Impact Defense African Instability



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Space Debris

Squo Solves

Squo solves – Lasers and space bins check


Griffin, 7-7 - [Andrew Griffin, Correspondent with the Independent, Technology Reporter, 7-7-2015, Giant bin satellite will fly around space eating space debris, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/giant-bin-satellite-will-fly-around-space-eating-space-debris-10371906.html] Jeong

Swiss scientists are planning to launch a huge bin into space, which will fly around eating up satellites to clean up the space above Earth. The country’s École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) launched its first satellites — the Swiss Cubes — into space in 2010. Now it is launching a new project to go back and grab it, and stop it contributing to the huge amount of “space junk” that is flying around Earth. It will grab the tiny Swiss Cube in its net, spotting it with specially-developed cameras, and after it has done so the two will blow up together. The scientists behind it hope that the same approach can be used to grab other space junk — which is made up of used up objects like broken satellites and dropped rockets, and is increasing quickly. The junk can fast become dangerous, since it flies around the Earth at 7km per second and could pose a huge threat to the vast array of satellites and people sat in space. Nasa has to monitor the bigger objects, to ensure that none of them crash into each other. Scientists and engineers have proposed an array of solutions to the problem, including fitting the International Space Station with huge lasers that could blast away the thousands of tons of debris that is floating around. Other solutions have included sending out big nets or blasting gas at the debris to push it away. The solutions are required fairly urgently — more and more satellites are in use, potentially crashing into each other as in the film Gravity, which could bring down communications as well as risk people’s lives.

Debris exists now, but the status quo solves


HSNW, 7-2 – [Homeland Security News Wire, Homeland security industry’s largest daily news publication online, 7-2-2015, Making space safer by spotting, removing space debris, http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20150702-making-space-safer-by-spotting-removing-space-debris] Jeong

Scientists estimate that there are now some 20,000 particles of space junk measuring more than ten centimeters in diameter hurtling around Earth at an average velocity of 25,000 kilometers per hour, not counting the 700,000 or so particles with a diameter of between one and ten centimeters. Although small, these items of space debris are traveling so fast that they could easily damage or destroy an operational satellite. A new German space surveillance system, scheduled to go into operation in 2018, will help to prevent such incidents. Space debris poses a growing threat to satellites and other spacecraft, which could be damaged in the event of a collision.. The tracking radar is being developed byFraunhofer researchers on behalf of DLR Space Administration. Traffic congestion is also an issue in space where, in addition to the dense network of satellites, orbiting space debris is increasingly transforming the paths on which they travel into a junkyard populated with burnt-out rocket stages and fragments of disintegrated spacecraft. Farunhofer reports that scientists estimate that there are now some 20,000 particles of space junk measuring more than ten centimeters in diameter hurtling around Earth at an average velocity of 25,000 kilometers per hour, not counting the 700,000 or so particles with a diameter of between one and ten centimeters. Although small, these items of space debris are traveling so fast that they could easily damage or destroy an operational satellite. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that space debris has a tendency to multiply exponentially through a kind of snowball effect. Whenever two particles collide, they break up into a greater number of smaller particles. Unless preventive measures are taken, the rapid multiplication of space debris could soon put an end to spaceflight as we know it. There is urgent need for action. The Space Administration division of theGerman Aerospace Center (DLR) has been tasked by the German government with designing the German space program. In turn, DLR Space Administration has awarded a contract to the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) in Wachtberg to develop and build a radar system for monitoring and tracking objects in low-Earth orbit. This is the region of space in which the risk of collisions is at its greatest — especially at an altitude of 800 kilometers above Earth. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has granted a total of €25 million to finance the GESTRA (German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar) project over a four-year period.

