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You must clearly support and defend in a

written essay what you have gained from this course and how you might apply this to

your postgraduate goals. This needs to merit 100 points (10%) of your total grade. It

will be up to you to determine and track what you think can be used as evidence over

the term to cite specific examples in your essay to support your position. Although there is no word minimum, I would expect good answer would need at least 500 words.

that the all the article that I read

Reading: Crisis In Darfur

Reading: Turmoil in Central America

Reading: Unrest in the Arab World

Reading: Communist Indochina and the Big Powers

Reading: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Reading: Resurgent Russia

Reading: North Korea Showdown

Reading: Balkanization of Eastern Europe (Again)

Reading: China and the South China Sea

The world’s population currently sits at around 7.6 billion, with India and China making up
37 per cent of the population, with each of the two countries having over one billion. The
world’s population is expected to experience significant growth by the end of the 21st century
( Straight, page 540, 2018). The global population will shift to having more older people,
which will lead to a strain on social programs and national health budgets caused by the
small number of young people supporting this program ( Straight, page 541, 2018). Many
developing countries will experience high population growth by mid-century, while
developed countries will experience a slow or drop in population. Family planning will have
a significant effect on population. According to experts, technological innovation will be key
in providing food, energy, and environmental stability for billions of people over the years
( Straight, page 555, 2018).
During the growth in worlds population projections are expected within the century. The
first global projection is expected to be experienced by the mid-century, with a peak
population of around 9.4 billion. The population is then expected to grow to an expected
number of thirteen billion, with eleven billion as the medium-range projection at the time.
A single child per woman brings the difference in the projections. During this period, 51
countries will experience a drop in population by the year 2050, but at least 33 countries
could triple in number with six countries in Africa; Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, Somalia,
Burundi, and Niger, expected to grow in five folds by then ( Straight, page 541, 2018). Africa
will have more than half of the 2.2 billion children born by mid-century.
Research has shown that an increase in two degrees Celsius in temperature would affect over
29 per cent of the growing population due to water scarcity, crop failure, and rising seas
( Straight, page 554, 2018). The affected people will amount to around three billion by the
mid-century. Rice is the most important food in the world; hence, rice production will need
a forty per cent increase by 2050 to feed the growing population ( Straight, page 544, 2018).
This increase in production will only be possible with the new technology and new variety
of rice that requires less fertilizer and water to grow. According to reports, people in high
growth and developing countries will have to migrate due to climate change. The trend will
continue unless the robust development action or greenhouse gas emissions are cut. Densely
populated countries are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In almost a decade,
most countries receiving immigrants will be living in countries where women have less than
three kids, with fertility and immigration being the two main variables of determining
Climate change is viewed as a threat multiplier to global security. Climate change can
exacerbate conditions such as social tension, poverty, and political instability. These,
successively, might encourage terrorism and other types of worldwide violence. The world’s
most extensive Naval base, the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, is being threatened by
rising seas primarily due to arctic ice melting, leading to floods placing at risk dozens of other
coastal installations resulting in impairment of the United States’ military effectivity well as
her allies. According to Defense Secretary James Mattis, climate change poignant the stability
of the American troops’ regions.
Climatic factors like heavy rainfall in some parts of the world and drought in other parts lead
to a high number of people migrating across borders, resulting in tensions in Southeast Asia,
Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Unprecedented drought and extreme temperatures
fueled the destructive civil war in Syria. This climatic condition in Syria led to mass
migration. It increased food prices, which triggered civil unrest, the crushing of the
government, and a war that displaced more people, unleashing a new rise of terrorism. In
western Russia, drought and torrid temperatures led to fires, that decreased the wheat crops
causing Russia to be the major supplier of wheat crop to Syria and stopped exporting the
Sea-level rise, mostly originating from the melting glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland, is
another manifestation of climate change, and it has the potential to spark a global conflict.
For instance, the melting of the arctic sea ice has resulted in the unlocking of icebound
regions, and as a result opening them to mining, oil and gas drilling, tourism, and shipping. It
has led to an escalation of economic competition for access rights. This has led Russia to
increase its troops in the area; this action might signify future hostility, like efforts to take
charge of the shipping route at the top of the world.
Other non-climatic factors, such as economic mismanagement, vicious government
subjugation, religious and ethnic tensions, can lead to global conflicts. However, climatic
change has become the most fierce inferno that might help fuel these conflicts in recent
history. Extreme weather conditions have already impacted many people globally, placing
water and food security at risk. This threatens agricultural supply chains, leading to a threat
to the world economy. As a result, this can enormously affect the global balance of power.
America and other wealthier countries can evade the worst outcomes of climate change.
Still, America might become at high risk when other military powerful countries make high
desperate attempts to acquire food. The food shortage can result in a brutal global conflict.
Migration entails physical movement from one location to another. It consists of two types
namely internal migration which entails movement within the same country and external
migration which entails movement from the native country to a different country. It may be
caused by several push and pull factors. Push factors are the terrible situations that force
people to migrate in search of a better environment, while pull factors are the better
opportunities and settings found in different locations. Over the years, most people have
migrated from their countries due to various reasons.
Some of the push reasons that force individuals to migrate include natural disasters
such as earthquakes. Haiti is one of the locations affected by constant earthquakes and
tsunamis that destroy the country’s landscapes and result in the loss of lives. As such, it
disrupts their whole lives, including their economic activities, which has worse effects.
Other factors include drought, famine, flooding, war, and economic circumstances (Rüegger
& Bohnet, 2020). Such situations force individuals to relocate to escape such harsh
One of the experiences I have is from a story my parents told me growing up. Growing
up in Haiti, they experienced many natural disasters that led them to lose most of their loved
ones. They left everything behind and decided to start a new life in search of better
environments. They kept explaining how hard it was to adapt to a new environment since
they faced many challenges. They met some hostile neighbors they found as they settled into
the new country. However, they claim that the pros outweighed the cons, and they would
never have considered going back to their home country.
The experience is one of the examples in which migration and global conflict are
related. As for the hostile neighbors probably felt like they had to compete for natural and
economic resources now that their country was being inhabited by migrants, which was a
valid fear based on lack of information. Another possible reason for the
hostility may have been ethnic tension and the burden on the infrastructure and the
country’s services (Rüegger & Bohnet, 2020). If many migrants locate in the same region, the
government may face challenges distributing their resources equally. This may create
competition over who should receive which resources and which people should lack or be
Other effects of migration resulting in global conflict include the fear of spreading
diseases. In most cases, it is a valid fear but also caused by a lack of education. For instance,
during the Ebola outbreak in Congo, many individuals migrated to different countries to
avoid the disease, creating fear amongst the occupied countries. Another challenge lies
within the UN’s ability to distribute funds for the refugees when the involved countries have
an influx of migrants. Generally, the primary connection between migration and global
conflict is competition, ethnic differences, and fear.
Years after the government and the resistance signed an agreement for peace, over 2.4
million people lost their homes while another 40000 individuals lost their lives. The
international community could not find a lasting solution, although there was pressure from
human rights and religious groups. It all started with attacks in three different villages,
killing over a hundred people in a single day and over 40000 driven away from their homes
in Darfur. The war was equated as Arabic versus non-Arabic, with the poverty and drought
increasing tension between the two communities. Some people blame the war on political
division, while others claim it is caused by the climate that has hit the area making the
communities unable to interrelate mutually.
The Sudan government denied targeting the ethnic communities in Darfur but instead
blamed the massive number of deaths on collateral military damage, water disputes, and
tribal conflicts. Through the international criminal court, the international community
wanted to arrest the then president of Sudan, Bashir, for being behind the conflict. Still, the
international community runs the fear of spiking the conflict even further. Several
humanitarian workers were killed in Darfur, and over 100 of them were kidnapped in the
first months of the year 2008, with rising unlawfulness making the area inaccessible. The aid
workers could hence not help the over 4 million people in the area affected by the conflict.
The United States government, just before the Olympics in Beijing, used the sporting event
to criticize China who had partnered with Sudan and was supplying the nation with
weapons and invested in the oil industry.
After independence and British withdrawal from Sudan, the northern Khartoum Arab elites
were handed power making it the central government and leaving out Darfur. Darfur had no
say over the structure of the independent government, giving root to the post-independence
conflict and civil war between Muslim Arabs and Christians in North and South Sudan. The
Sudanese government, dominated by Arabs, was criticized by nations worldwide for not
halting the murders and rapes of Muslims. The international community also criticized the
Islam community and countries for their silence over the atrocities. These Islam nations were
by the international community urged to end their silence before it was too late.
When the summer Olympics finally arrived in Beijing, Darfur was back on international
headlines. Athletes, movie stars, and activists took the opportunity to criticize China’s
relationship with the Sudan government, calling on stopping violence. Touch carrying
ceremonies for the Olympics were interrupted by protestants across the world. Despite
confidence in the UNAMID peacekeeping force, the mission has faced deadly assault nonstop, with several officials being killed in just a few months. Many experts believed Darfur’s
future was unpredictable with the growing hatred and ongoing fights, with most agreeing
the future is likely to be bleak.
The turmoil in Central America has been going on for a while due to corruption and selfish
leaders. It had taken long before the citizens decided to protest for their rights and better
living conditions. The effects and consequences of their political leaders have not only been
limited to the country’s unrest but also the increasing rates of homicide in the four countries.
However, the main question is whether the USA has contributed to the violence in the
countries through the ways it has responded to their cries for help. For instance, the zerotolerance policy enacted by President Trump had more negative effects than positive.
