March 10, 2009

Steve Collins

Chinese vessels intimidated a US Navy ship last Sunday in international waters in the South China Sea. The news services have reported this incident internationally, and it reveals a sorry spirit within the USA’s ships at sea. Five Chinese vessels “surrounded and harassed” a large US Navy ship which was built for anti-submarine and sonar-mapping missions. It doubtless also performs electronic “listening” missions as well. The US ship was large and the Chinese craft were much smaller according to some reports I scanned. The reports reveal what I consider a shocking tale of timidity by the US ship.
The US ship had the right to sail unimpeded in international waters, but the Chinese vessels recklessly and flagrantly violated international laws. One Chinese vessel “played chicken” with the US ship “forcing the civilian mariners [on the US ship] to slam on the brakes.” Another Chinese craft closed to within 25 feet of the US ship, and the “startled” US sailors used a water hose to drive them off. The intimidated US ship surrendered to the Chinese demand that they leave the area. It meekly “requested” a safe way to navigate out of the area of confrontation, but two Chinese ships sailed in front of it, forcing the US ship to (apparently) stop again. In a final act of contempt for the US ship, Chinese sailors threw debris in the path of the US ship to impede its retreat. The first link describes this and other recent acts of intimidation of US ships by Chinese vessels. In one particularly threatening action, a Chinese frigate crossed the bow of a US ship at a distance of only 100 yards. The second link reports that US National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, reporting to Congress on this and other incidents, stated that China is becoming more “military, aggressive [and] forward-pushing.”
Let’s “cut the diplomatic Bull” and state clearly what is happening. China sees the growing weakness of the USA’s economy and senses a weakness of American spirit as well. China is deliberately staging actions to see if the USA has any “backbone” left and so far it is not finding any evidence that the USA has one. The US is acting in a cowardly, subordinate fashion toward China. China is not the only nation that sees this. So do all the other nations in Asia and, for that matter, the entire world. The naval confrontation staged by China (in which the US humiliated itself) sends a message to the entire world from China which says: “See! the USA has no courage left! The US ship cowered in fear before little Chinese vessels. We are the emerging power of the future–the USA no longer has any fighting spirit left.” You can be sure the Chinese vessels would not have acted in so provocative a manner unless they were directed to do so by the Chinese Communist Party.
I don’t think it is accidental that this latest incident occurred soon after Sec. of State Clinton performed her groveling act at the court of Beijing. She was too timid to assert American positions on human rights, China’s currency manipulations, China’s predatory trade practices, etc. She subserviently beseeched the Chinese for more Chinese loans so the US Government can continue to bail out the very Wall Street and Big Banking interests which caused the global economic crisis with reckless greed and excessive debt. I think that China, seeing Clinton’s groveling act, thought it was time to “up the ante” and test the USA is a more provocative manner. China must be amazed that the US ship displayed no backbone of any kind, and was easily cowed by the smaller Chinese craft. If the USA had any fighting spirit or respect for its own image, the captain of that US ship would have ran right over the smaller Chinese vessels that deliberately put themselves in his path and called in air support. This sorry incident indicates to me that captains of US ships are under orders not to take any aggressive actions, even in self-defense, vs. Chinese ships (the USA mustn’t antagonize its biggest banker, you know). The media reports are a bit fuzzy re: whether this was a Navy ship, a former Navy ship manned by a CIA crew or something else. You would think a ship this large would have some weaponry on it so they didn’t have to use a mere fire-hose to defend itself. The Chinese vessels could have tried to hijack the US ship much like large ships are pirated by little Somali craft off the coast of Somalia. Since one little Chinese craft got to within 25 feet of the US ship, this raises the possibility of a suicide bomb attack like the one perpetrated on the USS Cole a few years ago. This American ship should, at the very least, have had some .50 caliber machine guns with which to open fire on any ships getting that close in an obviously threatening manner.
The USA filed a diplomatic protest with the Chinese government over this provocative Chinese action. I’m sure that protest note will come in handy if the Chinese foreign service office runs out of toilet paper. If President Obama does not give some new orders to US ships to show some backbone against Chinese (or other nation’s) ships, he will dramatically lose credibility in the eyes of all the nations…and in the eyes of American citizens who may grow quickly tired of watching US ships act like wimps in the face of intimidation from Chinese vessels.
While this sounds like an endless refrain, this kind of growing American weakness only emboldens the nations of the Gog-Magog alliance to take increasingly warlike actions vs. the former American Superpower which can no longer manage its own finances or defend its own ships in international waters. What a sorry state the “US ship of State” is now in!