US-China War

No Impact

No Impact to Asia War – Conflicts won’t escalate to great power wars


Hunzeker and Christopher, 7-11 – [Michael Hunzeker, postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Mark Christopher, senior director and head of the Asia practice at The Arkin Group and a fellow with the Truman National Security Project, 7-11-2015, Why the Next ‘Great War’ Won’t Happen on China’s Doorstep, http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2014/07/why-next-great-war-wont-happen-chinas-doorstep/88549/] Jeong

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the July Crisis, the event that led to World War I, and if you believe the alarmists then history is about to repeat itself. Sparked by Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, the Crisis saw a regional confrontation escalate unchecked into a continental war that consumed Europe’s great powers and drew in the United States. In the lead-up to this tragic anniversary, critics of President Barack Obama’s noninterventionism argue that we stand at the brink of another Great War for ignoring China, and its potential threat to Asia. Historical analogies such as these are understandably seductive. They make complex issues seem simple. However, they are also deeply misleading, drawing parallels that don’t exist from a story that didn’t happen. History is not destined to repeat itself, unless those in power create self-fulfilling prophesies by drawing from the wrong lessons. The first problem with using the “2014 is 1914” analogy is that it doesn’t even get the present right. In all the ways that matter, the Asia-Pacific region of today is unlike Europe a century ago. Although some international relations theorists point to overarching similarities – China is a rising power seeking to reassert regional dominance and the U.S. is a great power with a preference for the status quo – the specific parallels simply aren’t there. Asia today lacks 1914 Europe’s competing webs of rigid alliances. There is no Serbia-esque regime yearning to carve an ethnically unified nation-state out of existing political boundaries. China is not encircled (the protestations of some of its military planners notwithstanding), nor does an insane monarch lead it. Asia is not swept up in a “Cult of the Offensive” – the shared belief that military technology makes it easier to attack than to defend. If anything, Beijing’s acquisition of anti-access/area denial weapons systems has convinced most strategists that defenders hold the upper hand. Globalized trade and production chains have increased the economic costs of war. And finally, for better or worse, we now live in a nuclear world. Nuclear deterrence makes unilateral aggression much riskier for China than it ever was for Germany. Conversely, if the nuclear balance were tipped by Japan, South Korea or – even more problematically – Taiwan acquiring nuclear weapons, the region would likely become far more volatile than pre-war Europe. In either case, nuclear weapons render the parallel obsolete. The other problem with “2014 is 1914” thinking is that it also gets the past wrong. World War I was neither an unpredictable escalation nor the product of deliberate instigation. The war’s real cause was miscalculation. When pundits suggest that 2014 Asia looks a lot like 1914 Europe, they are invoking one of two explanations for the cause of World War I. One suggests that pre-war Europe was a powder keg waiting to explode. The implication for today’s world is that a relatively minor provocation in the Asia-Pacific region – like ships bumping in the South China Sea or artillery exchanges on the Korean Peninsula — could lead to an unintended escalation like the one that caused the First World War. The other explanation for the war compares today’s China to Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Germany, stoking fears of rising undemocratic powers with revisionist agendas. Here, the worry is that China will deliberately engineer and manipulate a minor crisis – possibly in the South or East China Sea – to bring about a general conflagration it supposedly wants. Both of these descriptions miss the mark. As the 1914 July Crisis got underway, there was willingness on all sides to risk conflict due to the perceived benefits of a regional or continental war. Tragically, although national leaders understood how the alliance dynamics would play out once the fighting started, they could not foresee the effect of modern weapons, which bogged down the fighting into a brutal stalemate. This point highlights the one lesson from 1914 that might be relevant to today’s world, but which is lost in the punditry: rapid technological change increases the risk of political miscalculation. In 1914, Europe’s leaders willingly risked war because they did not – and could not – understand how such a war would unfold given the proliferation of new weapons over the preceding decades. Today, the leading edge of a revolution in military affairs gives rise to a similar dynamic. Precision, energy, and cyber weapons – not to mention more esoteric tech like unmanned aircraft, space-based platforms and robot cheetahs – are now displacing “traditional” arsenals in much the same way that rifles, machine guns, and artillery replaced bayonets, cavalry, and muzzleloaders a century ago. Moreover, these technologies are just starting to spread. If there is any lesson to be drawn, it is that the risk of miscalculation grows as the pace of changing military technology increases. Moreover, these technologies are just starting to spread. Can recent experience in wars where only one side possesses advanced weapons (as was the case in Iraq and Afghanistan) really predict what war will look like when all sides have them? Ultimately, the “2014 is 1914” parallel is alluring because it speaks to inchoate fears that the U.S. and China are on an unavoidable collision course. But a U.S.-China conflict is by no means inevitable, and even if it does eventually come to pass, it won’t be in a way that those currently invoking the analogy expect. The centennial of the Great War is a fitting occasion to revisit the lessons learned in one of the deadliest conflicts in history. But it would be tragic indeed if, in seeking to learn from the mistakes of the past, we unnecessarily doom ourselves to repeating them.

