The US Is Tightening Its Containment Noose Around China In The First Island Chain

The latest military moves prove that America is preparing to “Pivot (back) to Asia” once the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine inevitably ends, which means that global tensions won’t abate anytime soon as the New Cold War becomes the new normal.

The stage is set for Japan to participate in AUKUS’ Pillar II advanced capability projects (AI, hypersonic weapons, electronic warfare, underwater drones, quantum technologies, and space-tracking radar) after that bloc’s Defense Ministers signaled their interest in this in Monday’s joint statement. It was released ahead of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s trip to DC this week, which he described as occurring at an “historic turning point”, where he’ll also take part in the first-ever trilateral summit with the Philippines.

CNN hyped up the latter event by publishing a piece about how these three are coming together as a result of their shared concerns about China, though the reality is that their military convergence isn’t as motivated by innocent defensive interests as they made it seem. China’s three separate disputes with Japan, its wayward province of Taiwan, and the Philippines have been presented by the West as part of a hegemonic push by the People’s Republic for dominance in the Asia-Pacific.

This perception was then exploited to round up regional allies over the past few years ahead of a seemingly inevitable Sino-US showdown, which explains the recent American-brokered Korean-Japanese rapprochement and the newfound possibility of Japan deploying troops to the Philippines. Kishida’s de facto manifesto that he shared during his December 2022 trip to the US revealed that he’s seeking to take advantage of the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine to restore Japan’s lost sphere of influence.

Accordingly, it became obvious by last summer that “The US’ Nascent Trilateral Alliance With Japan & The Philippines Will Integrate Into AUKUS+”, with the logic behind this move being to entrench American military influence in the first island chain from Japan-Taiwan-Philippines via multilateral means. Japan and the Philippines are already the US’ mutual defense partners so it naturally follows that it would want them to bilaterally enhance military cooperation under its aegis as part of so-called “burden-sharing”.

As regards Taiwan, its “Defense Minister’s” disclosure in mid-March that US special forces are training his polity’s troops on a small island just six miles from Mainland China proves that America is also entrenching its military influence there too so as to create a tripwire for intervening in a future conflict. With Japan and the Philippines poised to ramp up bilateral military cooperation, it’s very likely that they’ll also rope Taiwan into the mix too, possibly through their own forthcoming special forces missions.

The grand strategic trend is that the US is transforming AUKUS+ into an “Asian NATO” for the purpose of containing China in the Asia-Pacific despite the informal “ceasefire” that these two superpowers’ leaders agreed to during their mid-November meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in San Francisco. The mutually beneficial motive was to buy more time for better positioning themselves before their seemingly inevitable showdown.

Whereas the US is retooling, revamping, and comprehensively expanding its military-industrial base on an anti-Russian pretext alongside tightening its containment noose around China in the first island chain, the People’s Republic is building up its own armed forces and diversifying its vulnerable supply chains. The overall balance is tilting in America’s favor, which it’s expected to manipulate in pursuit of coercing China into a lopsided series of agreements for a “New Détente”, though Beijing might not be interested.

After all, the People’s Republic knows that a hot war between them would entail unacceptably high costs for both and therefore isn’t likely to comply with any proposals that would subordinate their country to its systemic rival in any way just for the sake of deterring American aggression. The risk of a conflict breaking out by miscalculation will continue growing, however, as AUKUS+ further entrenches its military forces in the first island chain where China’s top three maritime disputes are located.

Nevertheless, the resumption of Sino-US military communication channels could at least in theory help prevent an uncontrollable spiral towards war in the event that China clashes with AUKUS+’s Japanese, Taiwanese, and/or Philippine members. Even so, the latest military moves prove that America is preparing to “Pivot (back) to Asia” once the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine inevitably ends, which means that global tensions won’t abate anytime soon as the New Cold War becomes the new normal.’

https://korybko.substack.com/p/the-us-is-tightening-its-containment

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