The United States Navy sent the U.S.S. Lassen (DDG-82) within 12 miles of the artificial island built on Subi Reef last week. Subi Reef, an insignificant atoll in the South China Sea, has gained prominence as part of China’s stunningly illegal maritime expansion.
The Chinese government made the usual denunciations of American policy, while the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) stepped up its training and increased the number of exercises it is conducting in the area.
“The action by the U.S. warship has threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangered the safety of personnel and facilities on the islands and damaged regional peace and stability,” said Lu Kang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman.
It is odd that the actions of five Chinese warships didn’t threaten American security when they sailed within 12 miles of the coast of Alaska in early September, but, then again, the United States isn’t trying to bully Canada into economic submission. Well, not with military action, anyway.
China wants to play the victim here. If enough people believe the American Navy is acting offensively in the South China Seas, world opinion might be negative enough to force the Navy to scale down on the planned Freedom of Navigation exercises that are coming.
Unfortunately, that is not an unreasonable assumption. The Russians may claim that they will step in and ensure that Syria has disposed of its chemical weapons China is not militarizing artificial islands outside of the legal 12 mile limit. The good news is that we have heard this song and dance before and someone appears to be trying to get out in front of it.
“We’ve been conducting freedom of navigation operations all over the world for decades, so no one should be surprised by them,” said Admiral Harry B. Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, in Beijing. “The South China Sea is not, and will not, be an exception.”
The possibility of escalation in the area is high. Overzealousness on the part of on-scene commanders, miscommunication or simple stupidity could create an incident that could impact the lives of the sailors and airmen, from both countries, in the area. China needs to remember that they are not Russia.
That may sound strange, but with the Russians you expect stupid actions. The Cold War set the bar very high on what the Soviets could get away with. For good or bad, the Russians have inherited that mantle. Sending aircraft within a mile of a nuclear powered carrier in international waters is a bad decision. The situation did not escalate, but it does raise questions about how the Chinese interpret the incident.
Not everything is doom and gloom, however. According to the International Communist League, the United States has returned to its successful policies of being “imperialist mass murderers.” It worked for us (with a few exceptions) since the end of the Second World War, it could still be the winning strategy. Imperialist running dogs of the world, Unite!
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.