Separating children from their parents at the border did not solve any immigration problems
but served to worsen them. Studies show that youth immigration rates to the USA have
continued to increase despite the enacted policies (Young, 2018). The policy did not consider
the children’s welfare but put them and their parents at a higher risk of developing
depression and mental health issues.
Americans’ appetite for drugs has also played a role in the ongoing violence in Central
America. The four countries are well known for their drug smuggling activities and gangrelated robberies. Since there is an increased demand for drugs, USA citizens boost these
illegal activities through financing them by buying these drugs. As a result, together with the
migrants sending money to the countries, they have helped boost their economies. Business
in the USA also depends on the continued supply of cheap, undocumented migrant labor
(Young, 2018). As such, they tamper with the government’s actions to reduce the
immigration rates as they may be supporting them for their selfish gains. However, the
Northern Triangle countries are also contributing to their unrest through their political
leaders. For instance, Ortega, the Nicaraguan President, has used the authoritative form of
governance which the citizens may have gotten used to. Therefore, some might have started
losing their interest in democracy, implying the lack of sufficient support in demonstrations
to change their countries poverty cycle and crime rates caused by them bullying teens into
serving gangs.
China’s growing political influence in America also poses a threat to the countries.
There is a possibility of China taking over the countries by dominating the region’s
economies and politics which may or may not worsen the already volatile country. The land
dispossession in the country is already causing misery in the region, and this domination may
receive backlash. America has also expanded its influence across its borders and dominated
some of its corporations (Young, 2018). However, if they increase aid to Central America, the
citizens may not benefit from it because political leaders may use it for their selfish motives.
I do not believe that anger in Nicaragua is unique to the country. On the contrary, I
think there is a possibility of the violence spreading to neighboring countries. The citizens
may get tired of not receiving help from able countries and decide to rein their anger on
them too. Therefore, I don’t think anyone should dispose of the idea of their anger spreading
to different countries as it may contribute to these countries withdrawing help with the
belief that they won’t be affected. The anti-government protests have started recently and
given the citizens hopes for salvation. However, the main question is whether their
demonstrations will contribute to the political leaders’ imprisonment. The political leaders
have enough finances and power to fight justice, and they may continue doing so for as long
as they can.
The best solution to Central America would be to change their whole political system.
The USA can support the countries in imprisoning all the fraudulent leaders and giving rise
to a new democratic era. In this way, the financial aid received from other countries will
benefit the country, thus stopping the poverty cycle in the countries and solving the
immigration issues. In addition, it will lower the crime rates and homicide rates as the
citizens will be living comfortably and without fear. Strong law enforcement will ensure that
drug smugglers are stopped and improve the country’s investments by attracting potential
investors and even tourists.
In the article “The Turbulence in the Arab World”, I learned that since the outbreak of the
“Arab Spring” movement, the entire Middle East has been placed in a turbulent seismic zone.
Its scope of influence and spread is unprecedented. New governments in various turbulent
countries are also struggling. The democratically elected president of Egypt, Morsi, was
thrown into prison by the army less than a year after taking office. Therefore, the Middle
East under the “Arab Spring” is still full of uncertainty.
The impact of the “Arab Spring” on the Middle East
First of all, the “Arab Spring” accelerated the democratization of Middle Eastern countries.
Although the “Arab Spring” brought turmoil to the Middle East, at the same time, the
“citizenship” and “people’s sense of ownership” of the people in the Middle East are also
awakening. People in turbulent countries hope to rebuild their political system through
secular ideology and legal system, so they show uncompromising resistance to the current
regime. The “Arab Spring” made the idea of democracy take root in the hearts of the people.
In order to maintain rule and meet the needs of the people, the Middle East countries
inevitably have to reform their own political and economic aspects, otherwise they will only
be overwhelmed and subverted by this turmoil. Second, the Arab Spring intensified the
turmoil in the Middle East. Through the above analysis, the “Crescent Arc” alliance headed
by Iran and the Arab countries in the Middle East headed by Saudi Arabia are at war due to
religious issues. The GCC countries led by Saudi Arabia are also launching military
operations in Yemen. However, behind the Houthis in Yemen, there is a faint figure of Iran.
Externally, the United States still maintains its own military presence in the Middle East, acts
arbitrarily on the Syrian issue, practices “double standards” on the Bahrain issue, and
continues to adopt a controlling and uncompromising attitude on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Russia still supports the Bashar regime and maintains close ties with Iran. With internal
uncertainty and external intervention, the regional turmoil brought about by this Arab
Spring cannot be ended in a short period of time. Therefore, in the future, turbulence in the
Middle East will continue to be the main theme.
(2) The future trend of the “Arab Spring”
First, the current turbulent situation in Arab countries cannot be effectively alleviated in the
short term, which may cause new ethnic problems. As the situation in the Middle East has
changed, countries have begun to compete for dominance in the region. The biggest risk
currently lies in the Syrian issue. If the situation in Syria gets out of control and a civil war
breaks out, other countries in the Middle East are likely to fall into turmoil one after
another. In addition to religious contradictions, the ethnic issue of the Kurds may become
active again. In addition to religious contradictions, the ethnic issue of the Kurds may
become active again. The ethnic separatists in the Kurdish region will take advantage of the
chaos to carry out a series of separatist activities and reiterate their desire to establish a
nation-state. In addition, the Kurdish issue may be exploited by major powers and become a
bargaining chip in the political game of major powers.
Second, Palestine-Israel peace talks may be difficult to continue. At present, the major
countries in the Middle East are overwhelmed. Syria, which was firmly opposed to Israel
before, was on the verge of civil war and had no time to take care of others. The relationship
between Egypt and Israel is also undergoing subtle changes. The radical Hamas and other
organizations actively seek the help of other countries in the Middle East and continue to
encourage the people and their supporters to liberate Palestine and oppose Israeli rule.
Therefore, the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, which are in the middle of the game among
Middle Eastern countries, are facing a more complicated situation. With the rise of Islamic
forces, the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have been opposed and blocked by Hamas.
Therefore, the Palestinian-Israeli issue may be exploited by the current Middle Eastern
countries, and the process of peace talks has become difficult. Finally, terrorist forces took
the opportunity to develop and threaten the security of the Middle East and the world.
In my personal view, this so-called revolution that claims to bring prosperity and democracy
to the Arab world is not simple. Instead of bringing prosperity and democracy to North
Africa and the Middle East, this movement has brought tremendous suffering and endless
chaos to the people there. Although the “Arab Spring” caused nearly half of the Arab
countries to fall into turmoil, civil strife, war, and regime change, they have not yet escaped
bloodshed and suffering, but it should be realized that it originated from the simple and
spontaneous actions of the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. The demand for
change reflects people’s strong dissatisfaction with the failure of social governance such as
economic decline, political corruption, abuse of power, and judicial unfairness. The “Arab
Spring” was also the first time in more than half a century that the Arab people got rid of
mainstream political narratives such as pan-nationalism and anti-American and anti-Israel
awakening movement to find a way out from the inside, which embodies the commendable
national reflection and self-help of the Arab people and intellectuals. consciousness. Second,
we must see the importance of independent development through the “Arab Winter”. I think
The “Arab Spring” was originally simple and simple, that is, eager to improve people’s
livelihood, democracy, and civil rights. However, this street movement was quickly
manipulated by various internal and external political forces, and gradually deviated from its
original intention and evolved into large-scale turmoil and war. In particular, the
intervention of external forces combined with the complex history, ethnicity, religion, and
other factors of various countries has led to a self-improvement movement finally falling into
the quagmire of traditional geopolitical games. The people of some countries such as Syria,
Libya, and Yemen are still unable to self-determine their future and destiny. Most of the
countries that have experienced revolutions continue to explore the path of transformation
and development in a fragile environment. Although the “Arab Spring” will not happen in
the United States, the United States needs to learn from history. For the government, it
should first purify and optimize its membership structure, reduce corruption, and pursue its
own affairs in its place. Second, it must benefit the people. Improving people’s living
standards and increasing social welfare are just like Saudi Arabia’s “saving money and
disasters” in this turmoil. Finally, decentralize power to the people, raise the level of human
rights, follow the mass line, and carry out political system reforms.
Reading: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Vietnam War refers to the confrontation between the Communist regime of North
Vietnam and the Saigon regime of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1975. From 1961 to 1973,
when the U.S. military intervened to support South Vietnam, the most famous. China and
the Soviet Union also included several socialist countries. Support the North Vietnamese
Communist Party during this period. The U.S. military first trained and armed the South
Vietnamese troops by sending military advisers to provide military assistance, then
dispatched special forces to participate in the clearance of the North Vietnamese guerrillas
directly, and finally escalated to large-scale intervention. More than 500,000. However, due
to the excellent assistance of China and the Soviet Union and other socialist camps to North
Vietnam during the same period, the U.S. military failed to eliminate the North Vietnamese
army militarily completely. Especially after the Korean War, the United States was
scrupulous about China’s re-intervention and never crossed the 17th parallel to carry out a
large-scale ground military offensive. This allowed the Viet Cong to use the North as its base
and insist on guerrilla attacks on South Vietnam. China firmly supported Vietnam in this
war. From guns, airplanes to clothing, medicines, China gave priority to North Vietnam at
the time. Not only that, but China also helped North Vietnam train its army, send antiaircraft artillery troops, railways, engineering, transportation, and other logistics. The corps
participated in the defense and construction of the rear of North Vietnam. These troops
secretly went to the battlefields in northern Vietnam. The highest year reached 170,000.
Together with the Warsaw Pact advisory group headed by the Soviet Union, the Chinese aid
to Vietnam helped North Vietnam prop up the sky and withstood the U.S. air attack. In the
end, the U.S. government abandoned the South Vietnamese regime after years of
unsuccessful Vietnam War and withdrew its troops back to the country. North Vietnam
unified Vietnam in 1975. The war ended with the victory of North Vietnam. Behind this is a
victory of the socialist camp represented by China and the Soviet Union in Southeast Asia.
