Foreign Policy

War Watch: China Rejects Trump Admin Remarks on Disputed Waters

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The problem with setting foreign policy while flying by the seat of your pants and blurting out deeply consequential things during a regular press conference is that it can affect the entire world when the White House does it.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer stood by state nominee Rex Tillerson who, during his confirmation hearing, said the United States would block China's access to their own man-made islands in the South China Sea.

China's foreign ministry responded this morning by asserting their rights and urging the Trump regime to do something we all know they're incapable of doing.

China's sovereignty over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea was "irrefutable" [Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying] said. But China was also dedicated to protecting freedom of navigation and wants talks with nations directly involved to find a peaceful solution.

"We urge the United States to respect the facts, speak and act cautiously to avoid harming the peace and stability of the South China Sea," Hua said.

Under ordinary circumstances (read: under a Democratic president) this would not be a big deal, but in this case it is. Because the Trump regime does not respect facts or speak or act cautiously.

Secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson probably had no idea what he was really saying during his confirmation hearing when he more or less called for a naval blockade of China. Likewise, Sean Spicer also probably had no idea what he was signing on to. Trump himself clearly has no idea -- about anything.

The other but equally dangerous possibility is that they're intentionally provoking the Chinese.

Now I'm not saying we're necessarily going to get involved in a shooting war in Asia again, but the chances are higher today than they've been in the past 40 years. It will be a miracle if we make it through the Trump administration without a war being started intentionally or even accidentally.

My inner cynical self tells me the Trump regime will intentionally start a war somewhere -- anywhere -- to distract the nation when they fuck everything else up. Anyone who has ever worn a stupid red hat should be the first drafted to fight it, but we know they won't be.

This spat, or whatever you want to call it, came on the same day Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which gives China even more clout in the region at our exclusion. That, in return, will provoke Trump who is an egotistical manchild.

  • ninjaf

    Anyone who has ever worn a stupid red hat should be the first drafted to fight it, but we know they won’t be.

    The trouble is that his average supporter is over the age of 50, so they know they won’t have to personally serve. It will just be their children and grandchildren. So, their pansy asses can armchair quarterback and cheer from the sidelines until enough of them have lost a generation or two of family members. Because we know that they can’t empathize with someone when they have not personally experienced it first.

  • What I find most striking is that China is actually advising our President to be more circumspect. Has that ever happened before? That just seems so bizarre to me.

    • ninjaf

      I thought the same damn thing. Even the Chinese know this dude is laughable and unserious.

  • muselet

    China’s artificial islands are quite likely illegal under international law, or so I understand. However, behaving like grown-ups and exercising a modicum of restraint—and taking the matter to the UN—isn’t nearly as much fun as making threats and potentially starting a war.

    It’s going to be a long four years.


    • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

      My understanding is that they are technically legal since they aren’t “artificial” islands. What China has been doing is taking tiny little natural islands (only a few meters across) and artificially expanding them. As such, they aren’t “man made islands” and can be claimed under the UN. But, in reality, they are man made since what was there was just an uninhabitable speck.

      It’s actually quite clever, really.

      • muselet

        I stand corrected. I was under the impression those were the tips of coral reefs, not islands, but that’s a technical discussion for another time and another forum.

        Regardless, China is, at the very least, pushing the boundaries of legal actifity in order to gain greater control of international/multinational/contested (delete according to preference) waters. That’s an issue that should be taken to the United Nations, not used as an excuse to play tough guy.


  • fry1laurie

    A naval blockade is an act of war, or don’t they know that? Maybe the bats in Michael Flynn’s head can tell them.

  • Georgie
  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    Wars are great for Team Red.

    They get to funnel unlimited amounts of off-balance-sheet funds into the economy.

    They get the play their classic “don’t question the commander in chief in a time of war” card.

    They get to accuse the left of being effeminate weaklings.

    They get to give giant no-bid contracts to their military industrial complex backers.

    They get to pretend to be the party of national security.

    It’s great all the way around.


    So what if we wind up killing a boat-load of innocent people? At least the fetuses will be safe, right?