Harry J. Kazianis, a Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Center for the National Interest, believes that the United States is steadily losing ground in the South China Sea region and blames US President Barack Obama for inconsistent foreign policy.
"The facts are obvious — America's position in Asia is quite grim. Short of kinetic conflict (think war), and if current trends are not altered — by say a Chinese economic collapse or somehow American policy in Asia changing dramatically in the next few months-Washington will not be able to stop Beijing from eventually dominating the South China Sea," Kazianis emphasizes in his latest article for The National Interest.
"It never had to be this way," he remarks.
According to the journalist, the Obama administration's initial foreign policy course had nothing to do with the current security nightmare — neither in the Middle East, nor in the Asia-Pacific.
Something went wrong and the much-talked-about "Asian pivot" has resulted in Beijing's triumphant march in the South China Sea, Kazianis stresses.
Indeed, the current state of affairs is a point of frustration for US hawks and neocons.
In his November article for the Breaking Defense media outlet Dean Cheng, an analyst at the neoconservative Heritage Foundation, underscored that Washington has de facto recognized the Chinese artificial islands in the South China Sea as a "national territory."
He called attention to the fact that the latest US' military muscle-flexing in the South China Sea was in fact the demonstration of weakness, not strength.
"As it turns out, the USS Lassen reportedly did not engage in a FONOP [freedom of navigation operation] to demonstrate that the islands China has built exert no right to territorial waters reaching out 12 nautical miles. Instead, the US ship reportedly conducted 'innocent passage,' turning off its radars and grounding its helicopters as it transited within 12 nautical miles of the islands. Undertaking 'innocent passage' is done only in another nation's territorial waters," Cheng pointed out.
He claims that Washington has enough tools to "raise the costs" of Chinese actions in Asia.
Then the question arises, what would be the possible consequences of Washington's coercive actions in the Asia-Pacific region? It seems that the US leadership is unwilling to embrace a new multi-polar reality.
As Professor Stephen F. Cohen noted in his recent speech at San Francisco Commonwealth Club: "We in the United States cannot lead the world alone any longer, if we ever could. Long before Paris, globalization and other developments have occurred that ended the mono-polar, US-dominated world. That world is over. A multi-polar world has emerged before our eyes, not just in Russia but in five or six capitals around the world. Washington's stubborn refusal to embrace this new reality has become part of the problem and not part of the solution."