No China War scenario – Massive domestic problems, no ideological details, and massive bias


Etzioni 14 – [ Amitai Etzioni. University professor and professor of international relations at The George Washington University. Senior adviser to the Carter White House and taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley Overstating the China Threat? Calls for substantial new investments in U.S. military hardware seem a little hasty. http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/overstating-the-china-threat] Jeong

One of Washington’s leading members of Congress, J. Randy Forbes, and a brilliant analyst, Elbridge Colby, sound the alarm. They believe that China has made precipitous gains against the United States’ military power and that the U.S. must urgently increase its defense efforts to maintain its superiority.¶ Forbes and Colby assert that “the balance of military power in the Asia-Pacific writ large is under serious and growing pressure from China’s military-modernization efforts,” and the U.S. “edge in technology … is eroding.” They caution that China’s military buildup poses “critical” challenges “to achieving U.S. political-military objectives in the areas that have traditionally been part of our defense umbrella,” namely “challenges to [the United States’] military superiority in the crucial air, sea, space, and cyberspace domains.” Most alarming, Forbes and Colby hold that failure to act could have “tremendous strategic consequences” for the United States and its allies.¶ To support these claims, Forbes and Colby provide no new details (or old ones, for that matter) about China’s military buildup, instead quoting prominent officials. Their “evidence” consists of Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear’s statement that “our historic dominance … is diminishing;” Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall’s assertion that the United States’ technological superiority in defense “is being challenged in ways … not seen for decades, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region;” and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey’s claim that “our technology edge [is eroding].” Forbes and Colby seem not to mind that the job of these officials is to cry wolf whenever they see any creature moving, lest they be charged with having ignored a menace if said wolf does materialize. Forbes and Colby also ignore that the military budget and the generals’ command depend on finding a new enemy now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. And they do not take into account the military’s long record of overestimating the dangers posed by America’s enemies, as notably occurred in the case of the former Soviet Union.¶ A careful reader notes that the two leading analysts do recognize that China’s A2/AD defenses are full of holes, akin—in their words—to “a block of Swiss cheese,” and it is incredibly difficult to protect a “huge territory”. Forbes and Colby should have to added that Chinese submarines are noisy and pose little threat; China’s single aircraft carrier offers scant opportunity to project power against the diminished but still-vast American fleet; and that China’s military buildup is dramatic only if one ignores that it started the “race” from far behind. It is easy to achieve double-digit percent increases in military spending when one’s baseline budget was $30 billion in 2000 and had scraped $160 billion in 2012. By contrast, the United States’ defense budget in 2012 was more than 400 percent larger—about $682 billion— than China’s and remained $30 billion greater than the defense budgets of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy and Brazil combined.¶ Forbes and Colby’s military shopping list includes: Additional Virginia-class submarines and unspecified new technologies designed to “sustain our undersea-warfare advantage.”¶ Unspecified future aircraft with a host of novel capabilities designed to meet “emerging threat environments in the Western Pacific.”¶ Additional long-range bombers that would improve on the B-2.¶ New, unspecified “credible kinetic and nonkinetic means to deter potential adversaries from extending a conflict into space.”¶ “[A] new generation of offensive munitions.”¶ Greater spending, generally speaking, on “cutting-edge and next-generation technologies.”¶ Mark Gunzinger, who shares the same concerns, co-authored a document with Jan Van Tol, Andrew Krepinevich, and Jim Thomas on the Air-Sea Battle concept in which the authors recommended a host of military expenditures, including several technological and material developments and increases. These include:¶ Unspecifiedlong-range penetrating and stand-off EA-capable platforms (manned and/or unmanned).”¶ “Quantity obscurants, decoys, and false target generators for both offensive and defensive [electronic warfare] missions.”¶ Developing alternatives to GPS navigation and reducing United States’ reliance on GPS for its “precision guided weapons.”¶ Directed-energy weapons (DEW)¶ Additional unmanned undersea vehicles for intelligence purposes.¶ Developing new mobile mines “deployable by submarines and stealthy Air Force bombers.”¶ “Stockpiling” precision-guided weapons.¶ Additional air tankers.¶ One wonders what good these kinds of extra hardware would do in light of the fact that China is engaging in a low-key strategy of salami tactics that relies on enforcing its disputed maritime claims with mainly non-military assets. These include using civilian patrol vessels, which are “armed” with nothing more than water cannons and grappling hooks, and cutting the cables of exploration vessels belonging to other countries. Most important, do these analysts really presume that the United States should threaten China with war if it persists in claiming that several piles of uninhabited rocks and the waters around them are within China’s exclusive economic zone or air defense identification zone?More needs to be heard about China’s actual intentions and interests before it is appropriate to conclude that the U.S. government should invest large sums in technologies that have strategic value only in outright war. Why would China seek to “eat our lunch,” as Pentagon officials are fond of saying, or replace the United States as a global power? It has no ideology that calls for bringing its regime’s ideals to the rest of the world. And it is under enormous pressure to attend to a host of serious domestic concerns, including an aging population, persistent environmental challenges, and an economic slowdown.

