America buys almost all of its routine consumer goods from China. We no longer have the capacity to compete with them through domestic production. If you shop at Walmart, Target, Home Depot or Lowes, you are buying products made in China. It’s hard not to. I do it too.
China no longer buys American debt because it’s “junk paper”. We now buy our own debt. Thank you Federal Reserve.
Blogging friends, what are YOU willing to give up in order to stand up to China? Or should we stand down?
The News: Yesterday, the Chinese navy warned a US Navy P8 surveillance aircraft eight times to depart Chinese airspace. The P8 replied that it was flying in international airspace, as it overflew the South China Sea islets where China is building runways and basing infrastructure using dredges.
The warning apparently came from Fiery Cross Reef, which is now an island with an airstrip that can accommodate any Chinese military aircraft. Fiery Cross Reef now hosts a control tower and an early warning radar system, the latest additions to the runway and other infrastructure construction projects.
Yesterday’s warning episode is the second Chinese provocation this week. Earlier the Chinese announced fishing restrictions for the entire South China Sea. The Chinese maritime authorities do this every year, ostensibly to conserve sea resources and to assert Chinese sovereignty in the South China Sea.
Southeast Asian states annually protest the Chinese announcement. Their fishing fleets ignore the Chinese declaration, but also try to avoid Chinese patrols. China lacks the military capabilities to enforce its orders in the Spratly Islands, but its intentions are clear. It will enforce its declarations and will deploy the necessary capabilities after the island infrastructure is ready. In that regard, China also is building a second air base on Subi Reef. They intend to fortify the area and the support infrastructure will lead to an assertion of control once they’re ready.
Many of the ships in the Chinese fishing fleet are presently armed. That practice is expanding and will soon apply to all Chinese flagged fishing boats. This makes them (small) warships capable of enforcing Chinese fishing rights in addition to commercial vessels.
China is serious about its claim that the South China Sea is China’s territorial waters. The report that an early warning radar is now operating on Fiery Cross Reef means that air defense missiles and modern air defense radars will follow soon. After those systems are operational, China will station fighter/interceptor aircraft at Fiery Cross Reef, at least intermittently, depending on the weather.
A number of nations claim control of this area, but China is the only nation with the muscle to militarize it to the extent necessary to hold firm control over it. China’s claims are bold and backed by concrete enforcement actions. Those enforcement actions are becoming increasingly more integrated and comprehensive. They mean that eventually transit of the South China Sea will be with Chinese permission. While other claimants and the US dither about international law, the Chinese are successfully asserting ownership of a vast sea area.
The Chinese are vulnerable in that they have asserted claims they cannot now defend. The US and Southeast Asian states prefer to rely on diplomacy and talks to settle disputes, which the Chinese leadership rejects as irrelevant. China will never compromise on issues of sovereignty.
Chinese leaders will send diplomats, who will be deliberately uninformed, to exploit the conflict aversion tendencies of the current US leadership and the Southeast Asians. None of them want a confrontation with China and they mistakenly ascribe the same attitude to the Chinese leaders.
The Chinese People’s Army’s Navy (that’s what they call it) is no longer a joke as it is turning into a blue water force that can contest US fleet operations anywhere within it sphere. Land based anti shipping ballistic missiles have been deployed and while their effectiveness is not yet known, present estimates rate it as good.
The Chinese have the measure of the USA and find it lacking. Within that vacuum, they are expanding and will back their expansion with military muscle, confident that the USA will back down like an obedient cur. They’ve seen our leader and have taken our measure.
This piece concludes tomorrow with thoughts on China — “In Search of Modern China”.