POTUS’s Obama’s National Security Focus On Climate Change & Strategic Patience…Coming Home To Roost: Beijing Has Completed Building Of Military Infrastructure On 3 Artificial Islands In South China Sea
Reuters News Service, and the Daily Mail Online, among other publications are reporting that China has now basically completed building military infrastructure on the three artificial islands that Beijing established over the past year or so near the disputed island chain in the South China Sea (SCS). Reuters and Chris Summers write in the March 27, 2017 edition of the Daily Mail Online that the West can soon expect Beijing to begin deploying fighter aircraft, and other sophisticated military weapons to the three islands. An Asian-based think-tank, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) told Mr. Summers that “satellite images taken this month showed that the work on Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs [can’t make those names up] in the Spratly Islands included naval, air, radar, and defensive facilities.” AMTI’s Director, Greg Poling, told the publication to expect Beijing to begin fortifying these artificial islands in the very near future. Mr. Poling added that “the three air bases in the Spratlys and another on Woody Island, in the Paracel chain further north would allow China’s military aircraft to operate [patrol] over nearly half of the SCS AMTI said that “China had installed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles at Woody Island more than a year ago, and had deployed anti-ship cruise missiles there on at least one occasion.” AMTI added that Beijing “had also constructed hardened shelters, with retractable roofs for mobile missile launchers at Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief; including enough [aircraft] hangers at Fiery Cross for 24 combat aircraft and three larger planes — including [long-range] bombers.”
China’s stepped up, muscular military moves in the SCS, began during POTUS Obama’s watch. The Obama administration’s tepid response to Russia’s re-taking of the Crimea, POTUS Obama’s Syria Red Line threat that evaporated to white, his administration’s intense focus on achieving some kind of nuclear weapons deal with Iran — at the expense other critical national security issue such as this; and, POTUS Obama’s national security team’s focus on climate change and Strategic Patience — was seen in Beijing and Moscow as a weak and feckless U.S. foreign policy, and a disengaged United States. Weakness abhors a vacuum, and Beijing no doubt made a strategic calculation that they could take these kind of provocative military steps in the SCS — with little to no blow-back from Washington. And, Beijing’s hawks were right.
China also appeared to intensify their fortifications and military infrastructure on the three artificial islands — in the months preceding POTUS Trump’s election, perhaps fearing a more muscular U.S. military response to these provocative military measures that has resulted in a noticeable rise in tension throughout the SCS — especially among America’s Pacific allies.
There is an old saying that ‘possession is nine-tenths of the law.’ While POTUS Obama’s national security team was focused on climate change and ‘Strategic Patience’ — Moscow and Beijing were focused on Geographic Change. It doesn’t take a ‘rocket scientist’ to see which strategy is likely to prevail.
An inconvenient by-product of a clueless Obama national security team that was playing checkers — while Moscow and Beijing…….were playing chess! V/R, RCP