The South Sea: A Conflict That Could Explode In Our Faces


The quality of commentary on the internet has slid off the scale into a puddle near the drain along with spilled beer, urine and cigarette butts. Our brilliant commentators have basically ignored China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, with some making excuses for the country with whom we waged two proxy wars (Korea and Vietnam).

Two factors should guide this decision: first, we should understand Chinese aims, and second, question whether China is the quasi-superpower we wish to have hegemony over any part of the world.

China is currently building artificial islands among the tiny bits of coral reef called (optimistically) the Spratly Islands. Several nations claim this territory, which is 400 miles from China and on a key shipping route; if China is able to assert dominance in the area, it could make billions from tariffs. That it even concerns itself with such things suggests the government anticipates a drop in revenues.

Some claim these islands have quite a bit of oil, but the official American position is that they do not. Regardless, China is building a colony sizable enough for them to stage a significant military presence there. That action is inconsistent with oil prospecting, which could be easily done with offshore rigs. Instead it looks like the Chinese intend to be there as a permanent military and political presence, which disturbs nations such as Vietnam and Thailand who are much closer to the area and do not want their navies constrained by Chinese power.

But even more importantly, we should ask ourselves: should China be a superpower? China has been building its empire on the backs of the US and other major industrial powers. Whether it is purposely devaluing their currency to make their exports cheaper, stealing intellectual property, paying very low wages, or using Bernie Madoff style accounting and pyramid schemes, these smaller problems all add up to one big problem: China does not legitimately deserve to lead the world’s next hegemon.

The US is stuck in a bad position on the South China Sea events. Where we know China has no claim to the oil in these islands, but we do not really want to engage in a war with them over it . Meanwhile the US has been getting its hat handed to it by China economically and to some extent even technologically, with China having several space launches, and in products like Samsung beating Apple. Chinese speculators are buying houses in America for cash from profits of the Chinese stock market boom, which has reached roaring 20s proportions. What is worrisome about this is that the Chinese are acting as if their economy is a bubble, and they want to trade bad assets for good, but then will have to compensate politically for the resulting recession. That often means war.

As its neighbors know, China is a bad actor that intends to seize as much territory and influence as it can before the bubble pops. The US should long ago have labeled China as a currency manipulator and kicked them out of the WTO. The US should use its economic power to force China to be respectful of its neighbors’ territory. If China is set to become the next hegemon let them earn that right fairly, instead of funding their imperialist conquests on the backs of a fraudulent , manipulated economy.

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20 Responses to “The South Sea: A Conflict That Could Explode In Our Faces”

  1. riverside says:

    Is there any hegemon that earned that right fairly? Even the romans stole a lot from neighbouring countries. Maybe there is some, I don’t know.

    Not to say that I want China to become the next one.

  2. avraham says:

    Why get involved in a conflict that does not concern us?

    • Depends on whether we value open ocean shipping, and whether we mind if China absorbs Indo-China.

      • avraham says:

        I do not know what you mean. No matter who owns it anyone there is going to need permission to ship through those shipping lanes. If that is China, then fine. Why start a war over this?

        • JPW says:

          You need to evaluate the costs of being beholden to each possible owner of these shipping lanes. Free Trade ain’t never free.

  3. Michael R says:

    I have some China 101 links on the Alt-Right-Australia reddit wiki page:

    The way things are going, I doubt that America will go to war with China, and hence they will surrender Asia to China, and my country Australia will be the first Western country to fall.

    China definitely will go to war if America tries to stop their rise. China may not win, but they reckon that inflicting enough damage will make America eventually leave the region.

    “Chinese strategy is, at its core, a product of lessons derived from the Warring States period” — Dr Michael Pillsbury.

    • China may not win, but they reckon that inflicting enough damage will make America eventually leave the region.

      This strategy worked in their last war against us, so that is a good analysis, I think.

  4. -A says:

    Whatever we do still offer to China should be revoked. We should also at least try to make a cyber-intelligence company which rivals theirs to keep them out of our data. I don’t know if this current Administration has anywhere near the competence to do this though. We should cease all business with them as we should have done a long time ago but, leave them to their own dirty business. If they do decide to go to war with Australia, they have the remnants of the British Empire to hopefully have their backs. I, for one, think that Australia and Hawaii should be considered Western presence in Asia and should be protected by both Britain and the US but, I am sentimental of old ideas. I doubt China could dominate Australia if they really stood their ground. I am ignorant of Australian military, however.

    • If they do decide to go to war with Australia, they have the remnants of the British Empire to hopefully have their backs.

      This would make more sense than taking them on individually, and falling like dominoes, so I doubt democracy will do it.

      • A.B. Prosper says:

        No doubt Chinese hacker shave considerable leverage over the political class.

        If they play the long game, a decade or two three on the long end and China is very good at the long game, the US will no longer be in any condition to stop them

        In the same frame, Putin successor might have a good chance at getting a lot moire power fro Russia if he so wishes . The USSR baring a massive birth surge is a dead letter as is any successor state but a powerful Russia who becomes fairly dominant in Europe is highly probable

        No longer White USA if it even exists as a nation which is questionable won’t be able to do much or really much interested in Europe for much longer in any case, our military prowess isn’t going to be of much use and it will be questionable if our nukes even work

  5. JPW says:

    China is doing a lot of the same things the US South did to economically grow. It’s called catch-up economics and it only works until your own people run out of patience with getting paid lower wages and working longer hours. Once the hunger and the willingness to postpone gratification go away, the government revenue shortfall is pretty much baked into the cake.

  6. George says:

    Samsung is South Korean, an ally in the fight against China. But otherwise a solid piece. I say we trade nukes with them. I’d give up the entire West Coast and South West.

  7. Sam says:

    It is my opinion that President Trump will choose to battle the Chinese on purely economic battlefields, knowing that economic defeat, as long as it does not mean economic ruin, will make waging war on a military front less likely for China. He will also seek to do business with Russia rather than to fight her.
    I believe that this is the right course of action, as well as the correct moral one.

    • V says:

      the release valve of unserviceable debt throughout history has always been the same, namely: WAR.

      China owns far too much US paper (treasuries) and continues to devalue their currency (exporting deflation) that at some point they will, if leveraged correctly, make certain concessions esp in light of the fact that they rely on trade with the west.

      China is a giant ponzi as is the USA, and the debt loads of both nations are staggering…..

      i keep thinking there is collusion at the highest levels and this is all for show, the endgame being a global SDR currency in the end, but i’m getting ahead of myself here..

  8. Tyler Durden says:

    Samsung is a Korean company.

  9. Nonya says:

    If China is doing this for economic reasons (tariffs) then our correct response should be economic sanctions and not a kinetic war. We buy so much of their crap, it should not be hard to do.

    • True, but if products rise in cost, the grubby-handed voters will wail and complain, but when we get into a shooting war, only those who realize it is pointless will object. This is why 0bama will choose the latter option.

      • A.B. Prosper says:

        Obama will be gone in 6 months. I strongly doubt a war will start before that.

        However President Clinton if we are so accursed might well end up getting us into one. Trump won’t want one though he may end up maneuvered into one especially if his trade policy impacts China

        They” try and make up loses on teh back end

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