Wednesday, September 2, 2015


I’ve suggested in comments and posts that the US geopolitical “strategy” regarding China is one of appeasement.  Well, here’s the latest piece of evidence via Breaking Defense website (1).

“…we understand from two well-informed sources that the US is effectively observing a 12-nautical mile limit around the piles of coral, rock, and sand the Chinese have erected  to bolster their claim to the waters inside their Nine Dash Line.”

There you have it.  It’s illegal to build man-made “islands” and claim territorial sovereignty rights but that’s what China is doing and the US is honoring those claims.  The Chinese takeover of the South and East China Seas is all but complete. 



  1. Well I don’t think either of us are surprised at this one are we CNO ?

    The truth goes back to the reason for the 12nm limit.

    For it was the range at which a cannon could fire from the shore way back in the day.

    The fleet isn’t “honouring an illegal claim” it just that practically it’s too dangerous to navigate close to these things. So by implication the old and the new definition becomes 1 and china has its new territorial waters.

    It’s quite clever really, pity I’m on the wrong side of it.

    China tends to think long term. In fifty years they will claim the EEZ to go with it once people have been on there long enough and everyone forgot how they got there anyway.

    Unless we can think up an even cleverer solution I suggest we start building our own islands tout suit!


    1. One of those reefs that are a bit closer to the Chinese nuclear sub base on Hainan Is would be a good idea.
      AS for a 12nm limit , it may not be feasible for US ships to get close in on shallow waters but planes can fly anywhere

  2. I think the thing that should be frying our noodles right now is the fact that the DOW (and the FTSE) are having an apoplectic fit over the fact Chinas growth figures aren’t double digit this month!

    Now what does that say?

    Something very very worrying.

  3. That whole situation bears thinking about. Reportedly the CCP relies on double digit growth to keep the population happy. Without that, or with an economic dip of any kind, they might be looking for a way to distract their own populace.

    The idea of building islands is an interesting one, but we may well be too late on that; and if things do get bad China might be willing to start a local war to make a point and keep their people on their side.

    1. They just experienced a stock market crash a few days ago.

    2. I think my point more was, why do we care if they are having financial issues? Militarily it serves our purposes really.

      The answer is that we are sending very mixed messages, on the one hand we want to curb their power, on the other we are clearly funding it !

      If the world’s top economies didn’t do all this trade with China they couldn’t be the world’s second biggest economy could they (with the world second biggest defence budget obviously).

      And why do we trade with them, because of their unique technology, geology or geography? NO, because they are CHEAP, and advanced enough to make all our cool toys at knock off prices without worrying about licencing or inconvenient laws.

      We are effectively authorising their actions.

      Remember the bulk of their military espionage has been done because we HANDED them the designs and asked them to make cheap components for us.

      Now we are p1ssy because they inserted back doors in our chips and made cheap copies for themselves.

      We can curtail their expansion easily, but that would mean we have to spend more for our USB flash drives, and apparently this is just too much effort.


    3. The U.S. is a schizophrenic nation in this regard, I find. I can't speak for other nations.

      I've spoken to tons of people who want manufacturing to occur domestically (and it does, we still have a huge manufacturing sector, lets not get too glum), for a variety of reasons: Economic stability, better working conditions, the desire not to fund sweat shops, etc.

      Of course, they'll say all this on their way to Walmart, where they shop because the prices are so cheap. On the way back they'll pick up some furniture from Ikea....

      On top of all that most of the U.S. B school grads I've spoken too over the years are just murderous cost cutters with a quarterly outlook. If they can outsource 50 people and make a bigger profit this year, though it will $crew them 5 - 10 years hence, they'll do it in a minute.

      Germany seems to do a much better job with this. As did Korea when I visited there. People seemed much more aware of the power of their purchasing decisions.

    4. "They just experienced a stock market crash a few days ago."

      I know. That was the point I was trying to make. We don't know yet if their economy is going to tank (and ours and Europe's with it). But if it does, island building isn't the right thing to do right now, IMHO.

    5. The problem is the world's economy is so interconnected that it might end up hurting the entire world. What happens in China could affect us here in North America.

      Yeah I would agree that the US is very inconsistent in regards to what it does. It still does have a huge manufacturing, but as a total percentage of the economy, it's not what it was. It cannot compare too to say, Germany, or Japan.

      The thing is, China will not be content to be "cheap" forever. After WWII, Japan had a reputation for making cheap crap. They invested in themselves and the quality improved. Today "Made in Japan" does not signify low quality crap.

      Same with South Korea. Just 10-15 years ago, their cars were regarded as cheap crap. Now they are on par with the best Detroit or Japan can make.

      What will happen when China moves up the value chain? They could end up repeating the performance of the Japanese in many fields. Whatever their other flaws, China is very much long-term oriented.

      IN some ways, Corporate America is the worst enemy of the US. The pursuit of short-term profits could arguably as Beno has noted above, be the reason why China has risen so rapidly to begin with.

  4. The LCS is the right ship at the right time, then.

    1. An interesting test of survivorbility then, and the damage 57mm airburst can do to the Chinese ?

    2. Well, I was joking around, but now that I think about it some more, maybe it's not so funny. If the US navy piles its resources into a ship that seems, at least to me, like an overgrown Coast Guard cutter and with similar capabilities and missions, then it sends a message of appeasement to potential enemies.

  5. Ooo topical. Gotta be fluke right ?

    Chinese Naval vessels sighted of US coast.

  6. but what the alternative then comnav ? war over some rocks and sand castles ? war over some petty coral dispute between nations that have US shouldnt have intervene with their stupid foreign policy ?

    or do you want blockades ? show of force ? challenging china fronttally ? all these while the red russian is clambering over the fence whacking US proxies everywhere ?

    so you think US should be tough and face china directly ? sanctioning them ? isolating china like it did russia ?

    that would be the most stupid thing america can do considering the weakness of american military today and their state of readiness..

    1. "b", before you ask the question, you should ask yourself what possession of those rocks and sand castles means. It means control of the entire South and East China Seas, extension of territorial waters, control over all commercial shipping through the region, a major extension of the exclusive economic zone, greatly extended surveillance "platforms", and an extended A2/AD zone. The extension of all of that means ultimate exclusion of American military forces from the S/E China Seas.

      If you think those rocks and sand castles have no meaning and just represent a petty dispute then you need to think much deeper and much more strategic.

  7. Interesting that we back off and they assert:

    1. What's interesting is that it highlights the divergence in the two country's philosophies about the use of the military in support of political goals. China is making maximum use and we are conceding the game (appeasement).


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