US Saber Rattling Diplomacy
By Stephen Lendman
America seeks unchallenged global dominance. It practically claims a divine right. It's longstanding US policy.
Its empire of bases enforces it. Saber rattling reflects it. In late November, China's Defense Ministry announced creation of an "air defense identification zone (ADIZ)."
They're not unusual. America, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have them. So do other countries.
China's covers portions of the East China Sea. It includes Beijing/Toyko disputed territory. More on that below.
On November 26, two Guam-based B-52 bombers overflew China's ADIZ. They did so provocatively.
They're long range, high altitude strategic bombers. They're able to carry powerful payloads.
They're built to launch nuclear weapons. There's no way to know for sure what they had on board.
Their mission reflected modern-day gunboat diplomacy. It's high-altitude intimidation. It's in-your-face goading.
It's how Washington operates. It's rules alone apply. It's message is we're boss, and what we say goes. Diplomacy isn't America's long suit.
Pentagon officials claimed otherwise. Calling it a routine mission rang hollow. There was nothing whatever routine about it.
It was belligerent. It challenged what Beijing calls sovereign territory. At issue is the Diao Yu Tai archipelago. It includes surrounding waters. China and Japan claim ownership.
Tokyo calls the main island Senkaku. For China, it's Diaoyu. Taiwan lays claim. Its name is Diaoyutai. China calls Taiwan sovereign Chinese territory.
Archipelago islands are uninhabited barren rocks. They comprise about 6.3 square km. They lie 120 nautical miles (nm) northeast of Taiwan.
They're 200 nm east of China's mainland. They're 200 nm southeast of Okinawa.
The dispute remains unresolved. America occupied the islands them from 1945 - 1972. Washington provocatively backs Japan.
Doing so reflects longstanding policy. America aims to weaken China's growing economic, political and military strength.
Beijing calls Diaoyu island and adjacent islets inalienable Chinese land since ancient times. Japan's claim constitutes infringement, it claims.
In 1895, Tokyo seized the islands during the Sino-Japanese War. At end of WW II, China reasserted sovereign rights it calls lawful and indisputable.
Key may be what lies offshore. Substantial oil and gas deposits are sought by whichever country controls them. At the same, these type disputes can be resolved diplomatically.
Other issues are at stake. Geopolitics are in play. Washington asserts its Asia card. Closer ties with regional nations isolate and weaken China and Russia.
Japan is a willing partner. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to reassert Japanese militarism. Washington encourages it. Doing so is worrisome.
In late 2011, Obama announced his Asia pivot. At issue is reasserting America's Pacific presence. It's about advancing Washington's military footprint.
Checking Russia and China is planned. Containment is policy. Cold War politics is back. Muscle-flexing reflects it. So does global belligerence.
Obama's pivot escalated regional tensions. Strengthening America's regional presence advances its imperium.
Doing so risks eventual confrontation. Washington has been rebalancing in East Asia for years.
Strategy calls for strengthening military, economic, and political ties with Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.
It involves undermining Chinese and Russian influence. It aims to isolate them. It seeks dominance of territory not its own. Imperial powers operate this way. US policy threatens world peace.
China said foreign aircraft overflying is ADIZ must notify Beijing. They must submit flight plans. They must indicate nationality. They must maintain radio contact.
These type demands aren't unreasonable. They're not meant to be belligerent.
At the same time, emergency military measures may follow failure to comply. Notably if repeated incidents are provocative.
China prioritizes settling these type issues politically. It prefers diplomacy over confrontation. It downplayed Tuesday's incident.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren's comments were hostile, saying:
"We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus. We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies."
Hegemons operate this way. Tuesday's provocation wasn't the first. It won't be the last.
Japan has its own ADIZ. It's extensive. It's provocative. Its northwestern portion lies close to China's border. It's close to its territorial waters. It risks triggering a future confrontation. Perhaps a more serious one.
Washington expressed full support for Japan. John Kerry calls China's ADIZ "an extremely dangerous act." He ignored Japan's encroachment.
He said nothing about America's ADIZ. He represents US plans for regional control. He's Washington's diplomatic point man for global dominance.
