The US and China are playing a geo-political chess game in the Asia-Pacific region that could develop into a new cold war, as US allies adopt more aggressive postures toward China amidst increased militaristic meddling from Washington.
The Obama administration’s so-called “Asia-Pivot,” is an aggressive policy that involves surging American military presence throughout the region with the aim of containing China’s rise.
Part of this strategy involves reaffirming defense treaties with US allies in the region, like Japan and the Philippines, both of which have ongoing territorial disputes with China over uninhabited island strips in the neighborhood.
Chinese analysts see the US “as militaristic, offense-minded, expansionist, and selfish,” according to Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell in Foreign Affairs.
According to Nathan and Scobell, “China is the only country widely seen as a possible threat to U.S. predominance. Indeed, China’s rise has led to fears that the country will soon overwhelm its neighbors and one day supplant the United States as a global hegemon.”
They add that America “is the most intrusive outside actor in China’s internal affairs, the guarantor of the status quo in Taiwan, the largest naval presence in the East China and South China seas, the formal or informal military ally of many of China’s neighbors, and the primary framer and defender of existing international legal regimes.”
Washington has been building new military bases and refurbishing old ones in the region in order to lay the ground-work for an “air-sea battle” with China. The idea is to have enough US bases peppered throughout the region so that China would be too surrounded to safely attack.
A recent report from the CSIS predicted that next year “could see a shift in Chinese foreign policy based on the new leadership’s judgment that it must respond to a US strategy that seeks to prevent China’s reemergence as a great power.”
“Signs of a potential harsh reaction are already detectable,” the report said. “The US Asia pivot has triggered an outpouring of anti-American sentiment in China that will increase pressure on China’s incoming leadership to stand up to the United States. Nationalistic voices are calling for military countermeasures to the bolstering of America’s military posture in the region and the new US defense strategic guidelines.”