Interdependence checks Rising Tensions


Follett, 14 – [Andrew Follett, George Mason University, 6-24-14, The Diplomat, China and the US: Destined to Cooperate?, http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/china-and-the-us-destined-to-cooperate] Jeong

The 21st century will be defined by the relationship between the American superpower and rising China. A new Cold War would threaten the world order while a mutually beneficial association could bring all prosperity. The latter scenario is more likely. The geography, economies, and energy resources of the U.S and China align their “core interests.” First, geography. The U.S. is located on the most resource and capital-rich continent, North America. The American Midwest consists of valuable arable land and is bisected by the world’s largest navigable rivers, allowing the export of food and products at bargain prices. Nearby nations have either historically been on friendly terms (Canada) or lack the ability to present a threat (Central America and the Caribbean) without an external sponsor. This benign environment has allowed America to focus on projecting power and dominating global merchant marine traffic. Since China lies across an ocean dominated by the American Navy, neither directly threatens the other. China, meanwhile, is a populous and vast land power with a long coastline. Yet China’s focus has historically turned inward, with only sporadic efforts to build a naval presence. China’s heartland is exposed to Russia from the north, Japan to the east, various fractious states to the west, and the rising powers of Thailand, India, and Vietnam to the south. In other words, China is surrounded, and its biggest threats are from other land-based powers, particularly Russia and India. China therefore cannot afford to antagonize America, since it would require American support or tacit neutrality in any conflict with Russia or India. Geography ensures that China does not see American naval dominance on its shores as a comparable threat. A Chinese move against American interests would open it to aggression from its neighbors while simultaneously cutting off a needed ally. No Chinese government is foolish enough to risk multiple high-intensity wars. The geography of China and the U.S. dictate their “core interests” as mutually non-threatening states, and make cooperation more likely since both have an interest in opposing Russia. Secondly, the American and Chinese economies are destined to become more interdependent, and integrated economies usually lead to geostrategic alliances. The U.S. follows a laissez-faire economic model, entailing a boom-and-bust cycle that is harsher than in more planned systems. When the free market dictates economic apportionment, at the height of the cycle resources are often applied to unwise projects. During recessions, companies either downsize or go out of business, resulting in short spurts of high unemployment. America tolerates these fluctuations because she long ago decided to trade economic stability for higher long term growth. This has succeeded over the past century. This growth, combined with other advantages, ensures the U.S. will endure as a superpower. America utilizes its advantages to maintain a global maritime “trade order” in the form of organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization, resulting in economic growth for the world and a successful consumption-based economy at home. Contrastingly, China’s economy is a sort of “state capitalism” distinct from the European “state champion” model. The economy is based around exporting finished manufactured goods to America, further integrating both economies. China’s two-decade-plus surge in economic growth will soon end, yet given the lack of progress in transitioning to a more consumption-based economy, China has not achieved what its large population considers an equitable distribution of resources and benefits. Such imbalances foster domestic tensions. The growth constraints facing China’s economy will only create additional problems with fewer new resources at Beijing’s disposal. The Chinese slowdown has already led to political infighting, and this is likely to continue in the future. Addressing this problem while transitioning to a consumption-based economy may reduce the ability of the ruling Communist Party to project power abroad while retaining it at home. Economically, America