one ever lost money betting on the Pentagon refraining from
again the current Pentagon supremo, certified neocon Ash Carter, did
not disappoint at the Shangri-La Dialogue – the annual, must-go
regional security forum in Singapore attended by top defense
ministers, scholars and business executives from across Asia.
is key. The Shangri-La Dialogue is organized by the London-based
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which is
essentially a pro-Anglo-American think tank. And it takes place in
the privileged aircraft carrier of imperial geostrategic interests in
South East Asia: Singapore.
expressed by neocon Carter, Pentagon rhetoric – faithful to its own
estimation of China as the second biggest “existential
the US (Russia is first) – revolves around the same themes; US
military might and superiority is bound to last forever; we are
underwriter of Asian security” for,
well, forever; and China better behave in the South China Sea – or
is all embedded in the much ballyhooed but so far anemic “pivoting
to Asia” advanced
by the lame duck Obama administration – but bound to go on
overdrive in the event Hillary Clinton becomes the next tenant of
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
threats are predictably embedded in the rhetoric. According
if Beijing reclaims land in the Scarborough Shoal in the South China
will result in actions being taken by the both United States and …
by others in the region.”
left for China, in Pentagonese, is just to be a member of a
Asia – which will also help protect the East against “Russia’s
Carter mentioned“principled” no
less than 37 times in his speech. “Principled” cheerleaders
so far include Japan, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia.
here’s an instant translation: we do a NATO in Asia; we control it;
you will answer to us; and then we encircle you – and Russia –
for good. If China says no, that’s simple. Carter proclaimed
Beijing will erect a “Great
Wall of self-isolation” in
the South China Sea.
this is the best Pentagon planners have to counteract the
Russia-China strategic partnership, they’d better go back to the
classroom. In elementary school.
in freedom, dear vassals
the South China Sea was quite big at Shangri-La. The South China Sea,
the throughway of trillions of US dollars in annual trade, doubles as
home to a wealth of unexplored oil and gas. Stagnated and
increasingly irrelevant Japan, via its Defense Minister Gen.
Nakatani, even advanced the Japanese would help Southeast Asian
nations build their “security
deal with what he called“unilateral” and “coercive” Chinese
actions in the South China Sea. Cynics could not help to draw
similarities with Imperial Japan’s Greater
East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Beijing delegation kept its cool – to a point. Rear Admiral Guan
Youfei stressed, “The
US action to take sides is not agreed by many countries.” Youfei
– the head of the Chinese office of international military
cooperation – did not refrain though from condemning a “Cold
War mentality” by
the usual suspects.
for Japan, China’s Foreign Ministry detailed that “countries
outside the region should stick to their promises and not make
thoughtless remarks about issues of territorial sovereignty.” Japan
has absolutely nothing to do with the South China Sea.
reclamation work on reefs in the South China Sea naturally put it in
direct conflict with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
So US meddling – under the convenient cover of“freedom
of navigation” –
had to be inevitable. “Freedom
of navigation” operations
are a silly intimidation game in which a US Navy ship or plane passes
by a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea.
was up to Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff
Department of China’s Central Military Commission, to cut to the
chase, stressing “the provocation of certain countries” and
adding that “selfish
led to the South China Sea issue becoming “overheated”.
He slammed the Pentagon for double standards and “irresponsible
And he slammed the Philippines for taking the conflict to a dubious
UN arbitration court after breaching a bilateral agreement with
do not make trouble but we have no fear of trouble.”
Chinese position prefers dialogue
and cooperation –
and Jianguo re-stressed it, calling for ASEAN to make a move. In fact
China has already reached what is called a four-point consensus with
Brunei, Cambodia and Laos on the South China Sea two months ago. The
Philippines are a much harder nut to crack – as the Pentagon is
taking no prisoners to lead Manila “from
Vietnam, via Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh, made it clear –
in the same plenary session as Admiral Jianguo – that Vietnam
prefers solutions via the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as well
as negotiation between China and
over to our rules – or else
Shangri-La’s rhetorical excesses, the action moved to Beijing, the
site of the 8th China-USStrategic
and Development Dialogue. That’s the annual talkfest launched in
2009 by Obama and then Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang painted a rosy picture, stressing
the exchange of“candid,
in-depth views on important and sensitive issues of shared
Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai once again needed to point out that
the relationship is just “too
be “hijacked” by
the South China Sea. And yet this is exactly the Pentagon’s agenda.
though won’t be derailed. As State Councilor Yang Jiechi put it,
ASEAN-China dialogue is progressing via what Beijing calls
the “dual-track” approach,
according to which disputes are negotiated between the parties
directly involved. That implies no Washington interference.
what is discussed either at Shangri-La or at the China-US dialogue,
the Big Picture is clear.‘Exceptionalistan’ planners
have molded a narrative where China is being forced to make a choice;
either you bend over to “our” rules
– as in the current unipolar geostrategic game – or else.
Beijing has already made its own choice; and that entails a
multipolar world of sovereign nations with no primus inter pares. The
Beijing leadership under Xi Jinping clearly sees how the so-called
actually disorder, is a rigged system set up at the end of WWII.
Chinese diplomacy – and trade – knows how to use the system to
advance Chinese national interests. That’s how modern China became
the “savior” of
global turbo-capitalism. But that does not mean a resurgent China
will forever comply with these extraneous “rules” –
not to mention the morality lessons. Beijing
knows ‘Exceptionalistan’ would
not agree even to divide the spoils in a geopolitical
spheres-of-influence arrangement. Plan A in Washington is containment
– with possibly dangerous ramifications. There is no Plan B.
bottom line – thinly disguised by the somewhat polite responses to
Pentagon threats – is that Beijing simply won’t accept anymore a
geopolitical disorder that it did not create. The Chinese could not
give a damn to the New World Order (NWO) dreamed up by selected
‘Masters of the Universe’. Beijing is engaged in building a new,
multipolar order. No wonder – alongside with strategic partner
Russia – they are and will continue to be the Pentagon’s top twin