ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 09 Oct 2017
Lawfare is “a form of asymmetric warfare, consisting of using the legal system against an enemy, such as by damaging or delegitimizing them, tying up their time or winning a public relations victory.” China and the US both use it with regard to the South China Sea.
By Mark J. Valencia - 11 Sep 2017
For 70 years the United States has dominated Southeast Asia with both hard and soft power. While its hard power is still dominant and may even grow, its soft power seems to have declined. This decrease is both absolute and relative to that of China.
A Chinese incursion in Australia’s EEZ has sparked a debate. Many say China is hypocritical because it is undertaking ISR missions in other countries’ EEZs while opposing those of the US in its own EEZ. But there are differences between what China and the US are doing.
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.