is strong in areas like food production, education, technology, and precision industrial manufacturing. China, by contrast, is strong in areas like heavy industry, light manufacturing, and cheap labor. This presents a recipe for complementary economic interdependence. Finally, both countries will move closer geopolitically due to their complementary energy interests. Most of China’s foreign policy centers on attempts to acquire new energy resources, particularly oil. Over the following decades, China will seek to become more self-sufficient by expanding its hydropower capacity and coal plants. America shares this goal, and with the shale revolution will likely end up exporting energy to China, including oil and liquid natural gas. This gives America a geopolitical “lever” over China by increasing economic interdependence. The American situation on energy resources, particularly oil and natural gas, outclasses China’s. Oil is non-renewable, and OPEC nations will likely be unable to meet China’s growing demand. However, America now controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil-shale, roughly half of which may be recoverable. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined. As Chinese demand rises, Beijing will likely become the top importer of this oil. No other oil source can supply China’s needs as efficiently. Eastern European and Russian oil shale reserves are smaller and less politically and economically extractable than America’s emerging sources. If America invests a comparatively small portion of its new energy-based wealth into a larger Navy to secure a Pacific trade route to China, the economic integration of the two nations will be virtually irreversible. Already foreign investments are pouring into the “new Middle East” of America and Canada, despite strong opposition from the current administration. American control over future markets for natural gas is almost as certain as for oil. The U.S. produces natural gas abundantly and is building the facilities to export it to foreign markets, including China. China imports roughly 56 percent of its oil and this number grows each year. Beijing plans to increase reserves by acquiring new offshore resources and “secure” reserves abroad. Since between 60-70 percent of its imported oil originates in Africa or the Middle East, the only way to inexpensively transport it is by sea. This makes China vulnerable to economic warfare from India, which can sever much of its supply at will. This is a strategic concern and makes war with India more likely. China doesn’t have many other domestic energy options with the exception of coal, which carries high health and environmental risks. Renewable energy is too expensive, hydraulic power creates instability in rural areas, and social biases prohibit nuclear power. For technical reasons, China’s untapped oil shale reserves, though large, would be prohibitively expensive to process. They are estimated to be economically recoverable at $345 a barrel, more than triple the price of American oil shale. An American boom in natural gas cannot fully “bail out” China; nonetheless it will certainly be part of the solution. Domestic political pressures, environmental concerns and rising demand for portable fuels mean the crux of Chinese foreign policy for the foreseeable future will be aimed at acquiring new oil supplies and protecting existing supply lines across the Indian Ocean. The South China Sea is critical to China’s goals because most imported oil from Africa must cross it and the sea contains its own marginal reserves close to China. Inadequate naval forces guarantee China will continue to depend upon the American Navy to protect its oil trade. The dispute surrounding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands does not change that. In any case, heightened regional competition for energy assets will diminish as American reserves come online over the next five to ten years. In the energy sector, America will ultimately transition to an energy and fuel exporter and China will ultimately import American resources. This will further connect their economies and build strong economic ties. Both China and America hope for a mutually beneficial arrangement to meet their security and development goals. Geographic, economic, and energy considerations ensure these two nations will become more interdependent throughout this century.

