THE POHOTTUWA GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA Part 2 C7d
Posted on December 1st, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

For seven decades from the end of the World War II in 1945, the US Seventh fleet dominated the Pacific area and provided much of its security said TIME.     US was  supported in this task, by the ‘Five Eyes’ a highly secretive  intelligence alliance of Australia, Canada, New ZealandUnited Kingdom and the United States. According to Wikipedia, this expanded to Nine Eyes with Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway and then Fourteen Eyes with Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden joining in.

Some of these countries, it appears cannot stand on their own.  They need a protector. New Zealand said they like US being in the region, but if the US is not there the void has to be filled and it will be filled by China.   NATO also said it could not do without the USA.

However, USA is not a global superpower anymore said TIME. The US does not carry as much weight in the world economy as it used to. Earlier it was the US which was the single largest contributor to world growth.  But now the Chinese economy has overtaken it.  When the US share of the world economy falls, its ability to wield influence will become less, said analysts.

When the 21 century began, US found that it was not as strong as it used to be. USA was no longer able to fight wars by itself.  U.S. Army was ranked “weak”   in the Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of U.S. Military Power

US Air force consists of ‘old models’, in stark contrast to its rivals. US Navy maintains a moderate global presence, but has little ability to meet wartime demands.  Naval air power, which since World War II has been the main weapon in the U.S. arsenal, is no longer effective.USA can no longer scare away countries, by dispatching carriers or guided missile cruisers to loiter menacingly offshore.

Analysts observed in October 2019, that the U.S. Navy isn’t ready to take on even Iran.  Iran has a domestically produced Noor antiship missile (a reverse-engineered copy of a Chinese cruise missile) which was dangerous at over 100 miles. In 2016, the USS Mason, a destroyer ship, discovered this when it was targeted by several Noor missiles. The combination of these missiles and Iran’s fleet of fast and cheap patrol boats has been enough to keep the USS Lincoln out of the Persian Gulf in 2019.

China’s army, on the other hand was getting stronger. Robert D Kaplan said in   2009 that in the next decade, China’s navy will have more warships than the United States’. China is producing and acquiring submarines five times as fast as is the United States. In addition to submarines, the Chinese have wisely focused on buying naval mines, ballistic missiles that can hit moving targets at sea, and technology that blocks signals from GPS satellites, on which the U.S. Navy depends.

Regardless of this, US is getting ready for war against China, and plans to fight  China, not only in South China Sea, but also in the Indian Ocean.US wishes to prevent the rise of China as a superpower.

 Head of the US Indo-Pacific command, Davidson, made a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2019, where    he identified China as the enemy  and Indo Pacific as USA’s ‘priority theater’ of war. He called for ‘combat-ready deterrence’ to ‘win before fighting’ and, if necessary, ‘be ready to fight and win.’ The armed forces are to be ‘forward-postured in the region.’

But US alone cannot stand up to China, other countries must also come in, US said. The challenges we face in the Indo-Pacific extend beyond what any single country can address alone, admitted USA. USA is therefore seeking alliances and partnerships, with like-minded countries  to fight in the war.

US has set up an anti-Chinese axis using India and Japan. This became the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) a military alliance between the United States, Japan, Australia and India . This has become QUAD plus”, with UK and France added said analysts in 2019. The QUAD is essentially a military strategic alliance to counter emerging threats from China in the Indo-Pacific region. Warships of the Quad- were to meet in November 2020 in Malabar naval exercise off the Goa coast.

It appears that the Quad alone is not enough to contain China. USA needs a further Joint Force that can act as an effective deterrent and also win in a conflict. In November 2020 Secretary of the US Navy announced that he wants to set up a new   fleet,” ‘in the crossroads’ between Indian & Pacific Oceans, where it could act as a deterrent. We can’t just rely on the Seventh Fleet.

US has also concocted a new international region, the ‘Indo-Asia-Pacific Region’, which includes the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. US president Barrack Obama identified Indo-Pacific as the Centre of its international security strategy. The Indo –Pacific region has now become important, said the US Defence Department in 2019. However, there is no such thing as an ‘Indo-Pacific’, said Tamara Kunanayagam.

USA admits that it is not located in the Indian Ocean. USA is located in the Pacific Ocean. However, USA says it is linked to its Indo-Pacific neighbors through unbreakable bonds of shared history, culture, commerce, and values.” It   therefore has an enduring commitment to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all nations, regardless of size, are able to exercise their sovereignty free from coercion by other countries. 

USA wishes to promote a rules-based free and open Indo-Pacific.    The US wants to see a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that respects principles such as peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom of navigation, open and transparent investment environments, and strong and responsible governing institutions.

Germany’ also said it wishes to see rules-based orderinthe Indo-Pacific region. While Germany is not an Indo-Pacific nation, many European states are joining the Indo-Pacific axis for the enormous trade potential in Asia, Germany said. The shape of tomorrow’s international order will be decided in the Indo-Pacific.  Germany should play an active role in this.

Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia was very encouraging towards USA. It’s important for Americans to understand that they are still in an extraordinarily powerful position in relation to both China and the rest of the world, Rudd said, in September 2020. 

America remains a powerful country in economic terms, in technological terms and in military terms, and against all three measures still today more powerful than China. In the case of the military, significantly more powerful than China, said Rudd., America’s military remains formidable.

Americans shouldn’t talk themselves out of global leadership in the future. Of course, the gap is beginning to narrow, but this will take a long period of time, and there are a number of potential mishaps for China, concluded Rudd.

Former United States Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger is not so optimistic.  He does not think USA will win and he does not think it a good idea for US to start a war.  He thinks US warmongering should stop immediately.

America and China are now drifting increasingly toward confrontation, and they’re conducting their diplomacy in a confrontational way,” said Kissinger. The danger is that this could lead to actual military conflict.”

Kissinger said US should move quickly to restore lines of communication with China or risk a crisis that could escalate into military conflict. If that happens, the world will slide into an experience comparable to World War I, and go into   a war which would be far worse than World War II.

US and China should jointly create a negotiating group where some leader that the US President trusts and some Chinese leader that President Xi trusts remain in contact with each other on behalf of their Presidents,” he said. (Continued)

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