China has reason to be happy with its controversial Air Defense Identification Zone: it is helping drive a wedge between the US and its Asian allies, especially with Japan. The FT has the story:
Joe Biden, the US vice-president … stopped short of joining Japanese leaders in demanding that the zone be scrapped.[E]ven as he reiterated that the US was “deeply concerned” that China’s declaration of a wide air defence identification zone in November risked “accidents and miscalculations”, he did not demand that the perimeter be formally withdrawn.
Beijing will be pleased. Part of its “cabbage strategy” is to gradually push the US military out of east and southeast Asia by probing the limits of the US commitment to the region and, hopefully, estranging the US and its Asian allies. Washington taking a weaker line on China’s ADIZ than Japan will be seen as a sign the strategy is working.The US “pivot”, and Washington’s enduring commitment to stability and prosperity in Asia, is one of the most important geopolitical strategies of the Obama administration. It is a bipartisan goal, and whoever takes office after President Obama will likely support it. But in this sensitive time, as rising China tests the US and other Asian powers, Washington mustn’t give its Asian allies any reason to doubt that the US is anything short of fully committed to the region for the long term.