After more than a year of provocation and saber rattling, the very real threat of an armed conflict with China is coming to fruition. While Americans opened presents during the holidays, the Chinese government began flexing its military might in the Eastern Pacific — up to, and including, talk of putting its carrier fleet off the coast of the United States.
It is important to note that US foreign policy over the last year and a half has enabled this unprecedented show of force by the Chinese.
In October 2015, in an apparent move meant to project U.S. military power to the Chinese government, American officials announced that U.S. Navy warships will sail directly through a Chinese claimed 12-nautical mile zone in the disputed region of the South China Sea.
The contested waters around the Spratly Islands, which China claims as its own sovereign territory, have been the cause of intense controversy. The U.S. has refused to recognize China’s territorial claims and believes the disputed area resides in international waters.
Then, in March, the US Navy dispatched a small armada to the South China Sea. Consisting of the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier, two cruisers, two destroyers, and the 7th Fleet flagship, the US made its mission clear — we are not scared of kicking off World War III.
Confirmed by the Navy Times, the stand-off has been heating up on both sides. After news in February that the Chinese deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile battery to the Paracel Islands, U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Harry Harris told lawmakers that China was militarizing the South China Sea.
The constant US military presence in the area undoubtedly forced the hand of the Chinese as enough firepower to level a small nation sitting in your backyard cannot be seen as a simple peacekeeping mission.
On Christmas Day, the Chinese government made clear to the world that they are now a force to be reckoned with. The state-run Global Times media agency published an editorial calling on the nation to show its capabilities.
“When China’s aircraft carrier fleet appears in offshore areas of the US one day, it will trigger intense thinking about maritime rules.
“If the fleet is able to enter areas where the US has core interests, the situation when the US unilaterally imposes pressure on China will change,” the Global Times said.
Last week, after practicing air confrontations and refueling, the Chinese Liaoning carrier began heading east into the open Pacific beyond Taiwan and Okinawa — toward the US border.
In an ominous statement, the editorial called on China to boost construction of their homemade aircraft carriers “so as to activate their combat.”
For months, analysts have been noting the obvious provocation by the US military and its potential for a global conflict — and now, it appears closer than ever.
In August, the Chinese defense minister urged citizens to begin “substantial preparation for a people’s war at sea.”
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan also warned of “offshore security threats” and the need to acknowledge the gravity of risk to China’s national security; and advised the military, police, and populace to ready for mobilization to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to state news agency, Xinhua.
The Free Thought Project has been documenting this escalation since the beginning and has predicted this very scenario. However, the US has been ignoring the potential repercussions of its actions as well as the warnings from the Chinese if the provocations continued.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has played a large role in making sure there is plenty of conflict with China through ignoring the fact that the Chinese are simply reacting to the US presence in the area.
In March, Carter, in an evident failure of logic, warned China to halt their militarization of the region, or the US will further militarize the region.
“China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea,” Carter said in a speech in San Francisco. “Specific actions will have specific consequences.”
In other words, Carter demanded that China allows the US military to continue to amass forces in their backyard and sit idly by. Any attempt to react to the presence of US destroyers, aircraft carriers, and missile systems will be seen as ‘militarization’ and will have ‘consequences.’
In the in the Global Times China summed up their situation, noting, “Chinese people love peace, but the Chinese military must be resolute. China will not be easily irritated, but once it is, it will take firm countermeasures. The Liaoning and its fleet is expected to experience the cruel geopolitical competition and become a standard bearer of the Chinese navy.”
As the global economy teeters on the edge of collapse, the U.S. has ramped up its saber rattling, not only with China but with the Russians as well. While America spends more on war than anyone else in the world, the idea that they can take on China and Russia simultaneously is deadly insane.