Forgive me for using a technical term, but this is plainly "stupid:"
Americans often assume that Chinese military aggression is increasing the likelihood of a clash between China and the United States. But many policy makers in Washington ignore that Beijing has good reason to be troubled by the United States’ military footprint in its neighborhood. President Obama’s “pivot” to Asia — which includes doubling down on Washington’s already-robust military presence in the region — further stokes the potential for conflict between China and the United States.
If the United States wants to avoid strife in Asia, it should resist antagonizing China by encircling it with ever more military partners and bases.
What are these guys talking about?
We're not trying to take anything from China. Not even that which they've already taken. We are just trying to dissuade China from taking more at the expense of our allies.
What does "doubling down" on our military presence mean when our military footprint is smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War and smaller than it was before President Obama took office, notwithstanding the declared "pivot" that merely allocates a higher percentage of our shrinking military to the Pacific?
In 2012, based on my copy of The Military Balance, we had about 70,000 troops deployed in Japan (including about 13,000 ship crews, subtracting land-based personnel from the total), South Korea, Australia, and (our territory) Guam.
In 2008, in that year's edition, we had 65,000--not including ship crews of our 7th fleet based in Japan, which the 2012 number counts. The fleet based in Japan is approximately the same size, so add 13,000 to get 78,000.
A decrease of 8,000 personnel in just 4 years is "doubling down" our military presence?
And why is it antagonizing to China for us to support neighbors of China who do not wish to be pushed around by their far stronger neighbor?
And why is helping Vietnam--the only new partner I can see among our longstanding allies and friends--wrong rather than the pressure China is exerting on Vietnam being wrong?
Are neighbors of China obliged to submit to China by reason of proximity? Please send a note to Cuba, if so.
Isn't China antagonizing their neighbors by threatening them--even ignoring a non-military court case that rejected the basis for China's claims at sea--with direct action and their little pet nuclear psycho North Korea?
The conclusion of these two authors is fascinating:
A more nuanced approach to the Asia-Pacific region would allow the United States to pursue goals like democracy promotion and secure long-term stability. Too much focus on militarization is a recipe for conflict.
Pray tell, would democracy promotion in regard to China (or even just in Hong Kong) and North Korea be welcomed by China or would it "antagonize" them?
Would defending democracy in Taiwan--which China claims is a renegade province that must be restored to Peking's control--please or "antagonize" China?
Isn't helping democratic Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines defend themselves actually promoting democracy for the benefit of long-term stability?
Once again, I guess I just don't get nuance.
Or perhaps their arguments are just stupid.