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Merkel Changes Course on U.S. Gas Imports
The Myth of the Modernizing Dictator
Like u/plarealtalk noted, this is pretty much a non-event. I do want to ask, though - what is the mission planning process for these cruises and FONOPs? How much does the NSC inject itself into the process vs PACOM doing this out of its own initiative?
EDIT: INDOPACOM, thanks Mitleser1987
It is called INDOPACOM now.
For something like this, NSC will direct the Pentagon, Pentagon will direct INDOPACCOM, INDOPACCOM will choose the assets
SS: While most are keeping track of the tariffs the US imposes on China, or how Beijing retaliates as part of the now official trade war that started at midnight on Friday, July 6, a just as significant, if less overt diplomatic feud is being waged in parallel.
Here, some speculate that today's news of North Korea's response to the ongoing discussions with the US, in which an envoy said that North Korea's "resolve for denuclearization may falter", is a direct consequence of China - which was the puppetmaster behind and greenlighted the Trump-Kim summit - urging Kim to fade Pyongyang's eagerness to engage Trump as "punishment" for Washington's belligerent attitude toward China. Alternatively, one can argue that China is merely responding to the latest diplomatic escalation by the US, which reportedly is preparing to deploy marines to the US embassy in Taiwan for the first time in effect legitimizing the US negation of a "One China Policy", a step which would further inflame tensions between DC and Beijing.
Now, in yet another diplomatic tit-for-tat which could be Trump's latest attempt to further provoke and antagonize Beijing, two US warships entered the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, the Taiwanese government said. A strategically-timed event, this was the first time US navy ships entered Taiwan Strait since November 2007.
The destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold sailed into the narrow waterway separating Taiwan and China on Saturday morning and were expected to continue on a northeast course, Taiwan's defense ministry said in a statement.
"The military is monitoring the situation in neighbouring areas, and has the confidence and abilities to maintain regional stability and defend national security," the statement added, clearly eyeing the inevtiable Chinese response.
According to AFP, a defense ministry official said the ships were still in the strait on Saturday night, sailing in what he described as international waters, even though China may disagree.
But most of all, Beijing is incensed by the recent warming in relations between the US and Taiwan, after President Trump signed legislation paving the way for mutual visits by top officials and the US government approved a license required to sell submarine technology to Taiwan.
As such, it is safe to assume that China's diplomatic response to Taiwan, as well as its ongoing masterminding of the US-N.Korea peace process, will be closely tied to the extent that Trump pushes China into a corner in the parallel, economic trade feud. And, should Trump provoke Beijing too far, it is likely that not only will any further negotiations with Kim could be terminally compromised, but that the US will suddenly find a brand new geopolitical hotspot on its hands in Taiwan.
And now we await China's retaliation, not to whatever new tariff Trump plans to slap on Chinese trade, but to the US Navy's provocative show of force in what China considers its own back yard.
I can't see any direct Chinese retaliation to a couple of US DDGs transiting through the strait. I expect the DDGs were shadowed by Chinese ships and/or aircraft, and that would be about it. It's not like China has ever stated the strait is out of limits to foreign warships during peacetime (though I'm sure they would secretly be overjoyed if the US voluntarily packed up their ships out of the first island chain permanently).
Of course, the Taiwan matter should not be viewed in isolation to other fulcrums of the Sino-US relationship (North Korea, South China Sea, the current trade dispute etc), but this singular event itself is not that big of a deal in the broader political or military relationship. The USN was floating the idea of sending a carrier to transit the strait, and even a singular event like that wouldn't have changed things too much.
However, if such transits become more routine then it could increase tensions and chance for miscommunication as the inevitable Chinese shadowing ships and aircraft operate in closer proximity and frequency to USN ships in the narrow strait.
Now, what would increase tensions far more in terms of the overall political and military relationship between China and the US will be if there is increased high level political or military exchanges between the US and Taiwan. Or, if anyone wants to cast their minds back about a year and a half, when Trump just before he entered office publicly toyed with the idea of abandoning the One China Policy or using it as a bargaining chip for trade talks with China.
Comparatively speaking, two DDGs transiting the strait is small fry.
Why haven't they entered it since 2007? Hardly any reason not to.
It’s the first combatant in a while, but the last USN ship to transit through the strait was USNS Bowditch in 2017. It’s really not uncommon, media will report on it depending on the political needs.
