It has been a very hard process pivoting to Asia. Every time events in the South China Sea, or in the areas around it, are brought into focus, other parts of the world demand our attention. China is building airstrips on rocks in disputed territory in the South China Sea. These construction projects basically turn a group of rocks into an armed extension of the Chinese nation. Once built, the airstrips give China the ability to say that they are already there and it will take military action to dislodge them.
The United States, the only nation with the assets to dislodge them, is occupied with Al Qaida attacks in Yemen that have toppled a government that was superficially friendly to us, or with sending approximately 300 paratroopers to Ukraine to train with that country’s National Guard. The soldiers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade have already been accused by Russian Defense officials of destabilizing the situation. The Iranian nuclear agreement is taking up a large portion of American politician’s attention and most of the remainder is focused on the nascent 2016 presidential campaign that is kicking off across the U.S.
Obviously China has not manufactured these situations, but it is taking advantage of the situation by aggressively establishing forward bases that its neighbors cannot stop. This has been China’s modus operandi for the last several years. China pushes forward, aggressively, until one of its neighbors resists. This resistance usually comes in the form of asking their more powerful allies for help. Since many of the neighboring countries are allies of the United States – Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, etc. – the government in Washington threatens to “pivot” to Asia.
This threat usually slows down Chinese aggressiveness, for a time, but once other situations take this country’s attention away the Chinese resume or instigate new territorial disputes. Each time, though, China doesn’t retreat all the way back to the starting line. There will come a day when the American government wakes up to find that China has de facto control of the South China Sea. Our allies and the independent countries, as well as the massive shipping that flows through the area, will be under the control of China and it will be much too late for a pivot to do any good.
The Chinese government understands the concept of playing the long game better than anyone else in the world.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.