The United States has also entered a stage of strategic contraction due to the impact of this
war. This war is called the “Vietnam War” in the West.
In my opinion, The essence of the Vietnam War is the confrontation between the socialist
camp and the capitalist camp. the Vietnam War is a major local war in the cold war era of
the 20th century. The Vietnamese army and people fought bloody battles for more than 10
years, defeated the strong by the weak, shattered the large-scale military intervention of the
United States, and realized the reunification of the country. From the point of view of
international politics, it is an important factor to promote the transformation from the
bipolar pattern to the great triangle pattern between China, the United States, and the Soviet
Union. Vietnam was able to withstand the United States because of the continuous support
of the Soviet Union and China regardless of cost. Vietnam is not that Vietnam itself is strong.
The Vietnam War was a battle between the United States and the Soviet Union. If there had
been no support from China, the Vietnam War would not have persisted. It is impossible to
have the final success.
Reading: Resurgent Russia
After reading the article, I think Putin is trying to “get the band back together.” Under
repeated deceit, plunder, and dismemberment by the United States and the West, the
Russian Federation after the disintegration of the Soviet Union experienced a real
catastrophe, and was almost pushed into a place where it is almost impossible to recover. But
the great Russian nation is absolutely unwilling to be willing to fall. They finally see clearly
that the West will not allow Russia to become rich and strong, because the West has always
believed that the existence of a powerful Russia is a threat to the West, so the West has been
trying to rise again. Russia regards it as an enemy and does everything it can to contain,
suppress, and disintegrate! Russia yearns for glory, the Russian people chose Putin, and Putin
chose to take a path of Russia’s own revival, that is, to rebuild the “Soviet Union” step by
step! Of course, this Soviet Union is not the other Soviet Union, but it must have the power
of the former Soviet Union.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the United States became the largest country in
the world, and Russia became the largest successor country to the Soviet Union. Among the
15 divided countries, they are also relatively developed. After all, it has a lot of Soviet
military power, but Russia’s economic level is shallow, mainly because of Russia’s poor
relations with some European countries. Many allies that split from the Soviet Union fell into
NATO, and Russia had only one steadfast ally, Belarus. The two countries are like brothers.
Belarus lags behind Russia in many aspects, and Russia has provided them with a lot of help.
Faced with this situation, Putin made an important decision to complete the merger with the
other six countries before 2024. some members of the former Soviet Union had made such
remarks. Still, due to many unrealized reasons, Putin once again proposed that approach
reproduces the peak of the Soviet Union. This analysis also makes sense because Putin also
wants to produce the rise of the Soviet Union. Although Putin is now 77 years old, his
fighting spirit is still very young. He has always wanted to lead Russia into the Soviet era.
Putin promised to make Russia stronger when he took office, and now he has fulfilled this
promise. His goal has always been his goal, and now he reunifies these six countries like the
Russian people to fulfill his original contract. Once Russia completes the merger of the six
countries, this will be of great significance to Russia. It will elevate Russia’s economic and
military strength to a new level and may return to the top of the Soviet Union. But one thing
to know is that Putin did not show the intention of forcibly annexing the former Soviet
Union countries for better development. As long as Russia insists on this merger, the merger
is also a good development for these countries.
Putin’s restoration of Soviet Russia’s strength will make European and American countries
feel scared, uneasy, and cold. This is naturally a problem for Putin because he is unwilling to
integrate into the mainstream international world but instead encourages confrontation.
Because of this constant confrontation, European and American countries think of Soviet
Russia during the Cold War and will soon think of the Berlin crisis and the Cuban missile
crisis under the command of Soviet Russia in history. Therefore, the more Putin thinks about
revival and confrontation, the more insecure the world is, and Russia poses a threat to the
free world.
So I think Putin is a very qualified president. After so many years of hard work, Russia has
turned from a weak to a strong. Now Russia is fully capable of confronting some European
and American countries. Many European and American countries want to intervene in some
internal affairs of other countries, such as Iraq or Libya. The governments of these countries
are overthrown under the intervention of European and American countries. When the
Syrian civil war began in 2012, Putin directly sent troops to fight the terrorists. With the
participation of the Russian army, many terrorists in the Middle East have no way to fight
back. Therefore, the Middle East has slowly begun to restore peace. This can be said to be
Putin’s credit.And now Russia has allied with countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. In
other words, Russia’s influence has increased in the Middle East, and it has gradually
surpassed the United States. The most crucial point is that Russia does not want to interfere
in the internal affairs of these countries like the United States but is doing its best to
maintain peace in the Middle East.
Reading: North Korea Showdown
North Korea has always been called the kingdom of hermits. The country is closed and
isolated from the news. Although I have heard a lot about it, it is often difficult to truly feel
this country. The mystery of, most of the time, the understanding of it comes from various
news or documentaries. After reading this article, I found that the Korean Peninsula has
been problematic in recent years. The disputes between North Korea and the United States,
Japan, and South Korea over the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons have aggravated
tensions on the Korean peninsula. They have constituted a real threat to peace and stability
in the Asia-Pacific region. This also made the situation on the Korean peninsula become the
focus of attention of the international community again.
North Korea has been developing and testing nuclear weapons that are more advanced
and powerful than those currently possessed by the other eight nuclear-weapon states. North
Korea has been manufacturing, testing, and stockpiling a large number of chemical and
biological weapons and nuclear bombs and missiles that could one day reach the United
States. From another point of view, there is a big gap between the development of atomic
weapons by North Korea and the development of nuclear weapons by the United States. That
is, the US nuclear weapons are intended for war use. Therefore, the more sophisticated and
destructive US nuclear weapons are, the more harmful they are. The less, the gradually
changing from a strategic atomic weapon to a tactical nuclear weapon. In a real war, if a
nuclear weapon is thrown on a factory and blown up, the surrounding villages will not be
affected, which is its highest realm. But North Korea’s nuclear weapons are not like this.
On the one hand, North Korea’s nuclear weapons are used for nuclear blackmail. From this
perspective, this kind of nuclear weapon is more terrifying than American atomic weapons.
What surprised me through this article is that the maintenance cost of nuclear bombs
is exceptionally high. For countries with relatively little national power, it is difficult to
maintain a nuclear weapon. That is even more serious for a country like North Korea. As for
the high cost and difficulty of maintaining the atomic bomb, everyone in North Korea’s
economy is well aware that it is undoubtedly worse to feed the nuclear bomb under such
circumstances. A country like South Korea is even too lazy to provide its military, let alone
North Korea. I think this kind of thing can only be done under the crisis of subjugation and
This article also dispels the myth that North Korea has as much military and nuclear
power. Because of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the peaceful revolution of the
West, Iran and North Korea were prepared to give up their nuclear weapons under the
coercion and lure of the United States. Willing to be the next Iran. The nuclear relationship
between North Korea and Iran used to be very close. On the one hand, the former lacked
resources; on the other hand, the latter lacked technology. I have always felt that North
Korea’s nuclear is not a problem. To be precise, North Korea’s nuclear is not on the Korean
Peninsula. The fundamental problem, the real problem of the Korean Peninsula, lies in the
hegemonic power political state headed by US imperialism.
Reading: Balkanization of Eastern Europe (Again)
after I read this chapter I learned that The concept of “Balkanization” was born at the end of
the 19th century and the 20th century. It describes the political violence, ethnic conflicts,
and the country’s disintegration that occurred in the Balkans following the collapse of the
Ottoman Empire. From a historical perspective, “Balkanization” is the product of the conflict
between the demands of the weak and small nations in Southeast Europe to establish a
nation-state after the awakening of the national consciousness and the Ottoman Empire’s
requirements to maintain rule in Southeast Europe。 Similarly, “Balkanization” also
permeates the interests of the European powers and reflects the European powers. The
intervention in Balkan affairs is the product of the competition among European powers to
divide the Ottoman Empire’s territory in the Balkans. At its root, the historical burden of
hostility, hatred, and conflicts on the peoples of the Balkans is one of the “Balkanization” that
cannot be ignored.
I believe that “Balkanization” as a historical phenomenon has two levels of meaning:
establishing or terminating the existing nation-state, or ethnic or religious conflicts and wars
due to the disintegration of a multi-ethnic state; the other is the main one. The great powers
of Europe or the world have a significant influence on the relations between Balkan nations
and countries. “Balkanization” is a legitimate product of the imperial policies of major powers
and the competition between major powers. In the nineteenth century, the West did not
have a standard stereotyped view of the Balkans. The Balkan Wars and the First World War
shaped the utterly negative image of Balkan dominance. “Balkanization” is an abstract
symbol of violence and instability resulting from an area where different ethnic groups live
together. In the discourse of mainstream Balkan scholars, the Balkans is located on the edge
of Europe, and its territory belongs to Europe. Still, it is not within the time and space of
modern Europe. The Balkans is the birthplace of basic and primitive nationalist sentiments.
It is the region where European civilization ended and other non-European areas began.
However, these discourses fail to fully describe the political complexity of Southeast Europe
and the results of the geopolitical strategies of the major powers to create violence for their
goals. It should be said that the Balkans is an area where European powers expand their
influence, and the Balkans is a reference point for European powers to identify themselves as
advanced and modern countries.
in my opinion “Balkanization” penetrates the interests of European powers and reflects
the intervention of European powers in Balkan affairs. It is the product of European powers’
competition to carve up the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. “Balkanization” is not because
of the Balkans’ combative and combative spirit. It is the result of the continuous invasion of
foreign nations centuries and the use of fire and swords to interfere with the lives of the
Balkans. In the 19th century, the competition around the Eastern issue entered a fierce
stage, and the Balkans became a stage for the great powers to seek their interests and expand
their influence. the European powers Russia, Britain, France, Austro-Hungary, Italy, and
Germany looked forward to the crumbling Ottoman Empire. They used political, economic,
military, and diplomatic methods to maximize their benefits in the Ottoman Balkans.