Caroline Kennedy is JFK's daughter. She's America's recently appointed Japanese ambassador. She didn't do her father proud. She issued a statement, saying:
"Unilateral actions like those taken by China with their announcement of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone undermine security and constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea. This only serves to increase tension in the region."
China Daily is the nation's largest English language broadsheet. Its harsh editorial reply headlined "Japan and US overreacting," saying:
"While Tokyo continues to play the thief crying 'stop the thief,' Washington is again barking up the wrong tree over China's announcement of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone."
"The Japanese and US hysteria is unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, because it is based on a serious misreading, if not intentional distortion, of Chinese strategic purposes."
"Dozens of countries, including Japan and the United States, have their own ADIZs."
"And the US, as the inventor of such zones, should be well aware of their defensive nature."
China's "territorial integrity is under constant threat, and its military is generations behind the saber-rattling might of those who see it as a potential rival."
Military policy "has no intention to go beyond what are 'international common practices.' "
"The US did not consult others when it set up and redrew its ADIZs."
"Japan never got the nod from China when it expanded its (own), which overlaps Chinese territories and exclusive economic zone."
"Under what obligation is China supposed to seek Japanese and US consent in a matter of self-defense?"
Separately, China Daily said ADIZ policy excludes "normal" commercial airline flights.
Standard international procedures require flight plans, proper identification, and radio contact.
Commercial airliners operate this way. Nations have a right to know when aircraft plan overflying their territory. Passengers need assurance that all safety precautions were taken.
The US-Japan Security Treaty is longstanding. It dates from 1952. In 1960, it was amended. It states any attack on either country requires them to respond against the common danger.
It authorizes American military bases in Japan. Dozens are in Okinawa. It's Japan's most southerly prefecture. It's the poorest. It's called Japan's Puerto Rico. Washington takes full advantage.
Okinawans hate America's presence. They do so for good reason. US forces control about 20% of the island's choicest real estate.
They're virtually immune from Japanese criminal prosecutions. Serious ones happen often.
They include homicide, rape, assaults, robberies, drunken brawls, muggings, arson, reckless driving, and illicit drug use among others.
Noise and air pollution are intolerable. Hegemons don't say they're sorry. Japan permitted US excess since 1945. Okinawans endure longstanding US occupation with no redress.
America's regional presence is destabilizing. It escalates tensions. It risks use of force. China is justifiably concerned.
Japan, South Korea and other regional countries are close US allies. On November 28, Tokyo and Seoul overflew China's ADIZ.
They did so provocatively. They ignored Beijing's requirement for flight plans, identification and radio contact.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) deployed fighter jets and an early warning aircraft. They patrolled the area. Beijing-based IHS Aerospace, Defense and Maritime analyst Gary Li doesn't believe it'll be extensive.
"I think it will be more of a case of China flying enough planes to make at point," he said. A 24-hour presence is overkill.
"It must be remembered that this is not a no-fly zone. China doesn't have to operate extensive patrols to make its presence felt," Li added.
Coastal radar will be used for routine coverage. Ships deployed at sea will supplement it. Aircraft will mostly be used for specific missions.
Military expert Xing Hongbo said Beijing has technical detection expertise.
"China has successfully identified those foreign aircraft, meaning that it has achieved early-warning through(out) the zone," he said.
"There is no reason for the US to blame China for establishing such a zone because Washington" did so first. It protects its airspace and ADIZ aggressively.
China's concern is self-defense. It prioritizes diplomacy over confrontations. It values friendly relations with neighbors. It does so globally.
It's prepared to defend itself if necessary. It knows risks it faces. America's presence presents challenges. Its hostile intentions are worrisome.
Anything can happen when least expected. Repeated sparks create conflicts. Washington's history isn't pretty. It reflects false flags and other provocations.
They're an American tradition. They date from at least the mid-19th century. Wars followed. One leads to others. They persist without end.
China and Russia are America's main global rivals. Weakening them substantially smooths the way for unchallenged US dominance.
Will Washington risk war to achieve it? America's rage for conflict, its formidable WMDs and delivery systems, as well as its longstanding imperial policy make anything possible.
The unthinkable would be nuclear war. Can it happen? Hegemonic ambitions risk it.
Official US policy asserts the "right" to do whatever it wishes to counter alleged threats. Even if it means risking humanity's survival. It's very much up for grabs.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
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