Will the U.S. Stand Up to China?
In Senate confirmation hearings on January 11, Trump's pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxonmobil, said "We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed."
China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang responded with a statement that China's right to carry out normal activities in its sovereign territory in the South China Sea is indisputable. In reality, China's territorial claim to the South China Sea is illegal and nothing more than a land-grab, according to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Chinese control over the South China Sea is of concern to many countries because more than $5 trillion in trade flows through it every year, the area contains fisheries not yet depleted and the area is potentially rich in natural gas and oil. If China were to further restrict access to the South China Sea it could have a significant negative impact on many nations.
After Obama pivoted the attention of the U.S. military to East Asia, some countries started pivoting away from the U.S. and towards China.
As the American empire has shown increasing signs of over-reach and decay, China has quietly expanded its influence around the world and more countries have been aligning themselves with China. Even the Philip- pines cozied up to China after The Hague ruled in its favor on China's grab of its territory.
Much of the world no longer wants the United States to be their policeman and understands that the world is now much more multi-polar. But, the U.S. does not seem to understand this and continues to try and dominate the world and sustain more than 800 military bases around the world.
The U.S. cannot defeat China in a military conflict. With a population of 1.4 billion compared to America's 320 million, China's potential for boots on the ground, in the air or under the sea is vastly greater. It has control over much of the world's metals, including rare earth metals needed in military hardware and it has the factories to convert those metals into weapons. China also has the money necessary to wage a protracted war, America does not.
China has stolen most American military technology and developed it further, so America no longer has any significant technological advantage.
Donald Trump is a deal-maker who operates from a position of strength and it could be that Tillerson's statements are just part of Trump's deal-making strategy, or Trump may actually want to pick a fight with China. If he does pick a fight, America and the rest of the world will lose.