Reading: China and the South China Sea
The South China Sea is located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. All air and sea routes
passing through the South China Sea pass through the Nansha Islands in the South China
Sea. The geographical position is highly advantageous. From traditional security geopolitics,
occupying the Spratly Islands is equivalent to directly or indirectly controls most of the sea
from the Strait of Malacca to Japan, from Singapore to Hong Kong, from Guangdong to
Manila, and even from East Asia to West Asia, Africa to Europe. Aisle. Such an advantageous
strategic location plays a vital role in the traditional security framework. The meeting of the
security interests of forces inside and outside the region is bound to intensify the competition
for control. So, the South China Sea Passage is of great strategic significance to China’s
energy security. In recent years, the United States has paid more attention to the Asian
region. From Obama’s “Asia-Pacific rebalancing” to Trump’s “Indo-Pacific strategy,” the
United States will increase its deployment and engagement in the Asia-Pacific region in the
future. After all, here are America’s core interests, including important allies. On the one
hand, the US military in the Asia-Pacific region can contain Russia, echoing the power of
Europe, and check and balance Russia from two directions. Therefore, the military forces
deployed in the Asia-Pacific region often deter and provoke Russia. On the other hand, the
Asia-Pacific region can directly target China. The military bases deployed by the United
States in the Asia-Pacific region are also encircling China. As an essential zone for US troops
to enter the Asia-Pacific region, the South China Sea region has become the most critical
bridgehead for the US military. The US military often conducts exercises, but there has been
no military confrontation or conflict between the two sides from the previous point of view.
The US Secretary of State had predicted that the Biden administration would “re-engage with
China and cooperate with China” from a strong position. The implication is that the Biden
administration may renew the Obama-era policy, which maintains competition and
cooperation with China. If this policy can be implemented smoothly, Sino-US relations can
be smoothly eased. It will enhance regional peace and stability, and China and the United
States will also improve military communication and dialogue. Naturally, the relationship
will not be taut, so the probability of war is relatively small.
in my opinion, The situation in the South China Sea has entered a very rare period of
peaceful opportunities, which is far better than before. As long as the United States does not
intervene or arbitrarily provocation, the South China Sea is already a sea of peace, a sea of
friendship, and a sea of cooperation. on the other side, that the probability of war is
relatively small because China and the United States have a lot of economic, political, and
cultural interpenetration. The fight between the two superpowers is bound to trigger World
War III. If the two countries fight, the domestic companies in the other country will be
dissolved. , Will directly dissolve many jobs. The government will suddenly increase
employment pressure, and China itself is challenging to find employment. This problem will
be severe; on the other hand, if the two countries fight, it will inevitably trigger. In the third
world war, the cultural penetration of China and the United States was pervasive. Now our
food, clothing, housing, and transportation are in line with international standards. A
superpower can never be closed to the country. If it fights, it will enter a state of lockdown. ,
The war situation will trigger social panic, which will be a significant threat to a country
with a large population. The current war is not like the war in the 1980s. Many people and
guns can win the battle Informatization and high-tech warfare are the main trends in the
future battlefield. The requirements for combat personnel are very high. The number of
people may be an advantage, but it may also be a disaster.
Published by CQ Press, an Imprint of SAGE Publications, Inc.
China and the South China Sea
Can the U.S. stop Chinese expansion?
hina has been increasingly aggressive in the strategically vital South China Sea, establishing naval
and air bases — and installing weapons — on
islands it is constructing atop environmentally
sensitive reefs. Tensions in the vast region, heavily patrolled by
the U.S. Navy, have risen sharply in recent months. Surrounding
nations, including the Philippines, a major U.S. ally, want access to
the sea’s wealth of natural resources — primarily oil, natural gas
and fisheries — and its busy commercial shipping lanes. Responding to China, former President Barack Obama sought to
shift more U.S. military resources to the region, but critics say his
“pivot” was inadequate. President Trump’s nominee for secretary of
State, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, told Congress the
United States should forcefully confront China in the South China
Sea and possibly deny it access to the islands it has built. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ mercurial new president has voiced hostility
toward the United States and a desire for closer relations with
China, injecting further uncertainty into the region.
Chinese and Russian naval vessels hold a joint
exercise in the South China Sea on Sept. 19, 2016.
China’s aggressive military activities in the region,
including building military bases in the contested
Spratly Islands and sending an aircraft carrier into
the Taiwan Strait, worry many of China’s neighbors.
Rex Tillerson, President Trump’s pick for secretary of
State, also denounced China’s actions.
CQ Researcher • Jan. 20, 2017 • www.cqresearcher.com
Volume 27, Number 3 • Pages 49-72
THE ISSUES ………………….51
AT ISSUE……………………..65
OUTLOOK ……………………67
THE NEXT STEP …………….71
• Is China seeking to dominate the South China Sea?
• Should America’s regional
allies pay more for U.S. protection?
• Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement important to maintaining U.S. regional alliances?
Asian Nations Clash Over
South China Sea
The pursuit of oil, natural
gas and other resources is
spurring regional tensions.
Asians Back Greater U.S.
Military Presence
A majority backs U.S. “pivot”
to South China Sea region.
Malaysia Tops Oil, Gas
The South China Sea’s reserves
are largely unexplored.
Colonization and Resistance
European powers faced opposition as they sought to
colonize the South China Sea
region in pursuit of trade.
World War II
With Japan’s defeat, communist China began a slow rise.
President Obama promised
“a new era of engagement”
in Asia.
Key events since 1511.
U.S.-Philippine Relationship
Grows Rockier
Mercurial leader “just does
not want to work with the
United States.”
China Reaching for
Superpower Status
But analysts see huge
obstacles to its bid for
global supremacy.
Troubled TPP
Supporters are trying to save
the trade pact.
Military Rebalance
Critics say the U.S. needs a
bigger naval presence.
Trump’s Impact
Experts are uncertain what the
new administration will do.
Cover: Getty Images/Xinhua/Zha Chunming
CQ Researcher
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Thomas J. Billitteri
Fireman, kenneth.fireman@sagepub.com,
Kathy Koch, kathy.koch@sagepub.com,
Scott Rohrer, scott.rohrer@sagepub.com
Thomas J. Colin
Sarah Glazer, Reed Karaim, Peter Katel,
Barbara Mantel, Chuck McCutcheon,
Tom Price
Michelle Harris, Betsy Towner Levine,
Robin Palmer
An Imprint of SAGE Publications, Inc.
Rising Tensions
A Trump nominee’s comments
could spark backlash.
Jan. 20, 2017
Volume 27, Number 3
At Issue:
Does China’s military buildup
in the South China Sea
threaten U.S. security?
For More Information
Organizations to contact.
Selected sources used.
The Next Step
Additional articles.
Citing CQ Researcher
Sample bibliography formats.
Karen Phillips
Todd Baldwin
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China and the South China Sea
Six countries — China,
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam
he Spratly Islands have
— have overlapping claims
long been celebrated
to waters, islands, and reefs
for their exotic marine
in the South China Sea.
life, including more than 1,000
China claims four-fifths of
species of birds, fish, turtles
the sea — a claim an interand sea grasses.
national tribunal rejected in
Lately, however, the remote
July. The most hotly concollection of coral reefs and
tested areas are the Paracel
small islands in the South
Islands (occupied by China
China Sea has become a
but also claimed by Vietnam
source of ominous political
and Taiwan); the Spratly Isand military tension.
lands (claimed by Brunei,
Since 2013, China has been
China, Malaysia, the Philipusing sand dredged from the
pines, Taiwan and Vietnam);
seafloor to turn coral reefs in
and the Scarborough Shoal,
the Spratlys into seven artificial
a chain of reefs and rocks
islands covering more than
about 100 miles west of the
3,200 acres, complete with
Philippines claimed by
harbors, runways and hangars
China, Taiwan and the
for military bases. 1 China’s
intentions are benign, a govAll but Taiwan have signed
ernment spokesman said in
the United Nations Conven2015: “The construction activtion on the Law of the Sea
ities . . . fall within the scope
(UNCLOS) under which a
Protesters from Vietnam and the Philippines demonstrate
of China’s sovereignty, and are
country’s territory extends 12
at China’s consular office in Manila on Aug. 3, 2016,
lawful, reasonable and justinautical miles from its shoreto demand that China respect their countries’ rights to
fied. They are not targeted at
line. In addition, the treaty
harvest fish and other resources in the South China Sea.
any other country.”
nations the right to drill,
Several Asian nations have overlapping claims to
But last month the Chinese
pursue other economislands, reefs and shoals in the vast sea, which also
holds large untapped quantities of oil and natural gas.
Defense Ministry conceded that
ic activities 200 miles from
China has placed weapons,
its shores in an area known
including anti-aircraft missiles, on the that first, the island-building stops, and as an Exclusive Economic Zone. In
man-made islands, saying “they are pri- second, your access to those islands is the South China Sea, the 200-nauticalmarily for defense and self-protection, also not going to be allowed.” 4
mile zones result in multiple overlapping
International tensions over China’s claims, especially because some counand this is proper and legitimate.” 3
China’s neighbors, along with many buildup are only the latest in a decade- tries have occupied — and in some
U.S. foreign policy experts and at least long dispute with Beijing over the strate- cases created — small islands within
one likely key member of President gically important South China Sea, the Exclusive Economic Zone of other
which stretches from Brunei in the nations.
