The Restless Dragon Begins To Look For Action

2010 05 30_1695“The Chinese people are friendly people, people with sympathy, people who will always help others in time of need,”  China Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said this month in response to questions about its lack of financial aid to the Philippines in the wake of the dastardly typhoon that took more than 5,000 lives. 

The Chinese may be friendly but in the past couple of years you’d feel a lot better if they were a little less friendly and a little more peaceful.

China is involved in a longstanding dispute with the Philippines over some islands in the South China Sea. It’s not only the Philippines. It pretty much claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, overlapping with claims from other countries located there as Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam.

The Chinese refuse to go to arbitration over its claims and says it will never back down; and, it is slowly building its navy to be able to enforce its claims.

If that isn’t a bit worrisome last week the Chinese declared a new Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea which overlaps the Japanese Air Defense Identification Zone. Like with the  Philippines, China has a dispute with Japan over some tiny islands.  The Chinese have announced that no one can fly in their zone without prior notification to China. Shortly after that zone was established, the U.S. flew two B-52 Bombers (they first were used in 1952) through the new Chinese zone although the Chinese said they skirted the zone. The Japanese and South Koreans did the same. The Chinese responded by sending some of their fighter jets into the zone but after the others had left. While China asserts it will not back down, Japan asserts the same thing, and Australia has jumped into the spat.

With the Japan/China dispute we have two major Asian nations which seem to be playing “I dare you to knock the chip off my shoulder” or in more laconic terms “chicken.” Those games are all right to play as kids but they should be avoided by nations. The consequences of this can be dire. It has been called the most worrying strategic escalation between the U.S. and China since 1996.  But back then China had not achieved the military strength it now enjoys.

What seems clear is that China’s declaration of this new zone caught America by surprise. The question that has to be answered is why did it take this provocative step at this time. If that can be ascertained, then an analysis can be done of whether it is a symbolic way to assert its claim on the islands or whether it is more than that, namely a declaration that it is asserting military control over this new zone.

If China intends to enforce the zone through the use of military, for instance if it forces an American or Japanese plane to land in China or shoots down such a plane, have we decided upon our response.  If we let one such incident go by, do we encourage China further or will it be pacified that it enforced its decree and back down from further hostile actions?

Is China moving forward with its claims now because it perceives an increase in Japanese militarism and recognizes if it doesn’t act now when it have an overwhelming military superiority it may never get the chance again? If that is its thinking then it has to figure the U.S. will not want to jump into the fight.

I can’t get over the nagging feeling that China has taken the measure of Obama and figures he has no stomach to intervene to help Japan. Back in the late 1930s Hitler made the same evaluation of Britain and seized Austria and then Czechoslovakia. Perhaps the Chinese also feel the American people having been at war for over ten years have exhausted their patience with it and won’t be up to getting involved in a Japanese/Chinese dispute. I think we are seeing the results of wasting our wealth in the Middle East fighting wars with nations that cannot threaten us.

China has seen Obama foolishly threaten the Syrian leadership and then backing down; seen him enter into an agreement with Iran in order to avoid having to go down the war road; and watches as the U.S. seems to be begging Hamid Karzai to let us spend our money to protect him.

As we ponder our Black Friday deals, we should be considering the perilous days that are in the offing. We have put ourselves on the defensive by our lack of resolve. To avoid a great tragedy Obama must make it crystal clear to China that any war-like act will result in an American response.  Vice President Biden is visiting China next week. He must carry with him specific things we will do in response to any aggressive action by China against Japan.  Unfortunately, as a debtor nation to China we may be dealing with a weaker hand than we would like.

Let us hope this is not the start of something new.

13 thoughts on “The Restless Dragon Begins To Look For Action

  1. Regarding China, how can anyone doubt that the incredibly weak and feckless Obama is the principal reason for it taking such bold and threatening actions? Regarding VP Biden, does anyone believe he is capable of positively influencing that country which is clearly picking a fight? God help us if hostilities ensue, and we have to depend on “peace-in-our-time” Obama for war-time leadership !!!

    1. Louie:

      You are absolutely right. The problem with Obama is that it appears he is all talk and not all of it is on the level. I agree that we are not in too good shape if we are depending on Joe Biden to pressure China into obeying international law. Although one thing I have to say about Biden, he is one of the few people to serve in the Senate who came out as poor as he went in. Take the minority leader Mitch Miller McConnell who has worked all his life in the public sector and is worth fifty million. Obama never saw a threat he didn’t walk away from. We’re not at the point of begging the Afghanis to let us keep our force there and to continue paying billions of dollars to do so. Obama’s going to come out with his foreign policy next week. It’sll be interesting to see.

  2. Dear Matt,

    Maybe you and William could team up to represent John Connolly pro bono, if you have the time and the resources to do so.


    1. Jay:

      John has some group in Florida representing him. We could not do it since we are not members of the Florida bar.

    2. Jay, I retired from the law six years ago and have no intention of going back into the legal field which I found littered with so many halls of injustice. I can’t understand why Connolly’s defense team wasn’t in Federal Court long ago. I fear they wait in vain for an honest decision from the Florida Appeals court. Recall that it was five years ago that John was convicted in Miami of a murder by gun count, for which even the trial judge admitted in open court that the statute of limitations had run and an essential element of the crime was never proven at trial: that Connolly held the murder weapon. It seems a continuing travesty of justice, which I lack the means, energy and resources to redress. Some ideas I’ve expressed to Connolly’s lawyers, directly and indirectly, seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps they know best. Some things I just don’t understand.

