Last week, the U.S. Navy announced they dispatched a small armada to the South China Sea. Consisting of the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier, two cruisers, two destroyers, and the 7th Fleet flagship, the US is making their mission clear — we are not scared of kicking off World War III.
Now, only a week later, they are flexing even more military might, announcing they have deployed three B-2 Spirit nuclear stealth bombers to support the U.S. Pacific Command. U.S. forces in the Pacific have been saber rattling with China for months.
According to Stars and Stripes,
On Tuesday, North Korea announced it has developed the capability to put a miniaturized nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, the same day that the Air Force deployed the B-2s. The Air Force did not specify where the B-2s would be based.
“Recent events demonstrate the continued need to provide consistent and credible air power throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Gen. Lori J. Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander. “Our ability to demonstrate credible combat power while training and inter-operating with our network of like-minded partner nations is vitally important.”
Not only is the military deploying nuclear bombers to the region, but they are also flexing their might by conducting the largest combined amphibious exercise of its kind to date.
The exercise, known as Ssang Yong, which means ‘Twin Dragons,’ consists of approximately 9,200 U.S. Marines and 3,100 U.S. Navy personnel who will work alongside 4,500 ROK Marine Corps, 3,000 ROK Navy, 100 Australian Army and 60 Royal New Zealand Army forces.
“The sheer number of personnel involved is extremely impressive,” said Capt. Ed Thompson, commander, Amphibious Squadron 11. “There are a lot of moving parts and things that need to align for a successful exercise. When they do, it is truly amazing to see how we operate together.”
The area where Ssang Yong is taking place is only a stone’s throw away from the disputed region in the South China Sea, where, according to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Chinese are militarizing the region and the U.S. is being forced to act.
However, as Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for China’s National People’s Congress said,
“The accusation [that China is militarizing the region] can lead to a miscalculation of the situation. If you take a look at the matter closely, it’s the US sending the most advanced aircraft and military vessels to the South China Sea.”
But the US seems unconcerned with the facts and more intent on provoking a fight.
“China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea,” Carter said in a speech in San Francisco earlier this month. “Specific actions will have specific consequences.”
The region in question is known as Xisha in Chinese and Hoàng Sa in Vietnamese, and is a group of islands, reefs, banks and other maritime features in the South China Sea. It is controlled (and occupied) by the People’s Republic of China and also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
This dispute over who lays claim to the region dates back decades, and physical violence has erupted between the disputing parties on multiple occasions as recently as 1974. However, since then, the dispute has remained peaceful — until now.
The U.S. is attempting to claim that the Chinese presence in the region is some new conflict and are touting strawmen such as closed trade routes as a reason for flexing their military sway. But there is no evidence that trade will be affected at all.
No country in their right mind would hinder its ability to export, and China shows no signs of halting exports any time soon.
In October, an anonymous defense source told Foreign Policy that the U.S. was determined to put on a “show of military might.”
“It’s not a question of if, but when,” the official was quoted as saying.
Well, it appears that the ‘when’ is now.
The U.S. is already engaged in proxy wars with Russia in Ukraine and Syria, which have the potential to devolve into an open conflict between the superpowers. Attempting to intimidate the Chinese in their own backyard seems like an incredibly ill-conceived move at this time.
American actions will inevitably only serve to bring the Russo-Sino strategic military alliance into closer consultation with one another in an attempt to stem U.S. global imperialism.
While this may be splendid news for defense contractors and weapons manufacturers, it’s extremely dangerous news for the rest of the world. One strategic miscalculation could result in events spiraling drastically out of control.