Trump’s administration, disagree.
Secretary of State nominee Rex Tiller- south to Taiwan in the north and the
For China, the South China Sea is
son said at his Jan. 12 confirmation Philippines in the east. (See map, p. 52.) of huge strategic importance. China’s
hearing that China’s activities are “ex- M. Taylor Fravel, an associate professor naval expansion and its construction
tremely worrisome.” “Building islands of political science at the Massachusetts of artificial islands, some analysts say,
and then putting military assets on those Institute of Technology, says the South demonstrate that the Chinese want to
islands is akin to Russia’s taking of China Sea is at the heart of “the world’s control navigation throughout the sea
Crimea. It’s taking of territory that others most complicated territorial dispute,” and dominate the region militarily. In
lay claim to,” Tillerson said. “We’re going one with military, economic and eco- early January, for example, China sent
to have to send China a clear signal logical dimensions.
its lone aircraft carrier into the Taiwan
AFP/Getty Images/Ted Aljibe
Jan. 20, 2017
Asian Nations Clash Over South China Sea
China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other Asian nations have
overlapping claims to islands, reefs and shoals in the 1.4 millionsquare-mile South China Sea. The stakes include the rights to oil,
natural gas, fisheries and other natural resources. China is also
constructing controversial military outposts in the disputed Spratly
Islands in an attempt to tighten its control over the region.
Claims to the South China Sea
Hanoi Haiphong
Bashi C
T H A I L A N D Da Nang
Zones Claimed
Ujung Pandang
Bali Lombok
Mataram Sumbawa
BRUNEI Bandar Seri Begawan C E L E B E S
Nantuna Besar
Kuala Lumpur
c a Johor Bharu
Kuala Terengganu
Ho Chi Minh
Gulf of
Hong Kong
Note: An Exclusive Economic Zone gives a nation the
right to drill for oil and gas, fish or pursue other economic activities 200 miles from
its shores. In the South China Sea, the zones have resulted in overlapping claims.
Source: Beina Xu, “South China Sea Tensions,” Council on Foreign Relations,
May 14, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/ckfsb9k
Strait in what one analyst called a show
of force “intended in part to intimidate”
Trump and Taiwan. 5
“They have nationalistic goals,” says
former Republican Sen. James Talent,
a member of the U.S.-China Economic
CQ Researcher
and Security Review Commission,
which Congress created to monitor
trade between the two countries. The
Chinese, he says, see themselves as
“rightfully the dominant power in Asia.”
(See sidebar, p. 62.)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman
of the Senate Armed Services Committee, put it more harshly in December:
“China is militarizing the South China
Sea, its leaders continue to lie about
that fact, and Beijing is paying little to
no price for its behavior.” 6
China has been beefing up its navy
in recent years. After launching more
ships than any other country in 2013 and
2014, the Chinese navy had more than
300 vessels, including submarines, amphibious ships and missile-armed patrol
craft as of 2015, and the trend is expected
to continue, according to the U.S. Office
of Naval Intelligence. 7
China’s rapid naval expansion makes
some policymakers nervous, especially
in light of the amount of shipping that
moves through the South China Sea.
“The importance of the South China
Sea to global commerce and regional
stability cannot be overstated, with estimates of more than half the world’s merchant fleet tonnage passing through these
waters,” Colin Willett, deputy assistant
secretary of State for multilateral affairs,
told Congress last July. “The South China
Sea also serves as an important transit
route and operational theater for the U.S.
and other regional militaries, including
those of our allies and partners. It allows
us to shift military assets between the
Pacific to the Indian Ocean regions.” 8
In addition, control of the region’s
natural resources — oil and natural gas
reserves and rich commercial fishing
grounds — is at stake. By some estimates,
the South China Sea may contain more
oil than any other area of the planet
except Saudi Arabia. And according to
some estimates, the region has 60 percent
of Asia’s hydrocarbon resources. 9 The
most significant tensions over oil and
gas fields have involved China’s clashes
with Vietnam and the Philippines over
their searches for hydrocarbons in fields
claimed by China. 10
Conflicts over fishing rights are also
heated. The South China Sea provides
12 percent of the global fish catch,
and countries with territorial claims
in the region have strongly contested
access to fisheries. Competition has
led to serious overfishing. Fully half of
the fisheries in the South China Sea are
either over-exploited or have collapsed,
according to experts. 11
As tensions rose in the past year,
critics charged that former President
Barack Obama made inadequate attempts to counter growing Chinese influence in the region. Meanwhile, Donald
Trump’s ascension to the presidency has
generated anxiety among many U.S. and
Asian experts and policymakers because
of his threats to upend alliances and
what many see as his unpredictability.
Trump repeatedly has criticized China
over trade policy, saying the country
unfairly closes its domestic market to
imports while flooding the United States
with cheap exports. And on Dec. 2,
Trump broke decades of diplomatic
tradition by taking a congratulatory call
from Taiwan’s president. Since 1972,
despite its close ties to Taiwan, the
United States has adhered to a “One
China” policy, under which China asserts
that Taiwan is a Chinese province and
not an independent country.
“I don’t know why we have to be
bound by a One China policy unless
we make a deal with China having to
do with other things, including trade,”
Trump told Fox News on Dec. 11.
“We’re being hurt very badly by China
with [currency] devaluation, with taxing
us heavy at the borders when we don’t
tax them, with building a massive
fortress in the middle of the South
China Sea, which they shouldn’t be
doing.” 12
Some argue that China’s aggressiveness has actually strengthened the U.S.
position in Asia. Citing China’s military
buildup, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, a
former commander of the U.S. Pacific
Command and former director of National Intelligence, told Congress last
July that other countries were looking
to the United States for help in countering
an increasingly hard-line China. “China
has paid a heavy price for its aggressive
Asians Back Greater U.S. Military Presence
Asians, with the exception of Malaysians and Pakistanis, generally
say more U.S. military resources in the Asia-Pacific region would
reduce the chances for conflict with China.
Would more U.S. military resources in the Asia-Pacific area be
good or bad for peace in the region?
(Percentage responding)
Vietnam Philippines Malaysia Indonesia
Source: “U.S. Defense Pivot to Asia Welcomed, for the Most Part — But Chinese
See U.S. as Trying to Limit China’s Power,” Pew Research Center, June 22, 2015,
activities in the hostility of the other
claimant states,” he said. 13
The Obama administration moved to
strengthen the U.S. position by undertaking a “pivot” or “rebalance” of American political, economic and military resources toward Asia and away from the
Middle East.
The two most important legs of
Obama’s strategy were a commitment
to increase U.S. naval assets in Asia
and the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP), a trade pact between
the United States and 11 Pacific Rim
countries finalized in February 2016
but awaiting congressional approval.
TPP backers see it as an attempt to
strengthen the economies of regional
allies, but many think the Republicancontrolled Congress is unlikely to ratify
the pact after Trump heavily criticized
it during the presidential campaign.
As for the other leg of Obama’s
“pivot” strategy, the United States
pledged in 2012 to deploy 60 percent
of its naval assets, including warships
and submarines, in the Pacific by 2020,
up from the current 50 percent. 14
Despite those efforts, some experts
argue the strategy is failing, “primarily
for want of power,” Talent says. The
U.S. Pacific Fleet, which had 192 ves-
sels two decades ago, had 182 as of
January 2016. 15
Congress has failed to fund a larger
Navy due to budget constraints, according to Robert D. Kaplan, a senior
fellow at the Center for a New American
Security, a bipartisan think tank in
Washington focused on security policy.
“You can have all of the great concepts
of an Asia pivot you want,” Kaplan
says. “It’s not going to matter much”
without ships.
Further complicating the situation
has been last year’s election of Rodrigo
Duterte as president of the Philippines,
historically America’s strongest regional
ally. Duterte has been a strident critic
of U.S. policy and has reached out to
China and Russia. (See sidebar, p. 60.)
As policymakers assess the future
of international relations in the South
China Sea, here are some of the questions they are asking:
Is China seeking to dominate
the South China Sea?
It’s not just China’s growing navy
that worries some analysts. China also
has been expanding its footprint in
the South China Sea by occupying
contested islands and building artificial
islands for use as military bases.
Jan. 20, 2017
“China has continued to build harbors, communications and surveillance
systems, logistical facilities and three
military-grade airfields on many of the
features it occupies,” Abraham M. Denmark, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for East Asia, told Congress in
July. “In the past year, China also has
deployed radar systems, anti-ship cruise
missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and has
rotated fighter jets through features it
claims in the South China Sea.” 16
China’s construction of hangars and
underground storage facilities for fuel
and water would support extended
deployments of aircraft and ships, he
said, as would its installation of antiaircraft weapons.
China’s leaders previously promised
they would not militarize the South
China Sea. During his state visit to the
United States in September, in fact,
Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “China
does not intend to pursue militarization”
on the disputed Spratly Islands in the
South China Sea. 17
While some skeptics scoff at those
promises, other experts, noting that the
weapons systems placed on the Spratly
Islands are limited in range, say China
is simply positioning itself to defend
its territory and trade routes against the
United States and others. 18
“Since around 2010, China’s security
policy has evolved from a focus on
homeland defense to one . . . best
characterized as ‘peaceful expansion,’ ”
Timothy Heath, a senior international
defense research analyst at RAND Corp.,
a research organization based in California, told the U.S.-China Economic and
Security Review Commission last January.
Since China’s commercial and military
interests have expanded geographically,
Heath said, its ability to protect those
interests also had to expand. 19
As a result, he said, China has shown
a greater willingness to involve itself
in mediating disputes in regions far
from its own shores.
