Way out across the Pacific, a long way from “legitimate rape” and American political campaigning, there’s a high stakes ocean real estate fight going on in the South China and East China Seas. A string of impassioned quarrels over history and resources and sovereignty that could pull the United States onto dangerous terrain with the world’s rising superpower, China.
China makes wide claims over ocean turf and resources far from the mainland. Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and more disagree. And it is fired up right now. This hour, On Point: America, the Pacific, and the high seas showdown off China.
To listen to the show, play the audio link below, or click here to link to the On Point website.
Need to catch up on the South China – West Philippine Sea disputes? View related LolaKo posts:
- UNCLOS and the China – Philippines Standoff over Scarborough Shoal (4/24/12)
- Meeting of Philippines Foreign Secretary del Rosario and Defense Secretary Gazmin in Washington D.C. (May 1, 2012)
- China’s new restrictions on Philippine imported fruits 5/14/12
- The Pentagon’s Pacific Pivot and the Shangri-La Dialogue 6/6/12
One of the guests on the program is Graham Allison (Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University), discussing his recent Op-Ed article for the Financial Times – London “Avoiding Thucydides’ Trap”. Article excerpt:
China’s increasingly aggressive posture towards the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea is less important in itself than as a sign of things to come. For six decades after the second world war, an American “Pax Pacifica” has provided the security and economic framework within which Asian countries have produced the most rapid economic growth in history. However, having emerged as a great power that will overtake the US in the next decade to become the largest economy in the world, it is not surprising that China will demand revisions to the rules established by others.
…The defining question about global order in the decades ahead will be: can China and the US escape Thucydides’s trap? The historian’s metaphor reminds us of the dangers two parties face when a rising power rivals a ruling power – as Athens did in 5th century BC and Germany did at the end of the 19th century. Most such challenges have ended in war. Peaceful cases required huge adjustments in the attitudes and actions of the governments and the societies of both countries involved.
…The rapid emergence of any new power disturbs the status quo. In the 21st century, as Harvard University’s Commission on American National Interests has observed about China, “a diva of such proportions cannot enter the stage without effect”.
Never has a nation moved so far, so fast, up the international rankings on all dimensions of power. In a generation, a state whose gross domestic product was smaller than Spain’s has become the second-largest economy in the world.
If we were betting on the basis of history, the answer to the question about Thucydides’s trap appears obvious…. Click here to read the full article on the Belfer Center website.