China as been inflaming the situation with Taiwan for years
Can you name some of the ways China has inflamed the situation? Genuinely curious
I'm kind of confused. Most of these articles are only reporting on rhetoric from the Taiwanese side. And pretty much everything reported on only happened after Tsai tried to break precedent and break the status quo. Her pro independence stance had to soften because of backlash from her own people
Well, China's military demonstrations and its rhetoric is a product of Taiwan's current DPP government and leader and their more pro-independence leaning than the previous KMT government. For example, Tsai's unwillingness to agree to the 1992 consensus is a rather big sticking point for China. Historic Chinese behaviour and statements also make it clear that they see the Taiwan independence issue as one which they are willing to raise the temperature for, including to the point of military conflict, so it's not like China's recent actions are a surprise to anyone.
Of course, under the last administration which was more pro mainland and lacked the more pro-independence stance, China's rhetoric was much more friendly and with far less military flexing than what we've seen over the last few years. Whether one thinks it was China that broke the "status quo" or if it was Taiwan that broke the "status quo" will depend on your perspective of what Taiwan's formal political status should be.
If Taiwan is a de facto country and should be treated as such, then China has de facto control over its "territory" in the South China Sea and should be treated as such. No point in agreeing to one but not the other.
It is certainly self governed, and enjoys de facto independence.
However it has yet to declare formal political independence, where such a move would almost certainly result in a military conflict between Taiwan and the mainland.
Blaming the victim eh?
You don't agree with a girl saying that she's not your girlfriend and threatened everyone to call her your girlfriend even though she's not. Since you're the bully in the school, everyone pretend to be so even though they "unofficially" treat the girl independently.
When the girl has a change of mind and finally start that she wanted no part of this, you started to intimidate and threaten her. You claim that your threats are due to her unwillingness to accept "my girlfriend" consensus.
And online trolls blame the girl for "causing" the intimidation?
I'm not unsympathetic to your perspective. But as nice as applying human moral standards to all power politics would be, that luxury isn't afforded in geopolitical struggles either in the present or in the past or future either.
For the purposes of discussion, the action+reaction sequence of the recent relationship between the mainland and Taiwan can objectively be described as Chinese pressure and intimidation/deterrence in response to pro-independence rhetoric and moves by the DPP government. Bringing in emotive words like "victim" to apply a moralistic lens removes any ability to have a proper discussion because both sides will naturally portray themselves as the good guys and the opposing side as the bad guys.
Both sides wanting to portray themselves as the "good guy" does not mean there is no morality to the issue. You can have a "proper" discussion without ignoring the morality. You do need to be careful of narratives and I agree there should be an effort to avoid emotionally charged words but it is too charitable/convienient to the belligerent party here to ignore morality. It is possible to discuss say the Falkland islands without morality coming into play but its also a pretty major factor to acknowledge that the people there don't want to be a part of Argentina.
China making it known that they will militarily invade a de facto independent democracy of millions if it were to declare that it was officially a country (true in all but name) is counter to the ideals of many countries and international principles. It has never been ruled by the CCP and Taiwan has developed into a stable/free/wealthy country independently. It's also been functionally a country for over half a century. Taiwan has backed itself into a corner and should of declared independence when the power balance was closer but there really isn't much besides Chinese nationalism to argue otherwise. Especially since a/the major factor in the lack of formal independence is the threat of invasion. The right to independence is a tricky subject but Taiwan is not.
Personally I think its clear that the West exaggerates/fabricates Chinese belligerence on many issues. Not that it isn't problematic but its usually much more complex (like the 9 dotted line) That being said the Taiwan issue is one where China becomes the clear bad guy and loses a lot of its soft power (and undermines the image of peaceful assent). I understand for domestic reasons China can't back down and can claim its only an internal matter but that does not make for a moral argument.
Your right in the cause and effect of geopolitics that China is reacting to a move by Taiwan but I do think this overall is partly an issue of morality.
That’s a pretty loaded way to talk about it, and I’m saying that as a supporter of Taiwan’s (undeclared) independence.
You got to always take into account what cards the players hold during these high stakes games. We hold the cards! We hit them with an uppercut and we got a slight jab in response. We hold the cards with the Korean Peninsula too. Not China.
The Chinese are trying to ramp up a swift multilateral power grab: New silk road, thumbing down on the north korean situation, trying to coerce the EU and now trying to establish an upper hand on the trade war. While China is nothing to ignore, one must consider what false portrayals of capability and influence they are bluffing about to hide their weaknesses. What the US is doing is a very good way to test what they claim.