A Cold War Solution for the South China Sea?
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A Cold War Solution for the South China Sea?


My alma mater, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, will probably revoke my degree, but…I doubt diplomatic negotiations toward a South China Sea code of conduct will pay off. ASEAN members have long sought to broker such a compact, only to be foiled by Chinese temporizing. Proponents seem to believe a code of conduct would eliminate incidents such as the recent standoff at Scarborough Shoal, when Chinese and Philippine vessels faced off for weeks over sovereignty over the atoll and adjoining waters.

This confuses tactical measures taken to ease tensions on the high seas with the resolution of political disputes that verge on insoluble. It bespeaks wishful thinking.

Officials and pundits seem to pattern their advocacy of such an accord on the 1972 U.S.-Soviet Incidents at Sea (INCSEA) Agreement. And to be sure, INCSEA was a code of conduct regulating the actions of U.S. and Soviet assets in international waters and skies. It prescribed certain actions American and Soviet seamen and airmen should take, or avoid taking, when they found themselves in close proximity in the global commons. Close encounters were commonplace in light of the cat-and-mouse games the two navies played during the late Cold War. Refraining from actions that could be construed as attackson the other fleet’s ships and warplanes, or that otherwise placed them in jeopardy, was central to the INCSEA philosophy.

INCSEA helped reduce the chances of accidental crises or armed conflicts that might ensue should ships or aircraft collide, weapons be flourished, or tempers flare. That was no small thing. But the agreement’s framers entertained few illusions about its capacity to bring about political concord. Again, it was tactical in nature. Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union relinquished its prerogatives in the maritime domain because of INCSEA. Does anyone really believe that Beijing, which assigns its territorial claims in the South China Sea inordinate value, will sign away those claims to quell tensions it has deliberately stoked? Color me skeptical.

December 6, 2012 at 04:24

Your China'd better claim back the central Asia, Siberia, Russia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East & Eastern Europe because they once belonged to the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan ( ironically, he himself was a Mongol , not a Han Chinese!) in the 13th century. I think that's absolutely the right thing your China should do to recover all of its 'indisputable historical lost territories'! Regarding the issue of Navassa  , this small uninhabited rocky island has been governed  continuously by the US since 1858, thus it's American territory based on the International law. Period.

December 5, 2012 at 09:19

"Tibet, an independent country"
Only in western propaganda has Tibet ever been an independent country. You should end your western propaganda garbage history and wake up to reality. You can't spin your BS history out of this.
Tibet has been for hundreds of years part of China. Therefore, the mere raising of an issue that sounds as if we're trying to separate a part of China creates special sensitivities. – Henry Kissinger, former U.S secretary of State


As far as Haiti is concerned, I completely support Haiti and their claims to Navassa and African Union should back Haiti in their rightful claims.

December 4, 2012 at 01:56

My poor commie,
First, Haiti is  a small island country in the Carribean where  French & Haitian Creole, not English are  the official languages. The Americans have left Haiti & ended the US occupation there in 1934 before WWII. As an independent nation, it can choose to join any alliance it deems fit. That's it.  In the case of SCS, ECS & Tibet,  it is quite different. Tibet, an independent country having been invaded & occupied by the CCP in 1950 is now desperately fighting for its own independence & freedoom against  the Chinese occupiers, whereas SCS & ECS are the global commons open for all nations in the world not the private properties of any individual country even that's  the US, China, or Japan, etc. Secondly, China's expansionist hegemonic ambition & its militarily aggressive posture towards its neighbors are so dangerous to the region's stability & prosperity. That's the reason why there need a Code of Conduct for all the states  in the region as well as an INCSEA with the US, Japan, Russia, etc. to avoid any undesirable conflict or confrontation due to misunderstandings, misperception or miscalculation on the high seas or in the international waters. Now, you got it?

December 3, 2012 at 20:46

"There's been nothing to do with the Gulf of Mexico here. No nation there has complained about any kind of misconduct or misbehavior in the Gulf of Mexico…"
What about Guantanamo bay and Navassa?
Haiti Disputes U.S. Claims…


I think African Union should back Haiti on Navassa.
Haiti joins the African Union


Be Way
December 3, 2012 at 05:31

U.S is a spoilt brat, still hallucinating that the whole world should kowtow to him.
"Either you are with us or against us".    Woweeeeeeeee, very original … This is divine !!.

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