US blackmail will only bankrupt it

Updated: 2016-07-26 15:12

By Han Dongping(

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The US government instigated the Philippines government to seek the ruling of arbitrational panel of the International Permanent court in order to create an impression globally that China is defying the panel. China refused to participate and accept this kind of arbitration because of lack of precedents like this in the world. No country has ever allowed a temporary arbitration panel to decide its territorial integrity in history. Nobody can expect China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to allow a temporarily formed arbitration panel, which has no legal authority and no jurisdiction over territory issues, to make a ruling on China’s sovereignty issues.

The US has been sending its gun boats and carriers into the South China Sea to enforce the so-called freedom of navigation in the South China Sea because it wants to blackmail China to accept the ruling. But to the surprise of the US and other countries involved in the South China Sea disputes, China refused to be blackmailed. Instead, China steadily built up its military capability in the South China Sea. Recently, China’s Three Fleets, Air Force, and Space and Missile forces are carrying out a biggest military exercise of its kind in the South China Sea to demonstrate China’s determination to defend its territorial integrity in the South China Sea.

In face of China of military preparedness, the US has no choice but to retreat from its assertive position in the South China Sea. The reason is very simple. The US cannot afford to engage in a war with China in the South China Sea, on the Chinese territory. The US military has no confidence in winning the war with a fully prepared China. The US intention in sending carriers to the South China was to intimidate China into accepting the ruling of the Arbitration Panel. But when China responds to the US blackmail with steady military preparation to defend what it considers as its inalienable sovereign territory, the US military blackmail can only backfire.

The US cannot afford to fight a war with China at this point. The US is faced with too much internal trouble. The US war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq devastated American finance. American people were very upset with their politicians’ trigger-happy foreign policy. American people do not want to waste their resources on foreign wars any more. They want their government to spend American people’s money to improve the infrastructure of their own countries, not on foreign wars.

The South China Sea disputes have no direct connection with US. American people will not allow their politicians to fight with China for the Philippines or others to gain any territorial advantage over China. The result of this year’s primary election in the US has clearly demonstrated that the majority of American voters do not want any more foreign wars. They want their leaders to concentrate their energy on solving the urgent domestic issues, and no more foreign wars.

The US military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, instead of accomplishing its political objectives, have failed miserably. The US military involvements in Syria and Libya have demonstrated to the whole world that American military involvement anywhere caused too much misery and trouble for our world. The social climate of our world does not support any more US military involvement in the South China Sea.

The US could sustain the losses in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. But it cannot afford to fight another war with China and lose it. The consequences of losing a war with China will be unimaginable for the US elite. If the US loses its war with China in the South China Sea, it will mean the end of US hegemony in the Asia Pacific and in the world. There will be no good come out of a war with China even if the US wins the war, but the consequences of its defeat will be unthinkable for the US. Therefore, there will be no war in the South China Sea.

The author is a professor at Warren Wilson College, North Carolina, and a guest professor at Hebei University.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Daily website.