South China Sea: U.S. Policy Has ‘Failed Spectacularly’

The guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen transits the Pacific Ocean in April 2016. (Image: Official U.S. Navy Page via flickr/CC BY 2.0)
The guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen transits the Pacific Ocean in April 2016. (Image: Official U.S. Navy Page via flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Beijing is not stepping back in pursuing its vast territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the U.S. is at a loss in how to deal with the situation.

Analysts are saying it is becoming increasingly evident that Beijing is playing by its own rule book, and not the liberal-institutional world order established by the U.S. after World War ll.

The most prominent example of this is how Beijing ignored the results of a tribunal with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in July that ruled against China’s claims to virtually the entire 1.4-million-square-mile chunk of open ocean.

And Washington does not know how to deal with China’s increasing assertiveness across the Western Pacific, according to Seth Cropsey, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank.

In fact: “U.S. policy has failed spectacularly,” said Cropsey, who spoke at a gathering at the Center for the National Interest in Washington on September 28 as per a video posted on Facebook.

“We choose to see China as a large market that can be cajoled and persuaded into joining us as a defender of international security and economic security,” Cropsey said about the West’s approach to China.

“U.S. policy makers hope that the large volume of trade between China and the U.S., and the accompanying economic progress in the former, would remold Chinese rulers to look, think, and act more like us. The evidence does not support this hope,” he said.

Instead, Cropsey pointed out that Beijing’s actions show that it sees the U.S. as a strategic opponent.

He said that Beijing will continue in its determination to turn the international waters in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea into its territorial waters.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have contesting claims in the South China Sea, but what Beijing is doing, and its military buildup, dwarfs all of their efforts combined.

Beijing also has conflicting claims against Japan in the East China Sea.

“I do think that if U.S. policy continues largely to overlook increasing Chinese aggression off its international waters on its south coasts, the prospects for a Chinese hegemony will increase as our Asian friends and allies seek new accommodations, new trading partners, and new security arrangements,” Cropsey said.

“Our willingness to resist China’s challenge to the international order is not growing,” he added.

Cropsey said that the U.S. Congress does not appreciate how severe the situation is.

Beijing also has conflicting claims against India on the eastern sector of the Himalayas. See this NDTV report on how India has been responding to increased Chinese incursions in the contested areas:

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