Monday, July 11, 2016

South China Sea: Get Serious, Lose the Hypocrisy

Yes, there are important issues in the South China Sea. But US people must begin by refusing to buy into US government hypocrisy on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Chigua (China name) / Mabini (Philippine name) on January 24, 2015.
(It is also known as "Johnson South Reef.")

Buried in the article in The New York Times this past week about the South China Sea conflict -- a conflict the US and others want to see judged under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) -- is this sentence:

The United States signed the United Nations treaty but never ratified it.

In other words, the US government and the US mainstream media see fit to tell the US reading public all the ways that China should be behaving differently in light of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) even though that is a body of law that the US is not a party to.

(Sort of the same way the US government and the US mainstream media tsk-tsk China for creating military installations on a few sandbars in the area when the US is itself re-instituting its extensive system of bases throughout the nearby Philippines, not to mention its network of bases throughout the area of the Asia-Pacific bordering China.)

The US has adopted the role of "enforcer" by traversing the waters involved with its navy. It seeks to remind China constantly of the US interpretation of China's rights (and the limits on those rights) under UNCLOS -- i.e. under that treaty that the US is not, itself, a party to.

The issues in the South China Sea are extremely important. US people need to use that situation as an invitation to get interested in the larger context of how the US behaves in that region and in the world.

Related posts

In much of the 20th century, conflict and war centered on oil resources and the Middle East. Will the 21st century see conflict and war center on fisheries, particularly in the Pacific?

(See Pacific Fisheries' Futile Conflict: How about sharing?)

As I read the Chinese language paper every day, it is clear to me that -- in the absence of sustained civic discourse on the security issues in the Pacific region -- our future is being shaped by military posturing.

(See SOUTH CHINA SEA FACE OFF: Does this make ANY sense?)

My hope and belief is that a Berkeley forum on peace and prosperity in the Pacific would reveal a shared interest in de-escalating the South China Sea confrontation, and dramatically increase awareness of shared Pacific prospects for well-being.

(See 21st c. Berkeley: More Relevant Than Ever to Antiwar Movement)