Trump’s Wisdom in Avoiding Military Conflict with China

Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, smiles during his testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be U.S. secretary of state in Washington, U.S. January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Rex Tillerson, who said US should block China’s access to its artificial islands during his testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be U.S. secretary of state in Washington, U.S. January 11, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

SCMP says in its report “Tempest Trump: China and US urged to make plans for ‘major storm’ in bilateral relationship” yesterday that Trump’s candidate for secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s remarks on US blocking China’s access to its artificial islands has raised great concerts in the world as such a move may give rise to military conflict between the US and China.

If the US does block the access, it will fight a large-scale war with China. I have repeated in my previous posts that the US will not be able to win as China has more land-based fighter jets than the US can send from its aircraft carriers while F-22s are vulnerable as they have to refuel on the air before reaching the theater and their airbases are within the range of China’s intermediate ballistic missiles.

China simply has geographic advantages to win the war near its coast.

Knowing that, US new president Trump shall not openly support Tillerson’s remarks after his inauguration. If the US fails to block China’s access to the islands, it will betray its weakness and lost its allies’ confidence on its protection.

Then, there is the question whether Trump is so stupid as to start such a hopeless war.

I don’t think that Trump is stupid.

Therefore, Trump has so far said nothing about Tillerson’s remarks. He needs not say anything as Tillerson has not yet been really appointed US Secretary of State and is not in a position to speak for the US.

However, US reporters are worried about possible war if Trump does block China’s access and risk a large-scale war. According to Washington Post’s report “Is Trump ready for war in the South China Sea, or is his team just not being clear?” on January 24, they asked Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer whether President Trump agreed with his nominee for secretary of state.

Spicer says, “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”

That has displayed Trump’s wisdom. Trump certainly knows that those islands have been built on reefs claimed by China and other countries so that they are not international territories; therefore, he will find the answer of the question and does not block China’s access.

However, he has the vision to foresee that with such capabilities of building large islands on reefs, China is well capable of building large islands in the oceans as military bases to counter US navy’s dominance of oceans and protect its trade lifelines through the oceans.

People with common wisdom believe that China will build a navy with enough powerful aircraft carriers to prevent its trade lifelines from being cut by US navy. It takes China decades to achieve that, but it takes only a few years to build some islands as navy and air bases to protect China’s trade lifelines. Trump has to prevent that. That is why Spicer says “we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”

It is what the US has to fight for because if China has built enough islands in the oceans, the US will entirely lose its world hegemony.

Moreover, with its most powerful navy in the world, the US can be sure to win a war far away from Chinese coast in blocking China’s access to the islands China may build in the oceans.

Trump is certainly not so stupid as to block China’s access to its islands in the South China Sea and begin a war that the US has no hope to win.

However, he is clever to prevent China’s construction of islands in the oceans.

Chinese leaders know that; therefore, they plan to build floating islands in the oceans. Such islands are much more expensive, but they can sail in the oceans and even move close to the US to attack US homeland.

Being a vanguard for freedom of navigation, the US has no justified grounds to prevent the freedom of navigation of China’s floating islands near US coast.

There will be real end of US hegemony when China has grown rich enough to build lots of floating islands and the US has declined further to lack financial resources to defend its homeland.

That will be the real trouble for the US. Trump is clever to place priority on recovery of US economy to avoid that. It is high time for the US to carry out a policy of America first instead of maintaining its so-called world leadership that no one obeys.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP and Washington Post’s articles, full text of which can respectively be found at and


5 Comments on “Trump’s Wisdom in Avoiding Military Conflict with China”

  1. Fre Okin says:

    People like Tillerson, admiral Harris should be reminded China can counterattack if US think China is too afraid to go into an all out nuclear war. China can adopt an eye for an eye proportional response approach.

    If US blockade Chinese artificial islands and result in war, China have to be prepared to target a US asset that is proportional in punishment……… and that island is Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean! Nope, not Guam, not Okinawa as they are too populated.

    A US attack on Chinese islands in the Spratlys will most likely be done with Ohio and Virginia subs. A recent article in thenationalinterest show US have four conventional Tomahawk laden Ohio subs, each able to fire off 154 missiles in only six minutes, over a thousand miles away, so theoretically, just the Ohios alone, US can finish off Chinese Spratlys islands with over 600 Tomahawk missiles from a safe distance, not counting the Virginia subs which could lurk even nearer.

    China should quickly build plenty of strong heat emitting source like 4th July fireworks nearby her defense structures to cause the Tomahawks to veer off course and miss hitting Chinese buildings. CIWS defense alone is not enough. Cruise missiles can be defeated by fooling their IR targeting system.

    China’s proportional response is to attack Diego Garcia. This people like Trump, Tillerson, Harris etc should know. China should plan to target Diego Garcia with WU 14 hypersonic and other ballistic missiles. Cruise missiles fire off from Chinese subs getting as near as possible, firing from just before the Malacca Strait or near Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysian waters off Sarawak or even Natuna islands off Indonesia. This is a must read for Trump and Tillerson so they will sober up.

    China can easily rebuild the structures on the artificial islands in a few short months and US can do nothing about it. Once USN fire off her Tomahawks, US game plan is exposed and there is no second chance. China will guard the waters further away to keep US subs out of range and US will be unable to contain China from then onward.

    It will be a draw, US don’t win and if everybody keep a calm head, there won’t be a nuclear war and China will continue to exert her power over her islands in the Spratlys and US can do nothing about it. In The Day After, China win. By standing up to US, China decisively put US hegemony to an end. Chinese aircraft carriers will very soon sail near US shores after this episode if US dare to blockade her islands in the Spratlys.


  2. Simon says:

    Tillerson only nominated by the norrowness margn of 11 to 10 wrwe all the Republicans with a majority of one backed him and all the Democrats oppose him. That does not give him a proper legitamacy to implement American foreign policy.


    • Wei says:

      China is used to having a timid scared US president like Obama. The election of Trump upset the planned timetable of Chinese world domination. China is now in a state of confusion and this confusion will deepen as the year 2017 progresses


      • tito says:

        wei… trump will give very hard time to brown people to enter the US..LOL….brown people now in a state of confusion and this confusion will deepen as the year 2017 progressesare


  3. Steve says:

    Our worldly wisdom is no more than common sense or speculative knowledge based on theory, experience and advice. Example: During Trump’s election campaign he arrogantly said. ” Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily taxed our products going into their country.” — tweeted on December 4th.

    This is downright stupid for a President elect… Imagine the People’s Bank of China on behalf of the CCP seeking US treasury permission before selling the Chinese Yuan.? Or the US treasury seeking China’s treasury advice before selling US dollars.? China is America’s biggest creditor for decades, have provided Americans with countless cheap goods from clothing, footwear to computers.

    Trump’s message to Americans are creation of jobs, lower corporate taxes, increase minimum wages to meet US high cost of living, improvise infrastructures and basically lie to the Americans on US expenditure such as the military budget and protecting freedom of democracy.

    Unfortunately, President Trump are having problems worldwide on immigration, blocking refugees, anti muslims and insofar as the most unwanted US President in modern US history. How can Trump block refugees when US congress had planned to invade 7 countries in 5 years starting with Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia …. ending with Iran.? Russia has prevented US genocidal killings in Syria. If China had being politically and militarily weak, it would be included on US invasion menu.

    Is Trump really politically wise.? Can he bring jobs back to America and increase import tax by 45% without hurting foreign imports.? Like all mouthpieces, Trump awaits advice from his cabinet of military, economic and political hawks.