Disputes won’t escalate – No chance it’ll go nuclear


Gurtov, 14 – [Mel Gurtov, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspective, China-US Focus, 3-10-2014, "Back to the Cold War? The US-China Military Competition", http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/back-to-the-cold-war-the-us-china-military-competition/] Jeong

Nevertheless, the military side of US-China relations is not worry-free. Eminent PRC and US security experts recently characterized the relationship as one of “strategic distrust.Mutual assurances, a multitude (around 90) of Track 1 dialogue groups, and a high level of economic interdependence have not been sufficient to offset suspicions. Some of the language used by influential people in both countries resembles Cold War rhetoric. Even those Chinese specialists who value the relationship with the United States and say conflict would be disastrous also believe the United States is the one country that stands in the way of China’s full rise to major-power status. Meantime, US leaders regularly assure China that they wish it peace and prosperity, but feed Chinese anxieties by “rebalancing” forces in ways that raise the specter of “containment” and by conditioning acceptance of China as a “responsible stakeholder” on support of US policy preferences. Nationalism is fanning the fires in both countries: China is determined to assert itself as a “responsible great power” on territorial and strategic issues, while the US is equally determined to maintain its paramount position in the Pacific. These are not the ingredients for confidence building. And confidence building is what is badly needed now. One piece of good news, revealed at a US Naval Institute conference earlier this year, is that US-China military engagement on security issues will increase 20 percent this year, and that China will attend the RIMPAC exercises for the first time in 2014. This is occurring despite concern among the navy brass about a China-Japan war, which might trigger US involvement under its security treaty with Japan. More such military-to-military ties, both bilateral and multilateral (with Japan and South Korea), are essential, in particular if they lead to a PRC-US code of conduct to guard against further incidents at sea that might result in an exchange of fire. At the height of the US-USSR Cold War, both countries took steps to ensure that the competition never again reached the stage of a nuclear showdown such as occurred over Cuba. Today, US-China relations are far more developed at every level—Tracks I, II, and III—than was ever the case between Washington and Moscow. Nor have US-China relations reached the stage of an expensive and dangerous arms race such as bankrupted the USSR and permanently unbalanced the US budget. Both countries’ leaders need to stay focused on the importance of the relationship while opportunities still exist to sustain deep cooperation on common interests, such as restraining North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, keeping the South China and East China Seas disputes from turning violent, working together on peacekeeping missions and humanitarian assistance, and agreeing to meaningful targets on carbon emissions before climate change becomes irreversible.

Relations are improving now – They don’t want to go to war


McKelvey, 6-18 – [Tara McKelvey, White House Reporter, 6-18-2015, Trying to avoid war, US and China build uneasy alliance, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33104127] Jeong