MIT’s Fravel agrees China’s military
posture is more defensive than aggres-
CQ Researcher
sive in nature. “I think they want to
ensure that they are in a position not
to be dominated,” he says. “I think
they would like to weaken the influence
of the United States, but that paradoxically may mean that they are more
willing to cooperate with their neighbors on the things that their neighbors
value, like investment projects.”
Other experts, however, argue that
China’s intentions are not so benign.
China is patiently building toward the
day when it can militarily and economically dominate not just the South
China Sea but all of Asia, they claim.
President Xi Jinping has “an empire-building intention,” says Ming Xia,
a professor of political science at the
College of Staten Island in New York.
“In foreign affairs, China wants to be
respected and feared by countries in
both the East China Sea and the South
China Sea and India. I think the appropriate comparison is to Japan in
the 1930s,” when the Japanese invaded
Manchuria, a region of China, in 1931.
China’s need to dominate the region,
says former Sen. Talent, is particularly
acute because the country’s leaders
don’t have the legitimacy that comes
with democratic elections. “They have
to be able to show to their people
that they have produced success as
rulers,” he says. “Part of that is quality
of life at home and part of that is
prestige in Asia. That is what is driving
them to assert sovereignty over the
seas, including the South China Sea.”
Frank Gaffney, president of the Center
for Security Policy, a conservative think
tank in Washington, agrees that China
wants to expand its control. “This is a
moment when I think the China dream,
as Xi Jinping calls it, is to be realized
at the expense of everybody else in that
part of the world, and it will return China
to what it considers to be its rightful
place as the world’s preeminent power,”
says Gaffney, an adviser to Trump.
At the same time, some analysts say
China’s aggressiveness may reflect tension
between its civilian and military leaders.
During a recent fact-finding trip to
China, James Clad, senior adviser for
Asia at the Center for Naval Analyses,
a federally funded research and development organization in Arlington,
Va., serving the Navy and other defense
agencies, and a former deputy assistant
secretary of Defense for Asia, says he
got the impression the political leadership “needs to continue to placate
the military, with goodies, acquisitions
and with rhetoric that approaches
hyper-nationalistic sensitivities.”
Some analysts say China is only doing
what most rising regional powers do.
“An increasingly powerful China is likely
to try to push the U.S. out of Asia, much
the way the U.S. pushed the European
powers out of the Western Hemisphere”
in the 19th century, writes John J.
Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “Why
should we expect China to act any differently than the United States did? Are
they more principled than we are? Or
ethical? Less nationalistic?” 20
Bonner R. Cohen, a senior fellow at
the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank in Washington, agrees. “These people are not reckless,” he says. “They make their geostrategic
moves in a very calculating way.
“If they see opportunities, they will
take advantage of those opportunities,”
he continues. “They have always considered areas immediately adjacent to China
— and that includes bodies of water —
as being essentially a part of China.”
Should America’s regional allies
pay more for U.S. protection?
In his first major foreign policy speech
during the presidential campaign last
April, Trump complained that the United
States was paying far too much to
protect other countries. “We have spent
trillions of dollars over time on planes,
missiles, ships, equipment — building
up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia,” Trump said.
“The countries we are defending must
pay for the cost of this defense, and
the South China Sea and would provide
more aid to countries in the region, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
The moves, he said, “underline my government’s resolve to protect our territorial
integrity and sovereignty.” Inada, however, did not provide details. 24
Some policy analysts say Trump’s
push to get allies to pay more will be
versity in South Korea, “Trump to date
has cast the debate in a bean-counting
light: How much do allies pay for this
or that American capability?” 26
Rather than getting allies to pay more
for protection, Kelly said, the United States
should help allies build their own defensive capabilities and coordinate defense
efforts with them. “Multilateral operations
carry greater international credibility, re-
Getty Images/DigitalGlobe
if not, the U.S. must be prepared to
let these countries defend themselves.
We have no choice.” 21
Trump has also suggested that the
United States should end its decadeslong policy against nuclear proliferation
and encourage South Korea and Japan
to acquire nuclear weapons with which
to defend themselves. 22
While most analysts and policymakers reject Trump’s position on nuclear
proliferation, some observers welcomed
his call for greater burden-sharing by
Asian allies.
“In every case the allies should be
shouldering more of their share of the
common defense,” says Gaffney of the
Center for Security Policy, adding that
he found Trump’s call for allies to pony
up “bracing.”
Cohen of the National Center for
Public Policy Research agrees. “We don’t
have the resources that we once did.
So it is much better for us to encourage
other people to look after their own
interests,” he says. “There are things
that they can do for themselves, and
if we don’t show them how . . . and
encourage them to do it themselves,
they will simply rely on us to do it.”
Cohen says the United States has no
territorial claims at stake in the South
China Sea so “it is ultimately incumbent
upon those countries . . . to do as much
as they possibly can for themselves while
at the same time leaning on the U.S.
Navy as kind of an ultimate plan B.”
Others, however, argue that while
wealthier allies, most notably Japan,
should be prodded to contribute more,
the United States shouldn’t be just a
backup. Elbridge Colby, a senior fellow
at the Center for a New American Security,
a liberal-leaning Washington think tank,
told Congress in September that “because
China is so powerful, we do need to
take the lead, but actually that leadership
role will be more likely to catalyze that
burden sharing.” 23
In September, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada announced that his
nation would increase its presence in
Fiery Cross Reef, in the western Spratly Islands, is among the reefs that China
has turned into man-made islands housing army and navy bases and airstrips.
In an effort to stem China’s regional expansion, the United States deployed
warships within 12 nautical miles of Fiery Cross Reef in 2015.
“President Trump will need to stop
focusing on burden sharing and focus
on security relationships,” wrote Anthony
Cordesman, a national security analyst at
the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, a nonpartisan Washington think
tank. Trump shouldn’t ask allies to contribute more than they can afford and
should refrain from giving allies and potential foes the impression that the United
States is disengaging, Cordesman said. 25
Although a discussion of burden
sharing can be useful, wrote Robert E.
Kelly, an associate professor of international relations at Pusan National Uni-
lieve [the burden] on the U.S. military
and signal to opponents that they face
a full-bodied international coalition of
serious, committed democracies — not
just the Americans yet again,” he said.
But others warn that calling on Asian
allies to build up their own defense
capabilities poses its own dangers. “The
Chinese would interpret a buildup of
allied military, and they say so, as a
hostile act,” says former Sen. Talent.
“So you don’t want to do that unless
you’re certain that the Americans are
going to be there backing them up.”
Talent also warns of complications
Jan. 20, 2017
Malaysia Tops Oil, Gas Reserves
Malaysia has the most known oil and natural gas reserves in the
South China Sea, according to the latest available estimates. The
sea’s vast reserves are largely unexplored and may contain more
oil than any other region except Saudi Arabia.
Estimated Oil and Gas Reserves in the South China Sea, 2012
(billions of barrels)
Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Taiwan
Thailand Vietnam
Natural Gas
(trillion cubic feet)
Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Taiwan
Thailand Vietnam
Source: “South China Sea,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, Feb. 7, 2013,
in having Japan assume a higher military
profile because of the notorious behavior
of its soldiers before and during World
War II. “For obvious reasons, historical
reasons,” Talent says, “this needs to be
seen in the region as firmly under the
umbrella of American leadership.”
Oriana Skylar Mastro, an assistant
professor of security studies at Georgetown University and a nuclear security
fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says U.S. alliances in Asia have
delivered benefits that are impossible
to measure in dollars.
“They allow us access and influence,
and access and influence allow us to promote and protect our foreign policy interests,” Mastro says. “Outsourcing our national security interests, even to those that
we like and trust, is never a good idea.”
Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership
trade agreement important to
maintaining U.S. regional alliances?
One of Trump’s most frequent targets
on the campaign trail was the Trans-
CQ Researcher
Pacific Partnership (TPP). At a campaign
rally last June, he characterized the
trade pact as “a continuing rape of our
country” because of its potential to harm
the middle class. 27
Congress has yet to approve the
TPP. To take effect, six countries that
account for 85 percent of the group’s
economic output must ratify the pact
by February 2018. That means both
Japan and the United States must ratify
the agreement. In December, Japan
became the first, and so far only, signatory to do so. 28
When the TPP was finalized in 2015,
it did not include China, which chose
not to participate, according to Thomas
J. Christensen, a professor of international
relations at Princeton University and former
deputy assistant secretary of State for East
Asian and Pacific affairs. “The U.S. goal
in relation to Beijing was not to exclude
China from the TPP,” he wrote, “but to
. . . catalyze China to compete by further
opening its own domestic markets and
providing protection for intellectual property rights for the first time.” 29
While China has not actively opposed the pact, its “One Belt, One
Road” infrastructure project, which is
aimed at strengthening China’s economic links to countries in Eurasia by
building roads and ports, would likely
benefit from the TPP’s collapse. That
is because more countries in Southeast
Asia would look to China rather than
to Western countries for increased trade
and aid. 30
Trump’s adamant opposition to the
pact is “clearly going to ruffle feathers”
among the TPP’s signatories, says Cohen
of the National Center for Public Policy
Research. Because China is not a party
to the TPP, he says, other nations see
the pact as having a “not-too-subtle
anti-Chinese bent to it.” It was, accordingly,
viewed positively by American allies in
Asia who hoped the creation of a freetrade zone would be a counterweight
to an economically powerful China.
Nevertheless, Cohen says the new president will likely reject the TPP. “I think
the pact is effectively dead,” he says.
While the domestic effects of the
TPP were debated during the presidential
campaign, the foreign policy implications
received scant mention, even though the
Obama administration pushed the deal
as part of its Asian pivot.
