ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 24 Aug 2017
The Center for Security and International Studies is one of America’s most respected think tanks focused on defense and security. A recent article in The Rushford Report implies sub rosa bias in the organization of CSIS’s South China Sea conferences.
From August 2-8, 2017, ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners, including rivals China and the United States, will have a series of key security meetings in the Philippines. Casting a shadow upon these meetings will be recent developments regarding the South China Sea.
Joseph Bosco’s critique of China’s actions in the South China Sea, the Obama administration’s response and other issues raises the fundamental questions of the purpose and necessity of Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea.
US FONOPs in the South China Sea are controversial. Their targeting of China’s “excessive” claims there, their resumption under President Donald Trump, and China’s increasingly strident objections raise questions regarding their intent, effectiveness and necessity.
The first FONOP under the Trump administration occurred in late May 2017, when the USS Dewey made a non-innocent passage within 12 nm of Mischief Reef. It raised questions as to the purpose and effectiveness of US FONOPs in the South China Sea.
The outlines of the Trump administration’s policy toward China and the South China Sea are emerging from a fog of confusing and contradictory statements and actions. It is beginning to look more or less like a continuation of that of the Obama administration, with some new twists.
Lost amid the recent cacophony of nationalist rhetoric regarding the disputes in the South China Sea have been calls for the claimants to agree to set aside part of the area for environmental preservation. This suggestion is both idealistic and unrealistic.
Defense ministers, officials and analysts flocked to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore to hear the US and its allies bash China, who wisely sent a relatively low-level delegation. Lost in the bluster and bravado were fundamental questions regarding the strategic future of Asia.