South China Sea, a powder keg?

Discussion in 'East Asia & The Pacific' started by Cossack25A1, Jul 4, 2016.

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  1. Cossack25A1

    Cossack25A1 1st Lieutenant

    Oct 22, 2015
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    Collecting Waifus.
    Is the South China Sea the Stage for the Next World War?

    It's not just about the rocks.
    Zidny Ilman
    July 4, 2016

    Recent skirmishes in the South China Sea between the Indonesian navy and China’s coast guard have reinvigorated public interest towards the region. Some applauded Indonesia’s resolve in defending her rightful maritime territory. However, some are still left wondering over China’s motives in provoking such regional conflict—including with Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. How can one explain why China risks a major war that could potentially drag the United States in for a bunch of uninhabited rocks?

    Some say they are fighting for control over major oil and gas reserves in those seas. But this seems not to be the case. After all, great powers have rarely fought one another in a major war over economic resources in modern history, if at all. Or is it because of China’s nine-dash line? For sure, one needs to differentiate the means, ways and ends of phenomena. The nine-dash line is a means that China uses to justify its policy ends. But it does not explain the endgame it wants to achieve—therefore, it cannot be used to explain its motives in the South China Sea.

    Let’s take a look back at the twentieth century. World War I started when Austria-Hungary declared war on and attacked Serbia. So, does it mean that World War I was caused by Austria-Hungary’s invasion? No. Austria-Hungary did start the war, but it was certainly not caused by it. The cause of the war was the great powers’ concern about the prevalent regional order in Europe—and their wish to alter it.

    The Germans (together with Austria-Hungary) looked uncomfortably at the shifting balance of power towards the Franco-Russian (and possibly British) alliance. They saw the erosion of Germany’s dominance over the European order while looking for a way to reverse the trend. The French and the Russians, boosted by newly gained power, had been humiliated during the German-led political order before and were also looking for a way to punish Germany along with her allies.

    Similar to World War I, World War II started with an invasion, when Hitler invaded Poland. However, Poland was not the cause of the Anglo-French and German rivalry escalating to a war in 1939. Instead, the Anglo-French were concerned over the shifting balance of power towards Germany’s favor and sought to prevent it from going further in that direction. That determination finally led to war over Poland’s survival.

    Put simply, what Serbia and Poland have in common with the South and East China Seas is that they served as a venue of great-power rivalry. But they are definitely not the cause of that rivalry.

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