US needs smarter policies to avoid a China war – Asia Times

A group of guys board ships that are in opposition and immobilize them with swords and axes at their disposal. Consider this to be from the Age of Sail? Consider afterwards.

Another illustration of Beijing’s willingness to defend its claimed place is China’s recent increase of its disagreement with the Philippines. This function follows a similar increase in 2020 along the Sino-Indian frontier where both sides&nbsp, used sticks and stones to support their promises, not to mention China ‘s&nbsp, defense drills&nbsp, around Taiwan.

Washington had better comprehend Beijing’s willingness to fight for its perceived territory in light of the US’s pledge to help the Philippines and Japan with its rock and reef claims and potential aid for Taiwan, as well as develop a more effective strategy, as a weakening conflict is a possibility.

The risk of conflict over China’s disputed lands is true. Since at least 2012, Beijing has earnestly pressed its promises, including building&nbsp, military outposts in the South China Sea&nbsp, and maintaining a&nbsp, typical beach watch presence&nbsp, around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

However, China has been willing to use force to&nbsp, defend its claims since at least 2003&nbsp, when they became part of its” core interests”, as they are viewed as vital to national survival.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ‘s&nbsp,” China Dream” of the” Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation” &nbsp, by 2049 further ties these territories to the political legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party, effectively making them uncompromisable.

China will likely continue to assert disputed territory regardless of the ruling party until a solution is found, leaving a conflict with Beijing perpetually on the table. Since the late 1800s, regaining China’s lost territory has been a priority.

This was true when the&nbsp, Republic of China ( ROC ) controlled the country, remains consistent under the People’s Republic of China and is even nominally true for the&nbsp, rump ROC on Taiwan. Moreover, territorial integrity has been a&nbsp, requirement for government legitimacy since the 300s&nbsp, – far older than most states.

Given Beijing’s vital interest in its territorial disputes, Washington’s reliance on accident avoidance or threats of force is irresponsible at best and reckless at worst. China’s recent attack on Filipino vessels was viewed as cowardly, but how long will it be before both sides escalate further and Manila invokes its mutual defense pact with Washington?

The US’s pledges to militarily defend the Philippines and Japan from their disputes with China&nbsp already lack credibility. US&nbsp, military exercises&nbsp, and&nbsp, freedom of navigation operations&nbsp, have not led to a more peaceful Indo-Pacific. A conflict that could weaken or even destroy America requires smarter policy choices.

Regarding the most serious territorial flashpoint between China and Taiwan, the US can fully fulfill its legal obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act while remaining within the peace zone by revising the Six Assurances Agreement to provide additional pledges to both Beijing and Taipei.

The volume of arms sales should be proportionate to both Taiwan’s willingness to defend itself and the level of cross-Strait threat. Americans should n’t be expected to give up their lives and assets to a force that wo n’t help itself. Additionally, military sales could be linked to independence activities in Taiwan.

As the US has &nbsp, no interest in Taiwan’s independence&nbsp, and this event is the&nbsp, most likely trigger for Chinese use of force, creatively modifying Taiwan’s arms sales could become a stabilizing force. Finally, Washington should look into ways to diplomatically resolve the conflict rather than allowing it to continue to threaten US interests.

Washington should prioritize its national interests over the East and South China Sea disputes, which means reducing the risk of American deaths due to rocks and reefs.

By clarifying their mutual defense treaties could only be invoked in an attack on the home islands, the US could stop implicitly backing the Philippines and Japan’s claims – despite assurances of neutrality.

Washington should follow up and encourage Manila and Tokyo to creatively manage their disputes with Beijing, which could include a&nbsp, return to the” Duterte model” &nbsp, in the South China Sea or&nbsp, denationalized&nbsp, and regulated ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

Additionally, the US can support the negotiation, establishment and implementation of the mutually-agreed&nbsp, South China Sea Code of Conduct&nbsp, to lower regional tensions.

Looking to China and India’s border dispute, the answer is easy: the US has no interest in getting involved. Washington has &nbsp, nothing to gain&nbsp, and would lose much by doing so. &nbsp, Avoiding land wars in Asia&nbsp, remains the best option.

America ought to comprehend the significance of China’s willingness to use force to defend its territorial integrity, including disputed territory. Washington must take smart decisions seriously in order to safeguard its national interests in these regions.

The stakes could n’t be higher for some of these policies, even though some of them may not be popular or even upend convention. America’s strength and survival are at risk. The answer lies in placing them first, introspectively.

Contributing to Defense Priorities is Quinn Marschik.