Hagel shows US hegemony addiction

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-21 1:08:01

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday criticized a Chinese vessel's encounter with US guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens as "irresponsible," and claimed the US wishes to avoid conflicts in the South China Sea. He called on China to stay prudent.

What he failed to mention is that the encounter occurred on China's doorstep, and that the US vessel trailed the Chinese aircraft carrier.

The US' overbearing accusations sharply contrast with China's comparatively late and low-profile reaction. The US has become used to its hegemony on high seas, which international society seems to tolerate, and that makes the US navy tend to forget the difference between the high sea and its territorial waters, or mistake the South China Sea with the Caribbean.

However, the South China Sea will never be the same as the Caribbean, thus the US navy will have to consider the national interests and the feelings of China while cruising in the South China Sea. The Chinese navy needs to remind the US of that difference - just because China was not capable of asserting its interests in the past doesn't mean it has given up this right.

Only by struggling will China gain its proper level of rights and strategic space, and it holds no illusions that the US will automatically cede to the Chinese Navy. The US will never pleasantly accept China's rise regardless of how China reaffirms its peaceful nature. China is not likely to stop advancing for the US' sake, either.

In the future the Chinese Navy will send more fleets further into the ocean along with the expansion of China's interests, making more conflicts with the US possible. China should avoid collisions of planes or ships with the US, but should also keep its bottom line. China needs to work out emergency plans for all possibilities. Prudence has to be used by both sides, otherwise the only option is cowardice, which is increasingly unacceptable to Chinese society.

The Chinese Navy has done a good job. However, the defense ministry hasn't been able to keep pace with the Navy's act of deterring the US vessel. Speaking has traditionally been a weak point for China, which should be strengthened.

We must see that China is still at an all-round disadvantage to the US, but China is rising and the US is in relative decline. The US is attempting to contain China's rise within its designated frame. China doesn't intentionally challenge the US, nor is it obliged to follow US rules.

Such conflicts are unavoidable yet controllable, and even necessary. China's objective should be clear, the tactics flexible, and sometimes, patience is more important than determination.

The US has been the most common actor to interpret "international responsibility." One day, China will teach the US that responsibility is not as simple as the way the US sees it.

Posted in: Editorial

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