  3. What’s your take on the 60 Minutes piece? After a whistleblower goes public the FBI produces a written report to contradict him. One can always rely on the accuracy of FBI written reports that was proven at the WB trial. In addition to Barrett’s daughter Agent Fitzpatrick was impressive. While his book seemed to be off base he came accross as a credible witness. He wasn’t on either side and went to Fla. to say Morris was the leaker not Connolly. But Wyshak hid the evidence.2. You are correct Connolly never should have made his accusations. He should not have cast the first stone. But he was framed in Boston and Florida. Every employee of the DOJ who fails to undo the Constitutional violation Connolly is enduring in Fla. ( expired Statute of Limitations) should be fired.3. What is your take on the Heisman issue? Based on performance on field only Winston should win. But the looming sexual assault inquiry clouds everything. Haven’t the Florida authorities completely mishandled this? If the accusations are credible he should have been charged months ago. If this is a Duke Lacrosse, false accusation matter he should have been cleared months ago. Is the FBI assisting in this investigation? Did Todashev know Winston or the victim?

    1. 3. Winston should be in jail if the evidence I read is correct:
      The prosecutor is holding back because he’s a Florida State fan – it’s really outrageous so he can forget the Heisman. I say a person should be judged by his actions on the field but when he’s there and shouldn’t be that’s a different case. Winston winning of the Heisman will set back women’s right fifty years. That’s probably all right with the good ole boys but not with me. The alleged victim should have had a hearing months ago. The corruption in that case is worse than anything in Whitey’s case. Connolly who never fired a gun at anyone is doing 40 years for murder with a gun in Florida and he cannot get an appeal; a woman is allegedly raped and she can’t get a hearing. This sounds like some small third world country. Even the FBI isn’t this bad although close to it.

      2. Connolly is wrongfully incarcerated – no doubt about it – time to do someting about it especially after reading Carr’s attack on him again.

      1. I don’t watch 60 minutes; agent fitzpatrick is a joke – he said he took down Angiulo when he didn’t, he was a Globe toady who violated his oath to keep Whitey’s identity secret, and he told the most outlandish story about Billy Bulger – I can’t say anything nice about him.

  4. China is coming apart at the seams. Douglas Fairbanks King, in his historical works on China, points out that once the income disparity between the coastal urban inhabitants, and, the largely rural people of the interior, becomes too great, mass socio-political movements arise, and, social leveling occurs. The Taiping Tien Kuo, Koumintang, and, Communist movements, were all birthed in the interior of China (The Falun Gong movement appears to be the latest manifestation of this tendency). China’s aggressive foreign policy masks this systemic dilemma. The recent Communist party congress has attempted to address the social problems roiling in the hinterlands. Easing the internal passport rules, allowing more than one child to a family, and the anti-corruption effort, are indications that the Chinese government regards the looming threat of internal strife quite seriously, and, is attempting to relieve the growing pressure.
    Its probably best the US backs off, and, leaves history to its course.

    1. Khalid:

      Nice comment. But if China is coming apart isn’t it in the interests of those in power to unite the country behind a common enemy and what better way to do that than to have a little war?

      I hope the US and Japan backs off (we’re committed to Japan’s defense). We cannot afford any more foreign entaglements never mind a big war.

  5. The solution to the China question is economic. If they misbehave you could end the trade relationship and collapse their economy. Or you could offer them three marijuana dispensary licenses to appease them. America doesn’t need to resort to military force. 2. The Norfolk DA’s office is going to be sued by J.Oliva and R. Mullen for wrongful incarceration. All the grass they sold was to ameliorate pain. It had a medical purpose. They were just following Dr. Leary’s advice. If compensation is not forthcoming isn’t an apology in order? 3. Did the inordinate amount of time put in to catching bookies and grass dealers prevent state law enforcement from catching the Martorano brothers? Was there a misapplication of resources? 3. Why does Delahunt have hard feelings towards John Connolly? Connolly only accused him in a public shouting match of using drugs. He never said he was a drug dealer.

    1. N:
      1. Walmart has too much power to allow us to use economic clout against China. If we ended the trade relationship Walmart and all our other retailers would go out of business. The license idea may do the trick.
      2. Oliva and Mullen are in debt to the Norfolk DA’s office because of the nice deals they got; any other DA would have given them about ten times they got in Norfolk.
      John Martorano was caught by Bill O’Malley and got 4 months during a bookie wiretap. He would have gotten a much heavier bit but Schneiderhan helped them learn about some violations of the minimization directive. After that he took off and spent most of the time in Florida from 1979 until imprisoned. Jimmy Martorano was in prison off and on. I don’t thing chasing bookies and grass dealers had an effect on apprehending the others; the greatest deterent to bringing down the Winter/Martorano/Whitey/Stevie gang was the FBI’s desire to protect TEIs.
      3. I don’t believe Delahunt has hard feelings to Connolly. That’s just another of Connolly’s hyperbolic stories like the one he told the authors of Black Mass about the meeting with Whitey. With Connolly you really needed a bs meter to separate the truth from the glory stories.
      If Connolly did accuse Delahunt in public of using drugs he was way out of line and I would not understand why he would want to say such a thing – it seems pretty tawdry to me.

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