US insists on gunboat policy

By Luo Yuan
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, August 16, 2010
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Recently, the Pentagon reportedly said that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington would participate in a series of joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea with South Korea in the coming months. If true, this would overturn the previous declaration by U.S. military officials.

China resolutely opposes the use of the Yellow Sea and other coastal waters by foreign military vessels and planes because it may compromise the country's security interests, so it urges the relevant parties to respect China's concerns.

However, the U.S. insists on operating its aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea. What kind of message does Obama administration want to send? This tells me that the U.S. government continually pursues hegemony, gunboat diplomacy, and unilateralism.

First, there's hegemony. Many Americans believe in "manifest destiny," which proclaims the U.S. as the best nation with the most advanced social system, and thus destined to lead the world. They want to promote their democratic values all over the world—even through military force. They don't concern themselves with other nations' security, and they are used to participating in conflicts and affairs everywhere, which generally exacerbates matters.

Next is gunboat diplomacy. On May 25, the U.S. Navy released the final version of its Naval Operations Concept 2010, which explains how maritime forces will provide forward presence, deterrence, maritime security, sea control, power projection, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

Whereas, the "forward presence" means the U.S. could push its security boundary to the doorstep of others - the Yellow Sea, South China Sea and so on; the so-called deterrence means the U.S. can act with military force. Maritime security means only its national security is crucial. Sea control means the U.S. must control all the important places in every ocean. Power projection means it must project its power in war. Humanitarian assistance means the U.S. military should be humanitarian to Americans, but violent to other countries. This is also the reason why the U.S. military spends so much in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Finally there is unilateralism. The Obama administration declared that they would separate themselves from Bush's unilateralism and pursue a smart-power policy. But judging by the U.S.-South Korean naval exercises, it seems it's more unilateral confrontation than any multilateral security cooperation, which displays not smart power but conveys brute power.

Chinese people love peace and will proceed along the path of peaceful development. We do not want to be at odds with any country, but we will retaliate when we are offended. A country needs respect, and so does its military. If Americans know what democracy is, they should learn to respect other countries and solve problems with wisdom instead of gunboats.

The author is a Major General with Academy of Military Sciences.

(This article was first published in Chinese and translated by Lin Liyao.)


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