Imminent War in the Offing

By Erick San Juan

US-vs-China.2Is war between the US and China imminent as what Steve Bannon, who is President Donald Trump’s chief political strategist said last March?

According to Steve Bannon the United States will go to war with China in “five to 10 years” over the South China Sea dispute.

The said comments resurfaced at a time when Washington and Beijing’s relations have soured after Trump questioned the “One China” policy and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should be barred from islands in the contested region.

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we? There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it’s an ancient territorial sea,” Bannon said on a radio show hosted for Breitbart in March 2016. (Source: Vishakha Sonawane at IBT online)

US President Donald Trump even before his inauguration released some pronouncements that are not pleasant to China’s ears. One of these very hot issues is the One China Policy – “A state-run Chinese newspaper warned Sunday that Beijing will take “revenge” if the United States abandons the “one China” policy under Donald Trump’s administration. The comments came after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made a stopover in Houston.

“Trump is yet to be inaugurated, and there is no need for Beijing to sacrifice bilateral ties for the sake of Taiwan. But in case he tears up the one-China policy after taking office, the mainland is fully prepared,” the Global Times said in an editorial. “Beijing would rather break ties with the US if necessary. We would like to see whether US voters will support their president to ruin Sino-US relations and destabilize the entire Asia-Pacific region.”

“If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining,” the newspaper warned.

“Under the ‘one China’ policy, there is only a single state called ‘China’ despite there being two governments. People’s Republic of China, popularly known as the mainland China, considers Taiwan (officially known as Republic of China) a renegade province. However, Taiwan considers itself an independent country. Both PRC and Taiwan claim to be the lawful government of one China, but in reality, Taiwan has control only over a few small islands.”

“Sticking to [the one China] principle is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific,” the Global Times said.

In its editorial, the Global Times also said that China “will impose further military pressure” on Taiwan and “Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes.” (Vishakha Sonawane for IBT)

Like a programmed scenario, delays can happen but it will happen and the US-Sino relations is not getting any better.

In his article China Jockeying for Position in South China Sea, Larry Edelson writes, “Hullabaloo over President Trump’s policies, his nationalist stance and fears over potential trade conflicts may have turned some investors’ focus away from numerous geopolitical hotspots.

But not mine.

In fact, these hotspots are going to get worse before they get better … and they play right into my larger War Cycle research.”

Take for example the latest – and frankly stealthy developments – growing from the budding romance between China and the Philippines.

No question this duo has experienced their share of conflict – but that’s changing. Especially as China contemplates its military ambitions and the Philippines’ strategic location in the South China Sea. Plus, it’s no secret that the Philippines’ populist President Rodrigo Duterte is open to a new relationship with China.

Let’s Make a Deal

In late January, China made good on an initial $3.7 billion investment (part of a $24 billion deal) to aid the Philippines in numerous infrastructure projects. The investment represents a massive 75% of total foreign investment into the Philippines throughout 2015 ($4.9 billion).

And you can be certain this investment is not a philanthropic exercise to help their neighbor.

From my lens, China’s maneuvering is to gain naval access beyond the first island chain and ultimately station military assets at a strategic location in the Pacific.

Complications

The U.S. has a defense treaty with the Philippines, allowing U.S. warships to move freely from the Pacific to Middle East war zones in return for U.S. defense.

But that’s in jeopardy after the U.S. didn’t adequately come to the Philippines’ defense when China took control of Scarborough Shoal and other islands. And that’s territory that China is now building runways and stationing missile batteries on.

Meanwhile, China’s late 2016 seizure of an American underwater surveillance drone in the region underscores the tense and volatile relationship.

The conflict is further aggravated by comments from newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding tensions in the South China Sea: “We’re going to send China a clear signal that … island-building stops and access to those islands is not going to be allowed.”

Wow. Talk about a South Pacific powder keg.”

Indeed a powder keg waiting for an event that can ignite it to a real shooting war. Which reminds us all to be ever vigilant and supportive of our president’s correct policies to avoid another war not of our liking and definitely not to be used again as cannon fodder in the process.

The war cycle is on. Most nations in the know are all preparing for it especially big powers with overheating economy involved in the military industrial complex. Let’s all be vigilant!


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