What will Australia do?
As China successfully(so it seems) takes over a pile of rocks jutting from the ocean, builds onto them, creates a massively long runway, a harbor etc, the folks over in the Philippines continue to freak out. At the risk of sounding nationalistic, or myself Empire Driven, one has to wonder just what the hell the Philippines was thinking when it asked the US Navy to leave oh so long ago way back in 1992?
Did it think China would “stay down” forever?
Anyways, that is now neither here nor there, as methinks the USN will be in the Philippines now for the foreseeable future.
Nope, the question isn’t the Philippines…..nor Vietnam…or even Malaysia or Indonesia. Certainly not Japan. Or even South Korea (yet….their day of decisionmaking though is still approaching).
What America needs is one or two nations to stand with it and say something to China like,
“Hey you can’t do that!”
China otherwise will simply not be impressed.
What it needs is Australia.
The US “violating” “Chinese sovereignty” ie sailing within 12 miles of a rock is actually commonplace enough to not really merit being a big deal at the moment. But has any other nation done so? And that is the problem.
Don’t get me wrong, the US would love to see Vietnam or South Korea or Japan, (WHOEVER) do the same. Even a simple flyover would do.
As such, this type of multi-lateralism may not do these nations any good. They live in this neighborhood and the US doesn’t. And it seems to me they have little faith in the ability of the USN to do anything about it. One can see now while Clinton himself was dogged for being the president to “let Bin Laden get away”, so will Obama be the one dogged years from now for letting China dominate the area “on his watch”.
The US is in a tough spot. Nations in the area are all asking “how it came to this”?
Unfortunately, any half serious naval power big enough to mean anything, ie Korea or Japan, are simply too far away from the area to quite frankly give a damn. And one can argue Australia is as well. While much closer to the action than either Korea or Japan, it can still within reason simply use distance as an excuse for inaction.
But you aren’t that far away, Australia.
Australia sits only all so slightly “behind the lines”. It is positioned in a way that puts it behind both Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as the Philippines.
Quite some time ago I wrote an article about Australia and the inevitable economic dominance China will have over the nation within probably a few simple decades from now. It will be utter and complete economic domination, and while Australia will sure enough prosper in my view it will become not much different than a Chinese outpost or province.
In short, Australia is cursed by geography. Sensitive enough to any sort of enlarged economic dominance by the Yanks, it will be even harder to accept that which is surely coming from a culture of which Australia shares little in common.
For instance, while we are taught to “forgive and forget”, most of us simply forgive but have the human problem of forgetting. The Chinese however are your worst case scenario: they will not forgive and sure as hell will not forget.
China in short is not an easy neighbor to live with, and while we all believed China’s Rise was both gonna happen and be a good thing, dare I say nobody saw this challenge to the World Order coming….?
So Australia must choose wisely.
Australia has to take a stand, one way or the other. Angering its new found 老大 will without question hurt the Australian economy. That’s just how China rolls.
What identity as a nation does Australia which to project? What does Australia want to represent?
The United States desperately needs help. And the only nation of consequence within the area it may be able to count upon is Australia. The USN needs the Australian navy to conduct a joint patrol with the USN within the 12 mile area. It needs Australia to show the flag. If not, than this looming confrontation is simply going to be painted as only one nation against another. Collaboration is the only way to induce change within China.
Let this be a reminder to all Americans having a President that cares about the “important things” such as health care, or income disparity is all good and fine, but you better understand foreign policy as well. And you’d better be a tough son of a bitch. Obama may have slightly grown into the former, but he is out of his league with the latter. It is indeed true that when dealing with China nice guys finish last. (funny, one would’ve thought his half brother in China would’ve given him all the advice necessary to deal with the Heavenly Kingdom…?)
We all know Australia will do nothing, and while I can’t really blame Australia for that, it would be nice to see someone step up. Too many nations need help here, and someone aside from America needs to show the flag. Who will it be? Because if we have one more “nice guy” as President of the USA, China may very well be at Australia’s doorstep.