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Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

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Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 17 Jul 2018, 18:35:22

This is a link to a short online opinion article by J.R. Dunn. It makes a case that World War III will be fought over the petroleum resources in the South China Sea. Here is the area we are talking about:
Image
Map courtesy Flikr. Source: D.Rosenberg/MiddleburyCollege/HarvardAsiaQuarterly/PhilGov’t.

This is a very short read, 8 screens at 100% magnification setting on your browser, including photos and a short pair of low rez embedded videos.

Do I place any credibility in this scenario? YES would be the short answer. One logistical problem the US Navy would have to overcome is the sheer distance to major naval bases. There simply isn't much left to the USN in Japan, the Philippines, or Vietnam. The two closest major USN bases are on Guam and Diego Garcia, and both together plus the USN air bases in Japan are less than half as big as is USN Pearl Harbor, which is quite distant.

There is of course nobody better at long distance power projection than the USN. But the Chinese are right there, it would be a short supply line for them and a very long one for us. Not to mention they have been developing aircraft carrier tactics using a carrier they bought from the Russians, and carrier-based stealth fighter/attack craft. They have two carriers under construction, about to enter service, and two more planned. If in fact they get four carrier groups in service, they would be the #2 naval force in the world, following only the USA. (They already have the nuclear attack subs and surface craft and airplanes they need to round out four carrier task groups.) THEN they would be a credible threat with a huge advantage in that area of the world. Say 5-10 years from today.

The short read: https://www.baen.com/south-china-sea
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Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
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Re: Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Tue 17 Jul 2018, 23:21:48

Although there has been a bit of saber-rattling between Vietnam and China over a very small area of disputed south China Sea where some oil has been discovered (Nam Con Song basin_ the rest of the area in dispute between Vietnam, Phillipines and China has not really been that attractive to oil and gas explorers for various reasons that have nothing to do with potential border disputes (i.e. geology). The offshore Philippines (Palawan mainly) was interesting for awhile but seems to have been a one hit wonder with top seal and lack of maturation being a huge challenge over most of the area. The offshore area of Sarawak which is in dispute is ultradeep water and all of the discovered and additional potential traps lie inshore of the disputed zone as far as I can tell.

Petroleum rights is a good excuse but I think this is more to do with controlling territory for other reasons.
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Re: Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 10:45:45

Perhaps a less alarmist but far more realistic scenario would be the reminder that this serves of how dicey things get IF the price of oil goes up meaningfully and persistently, due to the perception (real or imagined) that crude oil demand will likely exceed supply for a number of years.

Adding stressed out geopolitical scenarios (expensive, but short of major hot shooting wars) can only add pressure to the budgets of countries like the US and China, who carry lots of debt and have expensive, hungry military machines -- especially when a hot war looks like a realistic scenario.

Given the overall debt and the projected deficits for such countries, it doesn't take anything as dramatic and unlikely as WW III to inflame problems. The much more prosaic acceleration of the debt bomb can't be a good thing if it lasts for quite a few years. And scared voters are more willing to tolerate much nastier deficits, IMO.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 11:50:28

KaiserJeep wrote:This is a link to a short online opinion article by J.R. Dunn. It makes a case that World War III will be fought over the petroleum resources in the South China Sea.... One logistical problem the US Navy would have to overcome is the sheer distance to major naval bases.



Why would the US even become involved?

The US doesn't have to automatically get involved in every territorial conflict or war around the planet, especially when it involved China. For instance, the US didn't go to war when China invaded and seized the country of Tibet, and we had much much greater military superiority over China at that time then we do now.

We don't have defense treaties with Vietnam or Brunei or Indonesia or Malaysia. Why should we get involved now that China is seizing offshore territories belonging to the countries of SE Asia?

Obama faced this same problem and he referred this whole issue to international tribunals, and they ruled against China. Let those tribunals enforce their own ruling.

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Re: Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 13:12:36

Plantagenet wrote:
KaiserJeep wrote:This is a link to a short online opinion article by J.R. Dunn. It makes a case that World War III will be fought over the petroleum resources in the South China Sea.... One logistical problem the US Navy would have to overcome is the sheer distance to major naval bases.



Why would the US even become involved?

The US doesn't have to automatically get involved in every territorial conflict or war around the planet, especially when it involved China.

Of course we don't.

However, when the issue involved is closely related to (perceived) threats to oil supplies, we seem a LOT more likely to get involved than if the issue is to do with how people (who don't have a lot of what we want) are getting treated, including genocide.

So if TPTB in the beltway can be convinced that "it's critical" re future oil supplies, I can see how the US might get involved -- stupid as hell or not. Add to that concern about territorial rights, free sea lanes, concerns about China being "belligerent", etc. (again, whether valid or not), and I don't think the chances can be casually dismissed.

....

NOT making a prediction -- just pointing out what have commonly been a common prior motivation for getting involved.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Conflict in the South China Sea by J.R. Dunn

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 14:18:52

There's scant evidence of significant oil in the disputed region, despite the mainly local pundits wishful thinking & envy over the wealth of tiny Brunei.

China seems to be trying on some western style belligerence in it's backyard primarily. Tough guy Duterte has bent over & taken it, barely a squeak about the militarisation of the 16 man made islands in the Philippines part of the disputed region- occuring within months of his election- unthinkable under previous Filipino regimes & seriously undermining US/ Alliance efforts at maintaining a stalwart ally in the SCS.

At this stage it appears that as long as China doesn't interfere with essential freedom of navigation in the region, nobody is going to do anything to stop their full blown militarisation of it. The local governments are each & all navel gazers of no, or not enough, big picture acumen to even put up a decent protest.

Meanwhile, the US Dems continue wasting time with their own navel gazing, virtually ensuring Trump is going to get a second term- who is slowly withdrawing from the global police role.
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