“TPP would’ve anchored the Asian
pivot for us,” says Kaplan of the Center
for a New American Security. “If you
have a free-trade zone that you are
the head of, you’re in a very strong
position in Asia.” Kaplan says the Trump
administration should push a version
of TPP through Congress “by calling it
something else.”
Georgetown University’s Mastro says
the Asian pivot got lost during the
presidential campaign as the candidates
from both political parties focused on
jobs and American competitiveness.
“I’m not surprised that people in the
Rust Belt weren’t thinking about the
primacy of the United States in the
Asia-Pacific when they voted,” she says.
“You don’t realize how much you need
it until you lose it.”
Getty Images/Asahi Shimbun
Asian countries, according to Mastro,
saw the TPP as an indication that the
United States was going to be more focused on its strategic interests in the
South China Sea. With Trump’s election,
she says, “a lot of the optimism has
been thrown out the window along with
TPP. It was a big component of maintaining U.S. leadership in the region.”
Publicly, Asian leaders say they hope
Trump will reverse course. “I am a strong
supporter of developing trade and open
regionalism in Asia Pacific,” said
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
in November. “It is key to benefiting
our peoples. I look forward to working
with President-elect Trump on our
shared goals of strengthening security
and ensuring growth that is inclusive,
sustainable and fair to all.” 31
Some experts say the Trump administration can accomplish many of
the TPP’s goals through bilateral trade
agreements with friendly countries in
the region. “If we’re not going to go
forward with the TPP, it’s important to
have a substitute . . ., which could be
vigorously pursued through bilateral
agreements,” says former Sen. Talent.
But other analysts say even if the
Trump administration successfully negotiates such agreements, the United
States will have lost credibility by not
ratifying the pact. TPP’s failure “will
raise very significant questions about
our credibility and about our political
will,” says Gregory B. Poling, director
of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies. “It will tell Asian
states that we are engaged militarily
but not necessarily in any other way,
whereas China is playing on all fronts.
That’s damage we’re going to have a
hard time undoing.”
Even if Trump reverses course and
the TPP is ratified, America’s image has
already been damaged, says Mira RappHooper, a senior fellow with the AsiaPacific security program at the Center
for a New American Security. “It has
been deeply concerning to our partners
A Chinese coast guard ship patrols near the Scarborough Shoal in the
South China Sea on Dec.13 as a Philippine fisherman watches. The shoal, lying
within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, is claimed by not only the
Philippines but also China and Taiwan. In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration,
in The Hague, ruled China was infringing on the Philippines’ fishing rights.
in East Asia broadly to see how trade
has been discussed in the U.S. election,”
she says. “They are keenly aware that
this is not just a partisan issue, but that
on both the left and the right there
was a really strong anti-free trade sentiment in the United States.”
Colonization and
ince the early 16th century, European
colonization has shaped the countries
bordering the South China Sea.
The first sustained Western colonization, driven by commercial and religious
motives, began with the Portuguese capture of the city of Malacca on Malaysia’s
southwestern coast in 1511, a feat that
required 1,200 men and more than a
dozen warships. 32
Portugal’s occupation of Malacca,
where it built a fortress to protect its
shipping, was followed by similar oc-
cupations elsewhere in Southeast Asia
by the Netherlands, England, France
and Spain. Eventually, those five powers
controlled nearly all of Southeast Asia.
Britain came to occupy “Burma, Malaya
and Borneo; France controlled Indochina;
the Dutch ruled Indonesia; and the
United States had replaced Spain as
the colonial master of the Philippines,”
wrote Asia expert Mark J. Valencia, an
associate at the Nautilus Institute for
Security and Sustainability, a think tank
in Berkeley, Calif. 33
The experiences of the various Asian
countries — and, in some cases, even
their borders — depended to a large
degree upon the colonizing country
and on events in Europe.
“The frontiers were drawn so as
to avoid disputes among the European
powers,” wrote Nicholas Tarling, an
economist and historian at Australia’s
University of Auckland. “As a result,
especially at the margins, they bore
no firm relation to economic, social,
cultural, ethnic or even geographical
realities.” 34
Changes in borders, governments
and policies — from taxation to land
ownership — “did not merely, nor even
Jan. 20, 2017
primarily, result from the changes in
tensions within Southeast Asia,” Tarling
said. Instead, events in Europe drove
many of the changes. 35
For example, as a result of the
Napoleonic Wars (1803-15), the French
gained dominance over the Dutch Republic and its colonies in Southeast
Asia. At the same time, the British took
possession of Dutch colonies in India,
Ceylon and Java.
The European powers were generally more interested in commerce and
protection of their shipping lanes than
they were about control of land and
“The changing spirit of the times
was most closely captured by Britain’s
establishment of trading centers at
Penang (1786), Malacca (1824) and especially Singapore (1819), occasioning
the Dutch to establish similar ports
within their sphere of influence,” said
Robert E. Elson, an emeritus professor
of history at Griffith University in
Queensland, Australia. “This was the
beginning of the age of ‘free-trade imperialism,’ founded on the belief that
‘free trade,’ commerce unhindered by
protection and undiverted by the demands of territorial administration, inevitably meant Britain’s economic success as well as greater prosperity for
those peoples with which it traded.” 36
China also had significant influence
over the region. Like the Europeans,
the Chinese were not interested in
controlling lands or peoples in Southeast Asia. China was “content with
the confession of vassalage” that
would ensure profits for the government and protection for Chinese
traders, according to Tarling. When
they were challenged, China intervened ruthlessly. 37
Meanwhile, the Chinese dynasties
faced increasing domestic difficulties
and became increasingly vulnerable to
European encroachment. Two conflicts
with Great Britain weakened China’s
last dynasty, the Qing, which ruled
from 1644 to 1911.
CQ Researcher
The first Opium War (1839-42) broke
out when China attempted to prevent
British traders from selling opium from
India in China. “The resulting widespread
addiction in China was causing serious
social and economic disruption there,”
wrote Asia historian Kenneth Pletcher.
In March 1839, the Chinese government
confiscated and destroyed more than
20,000 chests of opium warehoused at
Canton by British merchants.
“The antagonism between the two
sides increased a few days later when
some drunken British sailors killed
a Chinese villager,” Pletcher said. “The
British government, which did not
wish its subjects to be tried in the
Chinese legal system, refused to turn
the accused men over to the Chinese
courts.” 38
Hostilities broke out several months
later. British forces captured Nanjing
in 1842, leading the Chinese government to capitulate. Besides forcing
China to pay a large indemnity, the
Treaty of Nanjing required China to
increase from one to five the number
of “treaty ports” where British merchants
could trade and to cede the island of
Hong Kong to the British. 39
The Second Opium War erupted in
1857 as China was attempting to put
down the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64),
a political and religious upheaval that
cost an estimated 20 million lives.
British forces, joined by French troops,
prevailed, resulting in further Chinese
concessions, including legalization of
the opium trade.
“In the 19th century, as the Qing
dynasty became the sick man of East
Asia, China lost much of its territory
— the southern tributaries of Nepal
and Burma to Great Britain; Indochina
to France; Taiwan and the tributaries
of Korea and Sakhalin to Japan; and
Mongolia, Amuria and Ussuria to Russia,”
wrote the Center for a New American
Security’s Kaplan. 40
The growing reach of European colonizers brought resistance from native
Between the mid-19th century and
the 1930s, “European governments found
themselves engaged in ‘pacification’ campaigns against traditional states and popular rebellions,” said Carl A. Trocki, an
Asia historian at Queensland University
of Technology. 41
At the end of the 19th century, a
new global power entered the political
maelstrom of the South China Sea: the
United States. At war with Spain in
the Spanish colony of Cuba in 1898,
the United States joined forces with
Philippine resistance forces to drive
the Spanish out of the Philippines.
The rise of nationalist and communist
movements in Southeast Asia was encouraged not only by local conditions
but, once again, by events in Europe.
The onset of World War I in 1914
pitted the colonial powers against each
other. The resulting bloodbath demonstrated two things to resistance movements in Southeast Asia.
“The unprecedented scale and carnage of the hostilities served to undermine any pretensions that Western
civilization possessed inherent moral
superiority, while on a more concrete
level, Britain and France, despite emerging as victors, both suffered a serious
(and, it would prove, irreversible) erosion of economic and military power,”
wrote historians Paul Kratoska and
Ben Batson of the National University
of Singapore. 42
By 1920, the confluence of domestic
conditions and events in Europe enabled
nationalist movements to challenge colonial regimes throughout the region.
World War II
hese nationalist movements stalled
in the 1930s because of a new
Asian occupier, Japan, which began
invading its neighbors in the lead-up
to World War II.
The Japanese empire — in an attempt
to secure resources, especially oil and
Continued on p. 60
Outsiders colonize Asia.
U.S. Navy dominates the western
Portuguese warships capture
Malacca in Malaysia, marking the
beginning of 400 years of European colonization in Southeast
First Opium War begins after China
tries to prevent British traders from
importing opium into China; with
British victory in 1842, Treaty of
Nanjing requires China to increase
to five the number of ports open
to British traders.
Japan occupies Taiwan.
After the Spanish-American War,
the United States colonizes the
Nationalist movements challenge
colonial regimes throughout the
South China Sea.
World War I erodes ability of colonial powers to maintain control in
Southeast Asia.
French forces battle Vietnamese
nationalists backed by China and
Russia; French withdraw in 1954
and Vietnam is partitioned.
China publishes map of the South
China Sea outlining its claims to
nearly all of the sea.
