US Indo-pa­cific Strat­egy will lead to chaos

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL - By Yan Yun­ming Page Ed­i­tor: [email protected]­al­times.com.cn

US De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper on Satur­day re­vealed his plan to place ground-based in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­siles in Asia. It is widely be­lieved that US al­lies in Asia-pa­cific, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, South Korea and Aus­tralia, would be the coun­try’s first op­tion for mis­sile de­ploy­ment.

But only two days after the sec­re­tary’s state­ment, US fan­tasy was smashed by Aus­tralia. On Monday, Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of US mis­sile con­struc­tion in his coun­try by say­ing, “It’s not been asked of us, not be­ing con­sid­ered, not been put to us. I think I can rule a line un­der that.”

Even if this was not Can­berra’s for­mal de­ci­sion, Mor­ri­son’s words proved that coun­tries in this re­gion have the right and abil­ity to say no to Wash­ing­ton’s over­bear­ing In­dopa­cific Strat­egy. It seems the re­gion’s strate­gic struc­ture is grow­ing in­creas­ingly out of US con­trol.

The Asia-pa­cific has nur­tured sig­nif­i­cant world ac­tors and wit­nessed the rise of emerg­ing pow­ers. In spite of a few oc­ca­sional dis­putes among re­gional mem­bers, co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes have al­ways been the re­gion’s theme, cre­at­ing vi­tal­ity and pro­mot­ing pros­per­ity for not only the re­gion but also the world. And China, an im­por­tant ris­ing power in the re­gion, has brought ben­e­fits and op­por­tu­ni­ties to many re­gional mem­bers and con­trib­uted greatly to re­gional devel­op­ment.

The US, how­ever, al­ways plays spoiler, day­dream­ing about dom­i­nat­ing the re­gion. Its plan to de­ploy the mis­siles ex­poses such in­ten­tion. It’s a bid not only to deal with China and Rus­sia, but also to strengthen and con­sol­i­date its strate­gic dom­i­nance in the Asia-pa­cific re­gion.

But Wash­ing­ton should wake up to real­ity and find out if any coun­try is willing to play its danger­ous game. Coun­tries in the re­gion will un­der­stand that blindly fol­low­ing the US Indo-pa­cific Strat­egy will not only lead to re­gional chaos, but also cause losses to their own na­tional in­ter­ests.

As a US ally, Aus­tralia is con­sid­ered a key re­gional player to con­tain China. But over the years, it has to some ex­tent de­pended on and ben­e­fited from China’s devel­op­ment. Wash­ing­ton’s at­tempts to con­tain Beijing will even­tu­ally di­vide the re­gion, and Can­berra can by no means be im­mune to the im­pact.

When Can­berra is forced to make a choice, it has to weigh things. It ap­pears that Aus­tralia clearly un­der­stands the US plan to strengthen con­trol over the Asia-pa­cific, and has re­al­ized that fol­low­ing the US would only harm it­self. As what prom­i­nent Aus­tralian se­cu­rity an­a­lyst Hugh White had pointed out, Can­berra should not fol­low Wash­ing­ton into a con­fronta­tion with Beijing which the for­mer might lose.

The mis­siles, if de­ployed, will be a mil­i­tary threat to Rus­sia, China and other re­gional pow­ers, and would destroy the ex­ist­ing se­cu­rity bal­ance in the re­gion. Mor­ri­son’s de­ci­sion has re­sponded to other re­gional pow­ers’ con­cerns, such as those of In­done­sia.

The cur­rent pat­tern in Asia-pa­cific where some coun­tries rely on the US mil­i­tar­ily and on China eco­nom­i­cally is un­sta­ble. All re­gional mem­bers should work to­gether to build a se­cu­rity and trust sys­tem with­out chaos brought about by the US.

Se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity are pre­req­ui­sites for a re­gion’s devel­op­ment. If a re­gion be­comes a mil­i­tary arena where ev­ery state is at risk, how can it achieve devel­op­ment and pros­per­ity? This is a fact ev­ery­one with rea­son can un­der­stand. Other mil­i­tary al­lies of the US should think se­ri­ously about it. Re­fus­ing the US mis­sile plan should be a con­sen­sus of all Asia-pa­cific coun­tries.

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