The following article by Modesto P. Sa-onoy appeared in the Daily Guardian on August 21st 2018.
A RECENT report by the Pentagon says that China is “likely training for strikes against the United States and its allies” but China debunked this report as “pure guesswork”.
As the late US President John Kennedy said in his inaugural address in 1963, “sincerity is subject to proof”. And proof is in what one sees or hears from credible sources. Studies can be guesswork if seen from the eyes of the suspect, as China is in this case. Surely we cannot expect China to admit it is conducting training exercises for a military strike.
In 1927, a study by the US military strategists claimed a possible conflict in the Pacific. There were two countries with the possible intent of striking – the Russia and Japan. The US preparations for a likelihood of war with Japan was code-named War Plan 5 with an orange ribbon covering, thus the plan became popularly known as WP Orange. The study projected possible hostilities within 10 years. Well, as we know the
Japanese struck in 1941 although it already began invasion in China in 1938; the Americans considered that as a “training” exercise.
Indeed, Martin Jacques in his book, When China Rules the World (2009) considered the Chinese capable of becoming the dominant military force in Asia after it has gained a phenomenal economic growth. He asked,
“How will the impact of China’s economic rise be felt and perceived in ten years’ time? How will China behave twenty years hence when it has established itself as second only to the United States and effectively dominate East Asia? Will China continue to operate within the terms of the established international system…?”
We know that China has already refused to accept the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal in the issue of the West Philippine Sea. The tribunal said the islands belong to the Philippines; instead China defied the tribunal by constructing military installations there with capabilities for a bombing strike against the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Despite our complaints, China continued its constructions at the same time befriending the Philippine government and courting it with offers of financial aid that have not materialized. China nurtured the anti-American sentiment of President Duterte and it got its way.
The Philippine government, small and putty at China’s hands, can only complain a situation that the Philippines created for itself because it has no more powerful friends to come by its side. Worse the Philippine is courting Russia, China’s ideological ally and too far away to help us. The US has issued a warning of the risks of this shift but the Philippine government refuses to listen. Historically, we might be a rehearsal for military conflict due to Chinese incursions.
Jacques likened the situation in 2009 with those years prior to WW II. “International relations experts are fond of citing the rise of Germany and Japan in the early twentieth century as examples of nations whose new-found powers could not be contained within the existing international system and whose ambitions eventually culminated in war. The rise of China will not necessarily result in military conflict -and for the sake of humanity, we must fervently hope it does not – but it is a sobering thought that the ramifications of China’s rise for the world will be incomparably greater than those of Germany and Japan, even accounting for the differences in historical times.”
The United States is a deterrent to China’s ambition for an East Asian hegemony with it as the dominant power, a realization of its belief as the center of the Universe.
Comparatively, the US has more fixed-wing aircraft, surface combatant ships and submarines and can draw allied forces from its allies (Japan, Taiwan and South Korea). The US can no longer depend on us.
The US has more nuclear weapons but the Pentagon says China is building fast with nuclear missiles striking capabilities against the US mainland and its military facilities including those of US allies. To the Pentagon these are dangerous developments.
Jacques quoted the warning of the Chief of Malayan navy: there exist uncertainties in the form of China’s behavior once she attained her great power status.
Modesto P. Sa-onoy