Communist Chinese forces defeat
Nationalist Chinese, who flee to
Gulf of Tonkin incident — a
reported clash between a U.S.
destroyer and North Vietnamese
forces — sparks a major increase
in U.S. involvement in Vietnam
South Vietnam falls to North Vietnam;
China seizes the Paracel Islands,
which had been claimed by the
South Vietnamese government.
Chinese and Vietnamese forces
battle at Johnson South Reef in
Spratly Islands, claimed by both
countries; 64 Vietnamese soldiers
reportedly are killed.
With the onset of World War II,
Japan — having already occupied
Korea in 1910 and Manchuria in
1931 — captures nearly every
country in South China Sea
China Sea grows.
Japan surrenders; United States becomes dominant power in western
U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying
near China’s Hainan Island collides
with a Chinese fighter.
Chinese influence in South
Barack Obama, describing himself
as “America’s first Pacific president,”
promises Asian countries “a new
era of engagement.”
Obama announces a “pivot” to
Asia, including a bigger naval
presence in the region.
China declares an “air defense
identification zone” covering a
large maritime area separating
China from Japan.
China moves oil exploration gear
into the Paracel Islands, renewing
tensions with Vietnam. . . . Satellite
images show China building an
island at Fiery Cross Reef in the
Spratlys large enough for an airstrip.
U.S. deploys warships within 12
nautical miles of Chinese-occupied
Fiery Cross Reef.
U.S. deploys more ships near Triton
Island in the Paracels to reassert its
“freedom of navigation” rights
(January). . . . International tribunal
rules in favor of the Philippines
and against Chinese in dispute over
ownership of the Spratly Islands
(July). . . . Philippine President
Rodrigo Duterte visits China and
returns with billions of dollars in
aid and trade deals after telling the
Chinese that “America has lost now”
(October). . . . China acknowledges
that it has installed weapons on
disputed islands in the Spratlys
(December). . . . President-elect
Donald Trump causes a diplomatic
kerfuffle by taking a congratulatory
phone call from Taiwanese president;
a Chinese warship seizes a U.S. research drone in South China Sea
Jan. 20, 2017
U.S.-Philippine Relationship Grows Rockier
Mercurial leader “just does not want to work with the United States.”
ith last year’s election of Rodrigo Duterte as Philippine
president, the United States’ relationship with the Asian
island nation — historically America’s strongest ally in
the South China Sea region — has grown a lot more complicated.
Since taking office in June, Duterte called President Obama a
“son of a bitch,” threatened to expel U.S. Special Forces from training
grounds on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, announced
the end of joint U.S.-Philippine patrols in the South China Sea and
suggested he was open to alliances with Russia and China. 1
The mercurial Duterte visited China in October and came
home with billions of dollars in aid after telling the Chinese:
“America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological
flow. And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [President
Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against
the world: China, Philippines and Russia.” 2 A few days later,
Duterte issued a clarification, saying he did not intend to split
from the United States. He said he was calling for a “separation
of foreign policy” rather than “a severance of ties.” 3
Then in late October, the Philippine government announced
that it had reached an agreement with China on the disputed
Scarborough Shoal, an undersea ridge approximately 100 miles
west of the Philippines. While details of the agreement were not
revealed, a Philippines government spokesman said Chinese ships
were no longer blocking Philippine vessels in the area. 4
Most recently, Duterte, who is scheduled to visit Moscow
in April, told Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov, head of Russia’s
Pacific fleet, that he was welcome in the Philippines “anytime
you want to dock here for anything, for play, for replenish[ing]
supplies or maybe [to be] our ally to protect us.” 5
Some experts have attributed Duterte’s antipathy toward the
United States to the Obama administration’s criticism of Duterte’s
anti-drug campaign, which the administration said has involved
widespread extrajudicial killings and tactics that are “entirely
Continued from p. 58
rubber, that were scarce within its territory — expanded into the Asia mainland with its occupations of Korea in
1910 and Manchuria in northeast China
in 1931. It also occupied the island of
Taiwan from 1895 until World War II
ended in 1945.
With the onset of World War II,
Japan quickly moved to take control
of nearly all the countries in the South
China Sea region. Between 1940 and
1942, Japan invaded Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines,
Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and
CQ Researcher
inconsistent with universal human rights.” 6 Others see Duterte’s
outreach to China as evidence of his long-standing hostility to
the United States. Duterte, who previously was mayor of Davao
City, is “reflexively anti-American,” says Gregory B. Poling, director
of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan policy research
organization in Washington. “He just does not want to work
with the United States.”
Despite Duterte’s anti-American rhetoric, many experts say
the United States remains popular in its former colony, which
it controlled from 1898 to 1946, when the Philippines gained
independence. “The United States is quite popular in the Philippines,
and the alliance [between the two countries specifically] is quite
popular in the Philippines,” says Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior
fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank
in Washington. Noting that the United States is a top importer
of Philippine goods, such as machinery, Rapp-Hooper says the
U.S.-Philippines relationship is broader than just security.
“While Duterte may be deriving some personal satisfaction and
perhaps some political points from seeming to push back on a
longtime patron, I think his true alignment will ultimately be determined by his interests,” she says. “It is pretty clear that his
interests are not as black-and-white as his rhetoric would suggest.”
The foundation of the nations’ security relationship is a 1951
mutual-defense treaty that requires each nation to come to the
aid of the other in the event of conflict or a threat to national
security. In exchange for providing protection to the Philippines,
the United States was allowed to maintain large military facilities
in the Philippines, most notably a naval base in Subic Bay and
Clark Air Base north of Manila.
In 1991, the Philippine Senate, citing the U.S. military presence
as a vestige of colonialism, voted to expel U.S. forces from
Subic Bay and Clark Air Base. 7
Burma and occupied all of them until
the war’s end. Its troops in China and
elsewhere were accused of committing
war crimes, including mass killings and
rapes of civilians.
Although the Japanese occupations
had stalled nationalist movements in the
region, after Japan’s defeat these movements “resurfaced and finally succeeded
in throwing off the colonial political yoke,”
wrote Valencia of the Nautilus Institute
for Security and Sustainability. 43
In China, the end of the war — and
the end of fighting against the Japanese
— meant a return to internal struggles,
primarily between communist forces led
by Mao Zedong and nationalist forces
led by Chiang Kai-shek. That struggle
was settled, at least for mainland China,
when Mao triumphed and Chiang and
his followers fled in 1949 to Taiwan,
which the People’s Republic of China
still considers its province.
Two years earlier, in the midst of
its civil war, China issued a map detailing its South China Sea claims known
as the “nine-dash line” — a territory
extending hundreds of miles south and
east from its southern province of
Hainan. China argued that the Paracel
— Patrick Marshall
and Spratley islands had been integral
parts of China for centuries. 44
The region also became “the cockpit
of a contest between Western capitalism
and Soviet and Chinese communist ideology,” Valencia wrote. “The West, led
by the United States, propped up dictators
with force to prevent the spread of communism (resulting in the suppression
of people’s movements in Malaysia and
the Philippines) as well as mass humanitarian tragedies in Vietnam and
Indonesia.” 45
When French forces withdrew from
Vietnam in 1954, the Geneva Accords
Getty Images/Pool/Thomas Peter
In the years just before Duterte’s election, the Philippines
had been cooperating more with the U.S. military because of
rising South China Sea tensions. In 2014 the Philippines approved
a 10-year agreement giving U.S. forces greater access to Philippine
bases. 8 And last March the two countries signed an agreement
providing for a new permanent U.S. military presence at five
Philippine air bases under the recently negotiated Enhanced
Defense Cooperation Agreement. 9
After assuming office Duterte benefited from a July ruling
by an international tribunal that sided with the Philippines over
China in a dispute involving the Spratly Islands. 10
The tribunal’s ruling, rather than increasing tensions between
the two nations, seems to have given Duterte an opportunity
to move closer to China. Rapp-Hooper calls Duterte’s decision
not to press Philippine claims to the disputed islands and waters
after the ruling a diplomatic turning point.
“Without the ruling, it would be very hard to see this bilateral
diplomatic opening between China and the Philippines taking
place,” she says.
It is unclear how Donald Trump’s election will affect U.S.Philippines relations. Trump and Duterte spoke by phone in
early December when, according to Duterte, Trump endorsed
Duterte’s controversial anti-drug campaign, calling it “the right
way” to deal with the problem. 11 The Trump transition team
has not confirmed Duterte’s account.
“Duterte is wildly popular in the Philippines as someone
who is standing up to the rest of the world, and that also
means the United States,” says Bonner R. Cohen, a senior fellow
at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “I fully expect
the Trump administration will try to reach out to him. Duterte
clearly has no use for Obama, but Obama will be gone.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Philippine President
Rodrigo Duterte in Beijing, on Oct. 20. Duterte was on a
four-day state visit to China aimed at improving relations
between the two South China Sea rivals.
1 “President Duterte, the Wild Card in U.S.-Filipino Relations,” The New York
Times, Oct. 4, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/zpzhxoy.
2 Katie Hunt, Matt Rivers and Catherine E. Shoichet, “In China, Duterte announces
split with US: ‘America has lost,’ ” CNN, Oct. 20, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/hrvlp8q.
3 James Griffiths, Matt Rivers and Pamela Boykoff, “Philippines not really severing
ties with US, Duterte says,” CNN, Oct. 22, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/hc6g8am.
4 Richard C. Paddock, “Chinese Vessels Leave Disputed Fishing Grounds in
South China Sea,” The New York Times, Oct. 28, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/grn94m2.
5 “Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines’ ally and protector,” Reuters,
Jan. 6, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/jjqgum3.
6 Jim Gomez, “Duterte tells Obama ‘you can go to hell,’ warns of breakup,”
The Associated Press, Oct. 4, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/…
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