The rhetoric is heating up in East Asia:
The Chinese foreign minister took a strong stand Saturday on China’s growing territorial disputes with neighboring nations, saying that “there is no room for compromise” with Japan and that China would “never accept unreasonable demands from smaller countries,” an apparent reference to Southeast Asian nations.
It’s almost as if China senses that a rattled U.S. administration, preoccupied by events in Ukraine and the Middle East, anxious to avoid confrontation, and yearning to slash military spending, won’t offer much of a response. This is not a sign that China is embracing the role of a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in the current world system, and it appears that America’s challenges in the Far East are growing, not shrinking.One can hope that behind the scenes Washington is working with allies to come up with an effective response, and it may be that low key, quiet diplomacy offers the best method to handle this problem. But we have our doubts. The administration’s global credibility is at a low ebb, and while we don’t want to see this (or any) U.S. administration indulge in chest-thumping histrionics, it seems increasingly clear that the current policy mix isn’t making the world more stable or American interests more secure.