Thursday, November 28, 2013
My good friends, while we in Ghana are engrossed in arguments concerning bread and butter, happenings in other parts of the world suggest something ominous that we must not gloss over. If not resolved amicably, this conflict has the potential to cause catastrophe worldwide.
Our own conflict with the Ivory Coast concerning the Cape Three Points oilfields is worth our trouble; but how many of us even consider it as worth our bother while we engage in this bread-and-butter politics?
At the global level, China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are locked in an ownership struggle over islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Claiming to be the only superpower in the world, the US has already inserted itself into this conflict.
Unfolding right in front of our eyes is the tension that will likely destabilize global politics and threaten world peace unless sound minds resolve the crisis.
China’s strong economic performance (outdoing Japan to become the world’s second strongest economy, and threatening to dislodge the US by 2015 to take the first position) is not a welcome development for those who can hardly believe the strides being made by the country that has been disparaged for centuries on the basis of its communist status.
While the West and Far East (including Japan) maintained their anti-China rhetoric and expended resources supporting forces challenging communism, China quietly stepped up its game to acquire all that it needs to stand on its feet to be reckoned with as an economic and military giant.
Today, China’s rise to power has virtually silenced its critics and sent terrible shivers down their spine.
Talk about advancements in the sphere of space exploration, and China pops up. Bring up military capabilities, and China rears its head. Its ability to build gargantuan naval fleets and carriers is worrisome to its critics.
Its penetration into fertile grounds on the globe (especially Africa) is a scourge to the US and its allies, apparently because of the threat that it poses to their economic and geopolitical interests.
Let’s take the petroleum sector, for instance. It is common knowledge that China has seized that sector in Africa (where the US gets one-fifth of its crude oil supplies) and Canada (where the US gets one-eighth of its crude oil supplies). And China is eyeing other sectors to the chagrin of the US and its allies.
China’s penetration into those spheres doesn’t come with political domination, which throws overboard the European colonialist enterprise. At least, for now, China is not occupying any territory into which it has extended its economic interests; it hasn’t given any slight hint yet of dominating those territories in the near future, which is why it is received with open arms wherever it goes.
Certainly, the rise of China dims the light of its loud-mouthed critics whose operations always leave behind ugly traces because they have no permanent friend anywhere but interests everywhere to exploit, damn the consequences. And where they face resistance, they deploy military cunning and inject military hardware into the system as they knock heads together and exploit. China’s penetration lacks that militaristic facet.
China has registered itself on the global scene as a better alternative. It remains to be seen whether this trend will change for the worse; but for now, China is super confident in its own capabilities and can boast of soaking up the shortfalls recorded in the US economy (in the trillions…!!). Only a lame-brain will attempt under-rating China’s capabilities.
That explains why China’s current take on its newly declared air defence zone in the East China Sea (a zone that includes a groups of islands known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku by Japan) is provoking so much disquiet in the US, Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere. The vast zone, announced last week, covers territory claimed by China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Japan controls the islands, which have been the focus of a bitter and long-running dispute between Japan and China. The zone also covers a submerged rock that South Korea says forms part of its territory.
China says the establishment of the zone was “completely justified and legitimate”, but it has been widely condemned. China has said all planes transiting the zone must file flight plans and identify themselves, or face “defensive emergency measures” (according to the BBC news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-25144465).
Here is the scenario: China has taken its claim over the disputed territory a notch higher by declaring it a defence zone. Immediate reaction from Japan was vitriolic, but Japan didn’t do anything practical to firm up its resistance. Only the usual rhetoric.
But the US tested China’s resolve, setting the stage for a further flexing of muscles. The US called the Chinese move a “destabilising attempt to alter the status quo in the region” and immediately went into action to fly two unarmed B-52 bombers through the zone unannounced on Tuesday (as stated by the BBC).
Provocative as this action by the US might be, China didn’t take any action, even though it revealed that it knew about the presence of the US aircraft in that zone and monitored its flight paths. But the US’ action might be considered as testing the waters in support of its allies (Japan and South Korea).
Consequently, South Korea also flew one of its military planes in the zone on Tuesday.
Then, on Thursday, Japan said its aircraft had conducted routine “surveillance activity” over the East China Sea zone, but did not specify when.
They did so only after the US’ action had set the stage for them. Could the US be inviting China to a dangerous game or simply testing the waters to reassure its allies that it is capable of defending their interests?
China itself has sent warplanes to the zone in the wake of these “intrusions” but hasn’t indicated whether it will shoot down any aircraft violating that airspace.
We can see danger mounting already. If China goes beyond monitoring the movements of these aircraft to downing any, the situation will explode into something unimaginable. Gradually, this conflict is becoming a time-bomb to be handled with maximum care.
With so much accomplished in almost all spheres of human endeavour, China now feels strong enough to bulldoze its way through the global sphere. Is this rise of China into global prominence a curse? Who knows what else China will soon lay claim to? Are we nearing that point of a major global catastrophe on account of China’s rise to power and head-butting manouevres? Indeed, money talks!!
I shall return…
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