China Already Defeats US without Firing a Shot in the Philippines

Duterte shakes hands with Chinese president Xi Jinping. National Interst photo.

I have just reblogged National Interest’s May-16 article “How China Could Defeat America in Asia (And Never Fire a Shot)” by Grant Newsham that says:

If China’s military were to do something like, say, grab Japan’s Senkaku islands or perhaps teach Taiwan a lesson, there will be voices in the US arguing that a military response carries too high a price.

This shows that if China as a smart adversary makes the proper strategic moves in phase zero, there might not be a phase one or a phase two, because the US awakes to finds itself in a stranglehold it can’t get out of, except at too high a price.

In US military terms, phase zero means peacetime while phase one and two respectively means war looks likely and the shooting starts.

With respect to US long-term close ally the Philippines, the US already found itself in a stranglehold it cannot get out as it cannot afford a war with China for the Philippines.

That was why the Philippine President Duterte has been separating from its ally the US to switch to China and Russia’s side.

I have said in my previous posts that Duterte did that not because US opposition to his war against drug but because US failure to perform its treaty obligations to protect Philippines’ rights and interests in the South China Sea against China.

National Interest’s May-16 article “America, Not Duterte, Failed the Philippines” by Gordon G. Chang gives detailed description of US failures to prove his theory that “Washington pushed the Philippines away by failing to honor moral, if not legal, obligations to its long-standing ally.”

Gordon Chang mentioned among other things the Scarborough Shoal standoff and Hague arbitration award that entirely denied China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea. The US as Philippines’ ally must protect Philippines rights and interests but failed to take any actions as it does not want to fight a war with China for the Philippines. As a result, there is no phase one or two when China drove the Philippines away and took complete control of the shoal and utterly reject the arbitration award.

As for the Diaoyus (Senkakus as known in Japan), they are but worthless rocks that China certainly will not take them by force but China has sent large fishing fleet to fish in the sea area around the disputed islands regularly and China has been exploring the energy resources there. The US has not helped its close ally Japan to drive Chinese fleets, coast guard ships and navy away. China has also won phase zero there and the US will not begin phase one or two.

I can safely predict that if China finds it necessary to teach Taiwan a lesson the US will not go to phase one or two either.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at