Asia's Game of Thrones
China Declares Right to Build on Disputed Islets
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  • Boritz

    Wish they were in charge of getting Keystone approved. &nbspTom Friedman admires their system for its expediency and lack of partisan gridlock and maybe he’s right after all.

  • FriendlyGoat

    This is all troubling for those who dispute these territories but the question is what, if any, right, obligation and capability does America have to determine the outcomes of things near China?

    • Andrew Allison

      Support for the rule of law?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Okay. To what physical extent and at what cost?

        • Andrew Allison

          Whatever it takes to fulfill treaty obligations. As illustrated by, e.g., the run-up to WW-II, the longer you vacillate, the higher the cost.

          • Thirdsyphon

            The U.S. has no treaty obligation to enforce anyone’s claim to the Spratly Islands, and no vital national interests there beyond ensuring the safe passage of civilian shipping through the region. As illustrated by, e.g., the run up to WW-I, senseless confrontations will surely come to those who seek them.

          • Andrew Allison

            The question to which I responded was, “what, if any, right, obligation and capability does America have to determine the outcomes of things near China?”, not the Spratlys. We do, in fact, have defense treaty obligations toward, e.g. Australia, India Japan and the Philippines. I agree about senseless confrontations and ensuring the safe passage of civilian shipping through the region.

          • Thirdsyphon

            Our Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines was drafted (perhaps with this contingency in mind) to cover only “an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.” The South China Sea may or may not be part of the Pacific Ocean, but unless China claims the Spratlys with an “armed attack”, the treaty doesn’t cover it. Moreover, all the Mutual Defense Treaty formally requires is that “an attack on either party will be acted upon in accordance with their constitutional processes and that any armed attack on either party will be brought to the attention of the United Nations for immediate action.”

            On my reading, the MDT was designed (like the Ukraine Memorandum) to offer the United States a handy casus belli if we happen to be spoiling for a fight, and an equally handy “off ramp” if we happen to not be.

          • Andrew Allison

            At the risk of being repetitious, “The question to which I responded was, “‘what, if any, right, obligation and capability does America have to determine the outcomes of things near China?’, not the Spratlys.” Did you overlook the bit about “or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.” I reiterate that I agree about senseless confrontations and ensuring the safe passage of civilian shipping through the region. In ending this conversation, may I draw your attention to the consequences of turning a blind eye to the obligations of the Budapest Memorandum.

  • Breif2

    Now this is a prime example of why it important to carefuly weigh the pros and cons of all decisions. For example, we know beyond all possible, conceivable, remotely imaginable doubt that our carbon emissions are causing runaway global warming, and that this will cause a rise in the oceans. But instead of fixating solely on the costs of this rise, should we not consider the possibility that if such a rise submerges these disputed islets, this could preempt hostilities in the South China Sea, avoiding much human suffering, and more importantly, avoiding the adverse ecological consequences of warfare?

    [/humor]

    (By the way, shouldn’t the term “South China Sea” be as controversial as “Persian Gulf”?)

  • Duperray

    China Sea resources, altogether with Shakaline Islands, Ostoik Sea clathrates and some others, are large enough to supply the many surrounding States with abundant, cheap and long duration Energy. In case one of them tries to get everything in its pocket, unstability and war will occur. Let’s not politicized this zone. Japan and China have to settle their long destrutive history and look towards future. America, lying 10,000 miles away has no longer anything to do there: How come China could tolerate US Navy/Army/AirForces presence a few miles away? We are no longer in 1945 or 1953. North Korea would fall like a ripe fruit, because chinese support (to trap US) would be no longer necessary.
    But Mr Narcissic-n°1-Fire-Ligther likes confrontation and be sure the opposite is under development.

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