While Europeans, Japanese and the Chinese are all studying the new China strategy by Washington, choppy waters in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea threaten to alienate the two big powers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing is put on alert as more joint military maneuvers between the US navy and South Korea are scheduled on the periphery of China in response to the alleged sinking by the DPRK of a Korean patrol vessel. Tensions are mounting following the recent remarks by Secretary Clinton in Hanoi about the US national interest in South China Sea.
In both cases, our small neighboring countries seek to internationalize regional issues by involving the US military forces. Once again debates flare up about whether China should construct its own blue-water navy to project its armed forces and to protect its growing global stakes. Like the pattern of all other major powers, old and new, the rise of China will have to be scrutinized from competitions in the oceans.
President Obama has made a serious foreign policy mistake by picking the Af-Pak strategy and is accused of being weak. This is perhaps one of the reasons why George Washington was sent to the Yellow Sea.
But, he is barking at the wrong tree since a more assertive China is not Iraq or Afghanistan. The self-fulfilling prophecy of China threat will not help as the US is held hostage by its own paradoxical global ambition. Beijing believes that consultation and cooperation instead of containment delivers the crux of strategic re-assurance.