As US and China officials meet in Washington for high-level talks, the relationship between the countries is increasingly tense and awkward, even as they try to build an alliance. America and China of are playing a high-stakes game in the South China Sea. Things are tense in Washington, too. After building islands, lighthouses and a runway in disputed areas of the South China Sea, Beijing officials say they're ready to stop construction. Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, issued a statement on 16 June, saying the work - or at least some of it - would soon be "completed". US officials sound underwhelmed. (They "noted" the Chinese announcement, according to Reuters.) Still the timing is good - and is not accidental. Next week Chinese officials will meet with Americans in Washington for a conference, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The subject of the South China Sea is likely to come up. It'll also be on the agenda in September when President Xi Jinping of China comes to Washington. Americans say the Chinese have created more than 2,000 acres (809 ha) of new territory in the South China Sea, claiming these areas as their own. Chinese officials say they've built the islands so they can save people who've become lost at sea and for other humanitarian reasons. The islands will be used for military purposes they haven't fully explained. The construction work has upset people in the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries in the region - and in the United States. Americans have pushed back. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says US warships and aircraft will continue to use the South China Sea, no matter what the Chinese say. One US surveillance aircraft that made its way through the area carried a CNNcrew, a manoeuvre by the US military that Cato Institute's Doug Bandow describes as "pretty provocative". Meanwhile US officials, speaking anonymously, blame China for stealing personnel files, a security breach that's affected millions of government workers. Chinese officials say they played no part in the crime. No wonder things between Chinese and American officials are tense. You could see it in the faces of military officers who'd gathered one afternoon last week for an event at the National Defense University in Washington. They were attending a ceremony that celebrated cooperation between the two militaries, American and Chinese. This includes combined efforts to provide assistance to victims of natural disasters. Not everyone looked pleased, though. Before the ceremony began, a Chinese officer stood in the front of the room and stared at two empty chairs towards the end of the aisle. One had a sign - "GEN ODIERNO". It was for Gen Raymond Odierno, the US army chief of staff. Another was marked "GEN FAN" for Gen Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission. The Chinese officer called over an American officer. "We would like to propose that you put Gen Odierno and Gen Fan in the middle," he said. The American officer said he didn't want to move the chairs. The Chinese officer looked at the chairs again. He said: "We don't think it's appropriate." Someone took one of the nametags off a chair. You could hear tape being peeled from the fabric. The sticker was attached to another chair. The Chinese officer nodded. "That's good," he said. An American officer in the back of the room said they try to be flexible. "Like jazz," he said. "We improvise." Their leaders are improvising, too, as they find their way in a world with two super-nations, both with fearsome militaries and economies. "Although there are times when our nations have differences, it's important that our countries come together," Gen Odierno said that afternoon at the National Defense University. Still maintaining a balance of power is hard, and negotiations, whether over chairs or sea lanes, are marked by tension and sometimes silliness. The Chinese and US officers who argued about the chairs brought to mind Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film, Dr Strangelove: "Gentleman, you can't fight in here. This is the war room." Yet the Chinese have a point, says Andrew Oros, a professor at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, who writes about Asia security policies. Americans are used to setting the agenda - and arranging the chairs. Now the Chinese have something to say. "China believes it is re-emerging as a dominant power, and it deserves respect," he says. "It asserts that in lots of ways, including the seating."

Mutual accommodations avoid escalation


Brzezinski 15 – [Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former US National Security Adviser, Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University, Project Syndicate, 1-21-2015, “America’s Global Balancing Act”, http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/american-foreign-policy-asia-pivot-by-zbigniew-brzezinski-2015-01] Jeong

The post-Cold War era was not really an “era,” but rather a gradual transition from a bilateral Cold War to a more complex international order that still involves, in the final analysis, two world powers. In brief, the decisive axis of the new order increasingly involves the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The Sino-American competition involves two significant realities that distinguish it from the Cold War: neither party is excessively ideological in its orientation; and both parties recognize that they really need mutual accommodation. America’s supposed “pivot to Asia” took a back seat in 2014 to the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East. To what extent has uncertainty about the US commitment in Asia stoked tension between China and America’s Asian allies? I disagree with the premises of the question. I do think America has made it quite clear that it is in the interest both of America and China to avoid situations in which they will be pushed toward a collision. The recent indications of some initial dialogue between China and India, and between China and Japan, suggest that China also realizes that escalating old grievances is not in its interest. The more serious problem with the “pivot to Asia” was its actual wording, which implied a military posture designed to “contain” or “isolate” China. The Chinese have come to realize more clearly that we were not deliberately attempting to isolate them, but that we had a stake in the avoidance of collisions in the Far East that could produce a wider spillover.


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