This end of 2013 may be depicted in history as the period where China cemented her role as the up and coming super power ready to take up the call when the United States collapses into a financial and economic shambles. There are three items in particular signaled that China is ready and desires a seat at the head of the table, not just a seat among coequals. The first of these was covered with headlines it deserved as China claimed an unparalleled maritime and air defense zone over the East China Sea that includes the Senkaku Islands, islands which are claimed and recognized as belonging to Japan which China has disputed over the years. The Japanese, Philippine and South Korean governments all denounced China’s claim giving orders to their military and civilian air and shipping companies that they were not to recognize this bullying from China and continue to operate as normal. This was a blatant challenge of the Chinese claim as the Chinese demanded that air traffic must gain permission from Chinese air controllers in order to penetrate into their newly claimed zone. The United States was far more compliant as their military has orders to continue as normal and ignore Chinese demands while civilian and private cargo flights are to request Chinese approval before entering these claimed areas of the South China Sea. The United States partial recognition and capitulation was seen by her allies as surrender before the Chinese giving them reasons to doubt the will of the United States to back the treaties and promises made to the nations in the far Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. Now that Far East Asia has been given a taste of the new Obama America similar and in kind to that received by the Saudis, Egyptians and Israelis over President Obama’s weak and tepid doctrines and responses to Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya including specially Benghazi, Syria and the basic abandonment of Iraq and soon Afghanistan, they too are having doubts about depending on the United States and her word.
The second event announcing the Chinese arrival and crossing a definitive demarcation was their successful landing of an unmanned probe on the Moon. The Chang’e 3, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, landed on the lunar surface Saturday, December 14 softly placing the probe to survey the lunar surface and dig into the soil and test samples. Xinhua news agency said, “The dream for lunar exploration once again lights up the China Dream.” This is all part of an ambitious Chinese space program which includes the building and manning of a fully operational spacestation by 2020. Where, in my opinion, that will prove to be a formidable task to complete in such a short period but this landing is a huge step towards that goal. The Chinese most definitely have the technology to place a spacestation on the Moon and likely even keep it supplied and operational on a permanent basis. The question is not one of capability but of affordability. Such an operation would probably consume funding equal to their entire current military budget and then some. The only feasible way to finance such a venture would require two items, mining the Moon which contains almost unmeasurable quantities of Helium-3, also called Deuterium which is an isotope of hydrogen that has a neutron next to the proton in the nucleus, which can be used in energy generation by fusion along with claiming sole possession of the Moon and collecting a sizeable charge from any nation wishing to land on the Moon and even more so if they require or wish to use the Chinese facility. Betting that the Chinese would respect the United Nations treaty which made space universal and a place free from the claims by any one nation may not be the wisest way of proceeding.
The final was more of a brandishing of their naval sword as a Chinese warship cut across the bow of the United States missile cruiser Cowpens on December 5, 2013 causing the latter to take emergency procedures in order to avoid a collision. United States warships were in the area observing China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was on maneuvers. The Chinese warship crossed the Cowpen’s bow at a distance of less than 200 yards. Other commentary has claimed that the Chinese actions “was particularly aggressive” and definitely “unhelpful in trying to increase cooperation between the two navies.” This was also a further move by the Chinese to demonstrate their newly claimed area of the South China Sea is unwelcome waters for other nations by their acting with disregard of the United States warship probably intending to send a warning for all to stay out. Such maneuvers are uneasily reminiscent of Cold War provocative maneuvers and challenges which occurred regularly between the Soviet Navy and the American Navy. This may simply be a foreboding of things to come as China spreads her newly established blue water navy further into the Pacific Ocean that she had previously operated. This along with the other actions will have allies of the United States in the Pacific near China worried and rightfully so. Japan especially as the Japanese and Chinese have a less than amicable history and there is little love lost between these two nations. South Korea also will feel the threats strongly as they may also find North Korea being more forceful and bold as China becomes another force in the Pacific Ocean.
The glove has been tossed at the feet of the United States by China, will President Obama pick up the glove or run scared from any confrontation and simply resign giving the whole of the Far East over to Chinese hegemony. Hope and Change has worked well in Basically Transforming the United States. Maybe somebody should have asked for what we were hoping and what we were changing and into what would that change lead. Why do I have so little faith that the majority of Americans remain clueless and actually work to remain clueless?
Beyond the Cusp