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Okay, Maybe Donald Trump Has Got It Right This Time

U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump
U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump. Photo credit: AP/LM Otero.

n December 4, President-elect Donald Trump sent out a couple of tweets that the “liberal media” immediately pounced on as “warmongering” by an obviously unqualified diplomatic novice who will soon be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There were concerns that Trump could start a trade war with China. As well as reminders that China holds a significant portion of United States’ debt and thus the incoming president should tread lightly least China decides to call in all those I.O.U.s.

As Filipino-Americans however, we believe it is high time the U.S. took Communist China to task for the belligerent, heavy-handed, and bullying tactics it has been using on its Southeast Asian neighbors, specifically the Philippines, over the past five years.

China’s claim to most of the South China Sea is based on a map concocted in 1947 showing a “U-shaped” nine-dash line that delineates Chinese sovereignty. The United Nations Arbitral Tribunal that rules on United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) matters already ruled in July, 2016 that China’s nine-dash claim has no legal standing whatsoever.

However, for two years (2014-2015), the Obama administration looked the other way as China built-up one reef, atoll, or shoal, after another, into mini islands so China could project its military power all across the South China Sea. U.S. generals and admirals demanded a tough U.S. response to China’s overtly aggressive behavior—but the Obama administration instead chose to stick its head in the sand and pretend nothing was happening.

Even when China underhandedly took control of the Scarborough Shoal (less than a hundred miles off the west coast of Luzon, Obama took no action—other than reiterate some form of commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines.

So Trump’s tweet calling out China is like a breath of fresh air. As noted above, America’s military experts have been warning the government about China’s very aggressive military buildup especially over the past decade. China appears bent on regional hegemony, and sees itself as the rising global super-power, just as it sees the U.S. in decline.

China believes it can “outmaneuver” the U.S. and other western democracies with its authoritarian form of government which allows it to cut corners and trample on its citizens’ human rights. The only way to stop China is for a country like the United States to put China in its place and force it to play by global rules. Otherwise, the whole world might one day be ruled by authoritarian regimes like China where individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of expediency and autocratic rule. Published 12/11/2016

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