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Troubled waters in the China sea
What is happening in the China sea? Why this palpable electrifying tension in the Pacific part of the world? Why two thousand and five hundred American marines will debark from mid 2012 in the military base of Darwin in Australia? Why warships will cruise the area? Why the consolidation of the erection of a new naval base in Guam? Why this sudden deployment of forces in the open? To impress? Not that far from the truth...
In his solemn tour in the Pacific president Obama, winged sandals shod, carried a message behind the pomp of the congratulations and the hand shakes. His prosaic objectives, that didn't strike the eye immediately, is the signature of contracts... As he carried with pride the colors of the American industry and preached well its virtues, Boeing and Indonesia sealed their partnership with the green currency. The other goal, more flaunting, is the display of the shinier American plumage.
Since 2009 China stressed on its agenda the modernization of its army. Today, its military budget ranked second ($119 billion) worldwide, just behind the United-States. May China be seen as a menace? Last August, it launched its first aircraft carrier (America numbers 11). Maybe. Since 1970, it sent its first satellite. Its first spacial flight occurred in 1993. It never raised complaints and suspicions before? China is growing rapidly. It is not news. Which drop of water just made the ocean to overflow? What does scare the United-States? Its economical power (gaining the superpower status)? Its military sophistication (the strike capacity spreads from the JL2 missile -submarine-launched ballistic missile- to the fashionable stealth fighter jet)? Its foreign policies (turns its back to the U.S. and embraces illicit -for a Westerner's opinion- unions with North Korea, Iran...)? Its political alliances (the BRIC, to quote the most influential)?
Second largest trading country, second military force in the world and first energy consumer (weakness that entails in its case dependency), China developed a large commercial and diplomatic network to ensure the well-oiled machine of conquest success; Thus its remarkable ubiquity in the Middle-East (Iran, Saudi Arabia), in Africa (Algeria, Nigeria...) and South America (Brazil, Venezuela...). A series of incidents involving South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines pushed China to stand on a defensive mode and its neighbors, to call for help and duck behind the U.S. shield. United against one is their motto.
Unfortunately, in my eyes, the most credible explanation for this agitation is China's reassertion of its sovereignty over the China sea. On which motive, will you ask? Nothing more but new-found rare earth elements (withheld from the Japanese government, upon which is exerted a monopolistic trading by the Chinese authority) and recently discovered oil and natural gas deposits guaranteeing independence on the energy sector.
AH... Revelation... The commotion is not linked to the protection of countries that felt endangered by their geographic proximity or, that were violated by China but, and only, to their greed and lack of natural resources. By supporting South Korea, the Philippines and Japan (has the largest American overseas and operational base -Yokosuka- in the Western Pacific), America will, with a certain outcome, have its share of the pie. No risks involved, no unsureness related to the future of the investment, the wealth is there, ready to be extirpated from the abyss of the Pacific.
In a declining slope of oil production context, in a restricted market concerning rare earth elements, which country won't brandish its last card, the joker, to possess the property deeds of the China sea for its contents? Where is the ethics in disputing what belongs to another in order to rent the concession for exploitation, like the Philippines with India under the unquestionable blessing of the U.S.?
Isn't the China sea Chinese? If not, why did South Korea, Japan... wait until the discovery of rare earth elements, oil and gas to start to claim any rights on the rich waters? In this crisis that gathers all the ingredients for a Tom Clancy's novel, the future will belong to the one who won't make wave and solve the problem diplomatically.