have a stake in Asia-Pacific security to discuss what the problems are and how they might begin to address them more effectively. (Source: Jonathan Marcus BBC defense correspondent)

But how can the defense ministers tackle the issues and problems when they are hiding under the veil of rhetoric?  Or maybe such doublespeak is intended to cover up the real scenario that the G2 (US and China) wanted to happen.

In truth, not everything that happens in this world is by accident. Most of them are crisis by design and programmed scenarios. Just like the South China Sea flashpoints where the Philippines, China and Vietnam could be the epicenter of conflict.

The mere fact that as a country we are striving to modernize our armed forces (with museum-grade war materiel) in the midst of the growing tension in the region by engaging with more provocations than diplomacy in territorial disputes with China, and recently with Taiwan.

Unfortunately we are helpless and just could not depend on the ‘big brother’ for assistance if ever there will be an attack from the outside.

Although some pundits say that Vietnam and China could spark the conflict in the region.  Actually the most recent one was two months ago when Vietnam accused a Chinese vessel of firing on their fishing boat near the Paracel islands, setting it alight. But China’s foreign ministry said that it was  a ‘legitimate’ action.

Confrontations like this will take place in a regular basis in the contested areas in the SCS among the claimants and China if there will be no clear discussions on the matter. And, a regional conflict is in the offing between China and Vietnam as what I have written in the Customsweek several years ago (in the 90's) because this is a long time studied scenario that I learned from the Heritage Foundation.

And like any crisis by design, the question will always be – who will benefit?

Remember that two important ‘meetings’ will happen this month – one, between US President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China which will take place in an ‘informal manner’ in California (June 7 and 8) and two, the 61st annual Bilderberg conference that will take place in The Grove Hotel, United Kingdom (June 6 to 9).

Is it possible that  the planned SCS regional war where the epicenter could be between China and Vietnam will serve as a leverage for the Obama – Xi meeting or with the Bilderberg conference? Just asking.


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