Several carriers of different nationalities are now coiled like a spring, to paraphrase Thomas Schelling, ready to strike down any Chinese craft that would fire first at the West Philippine sea. China is adamant. That’s no sea militia, says China. Those are only fishing vessels anchored at an island within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. While the Chinese are ready good at negotiations and business, they are suckers when it comes to bluffing. They think that the rest of the world are as foolish as those who think that China’s Xi Jing Ping would definitely succeed in conquering the world. They are kidding themselves.
For starters, China, for all its blusters, does not have a fine record of combat. Yes, they have sophisticated weaponry. Yes, they have a million standing army. Yes, they have trillions of dollars to spend for a war–but the question really is–are they willing to risk all these in exchange for tiny little islands of their supposed friend and ally, the Philippines?
China may have their nuclear weapons but whose to use it at this time and age? The very first one to use a nuclear weapon against another would surely suffer from economic and political isolation. China lives and thrives in globalization. The minute they start a war over there at the West Philippine sea, they risk billions even trillions of lost business opportunities. Try to anger those Chinese billionaires, Xin Ping, and you’ll probably see your butt out of the door.
Seriously, China is so interconnected with the world that they will be the biggest loser in a war over at the West Philippine sea. First, they would surely lose in combat. They have the weapons but they don’t have the experience. Trust me. It’s different when you get involved in war exercises– it doesn’t have that one element that influences the conduct of wars, and that is, fear. Small states may defeat larger ones if those smaller states are more experienced in warfare.
In the event that China does commit that grave error of attacking the Philippines, they will surely contend with the United States–and I am just talking about Uncle Sam– I am not even considering the Aussies, the French, the British and the Germans. Since the end of the Cold War, these Western powers never failed to test their troops in actual combat. They have been to Africa and the Middle East. NATO went to war against Russian forces in the Baltics and in Ukraine and Croatia not to mention the earlier Herzegovina wars. Their armies are highly experienced in combat.
China, however, has Tibet as its trophy for several years. They have been caught in a small scale territorial war with India but it does not compare with a monumental naval battle where the mental wits of their soldiers would be put to a test.
The second error that I hope China commits is to indeed force their way into the West Philippine sea and provoke this war against the Philippines. Their businesses will surely go bonkers. They know that we have the Israelis and the Jews–the real economic powers of this world, at our side. During World War Two, we gave them solace from the brutal hands of Hitler. Surely, they will come to our aid the minute we talk with them.
Literature upon literature projects a strong China. Yet, with its economic might comes its political weakness. I admit it— China houses the best capitalists the world had ever seen, but, are they willing to go in conflict with the West–their biggest markets and their biggest investors just to reportedly fight for their historical rights to own rocks and sand bars?
The United States and its Western allies are just waiting in the wings for the chance to carve China up again just like what they did during the start of the 19th century.
This is reminiscent of the Opium War when rich China went to war with the most modern naval flotilla at that time, and lost. China, at that time, believed in its capabilities of defeating the British but ended up with empty bags of rice.
Of course, many would say, that is a Chinese error that the Communist Party of China would never commit. At this day and age, where technologies of defensive and offensive weapons have given states strategic advantages, there are still other things that one needs to consider before betting a win for China.