US-China Showdown Has Begun

 US China1

US is itching for a war. In fact it is inching towards a war, a war which probably will have the full potential to change into a ‘third-world-war’, solely, for the reason that this time US is modelling itself against China, which by every standard is also a super-power.  US strategy is to station its aircraft carriers near the boundaries of the ‘contesting-nation’ as US is always comfortable that no country can dare attack US inside its boundaries, obviously when it lays thousands of kms afar.

US since July 2020 has deployed its aircraft carriers in South China sea i.e. Nimitz and Ronald Reagan 1 which can carry hundreds of aircraft fighters and spy planes and since the last two months there has been eye-ball-to-eye-ball with China, with India, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia supporting US. But, things seem to be now hotting up, as on August 25, 2020, China formally lodged its protest with Washington that US spy plane U-2 had entered China air-space to capture images of Chinese live-fire military and navy drills , South China Morning Post 2 on August 26, 2020 informed that ‘Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said a U-2 reconnaissance jet flew without permission over the no-fly zone in the PLA’s northern military region, where the live-fire drills were taking place.“It seriously interfered in normal exercise activities. It seriously violated the code of safe behaviour for air and sea between China and the US and international norms. It easily leads to misjudgment, or could even cause accidents in the sea and air,” Wu said. “The move was an obvious provocation. China firmly opposes such provocative actions and has lodged solemn representations with the US side.”’ US responded with predictable superiority “Pacific Air Forces personnel will continue to fly and operate anywhere international law allows, at the time and tempo of our choosing,” the U.S. military said.3

China showed up with maximum restraint and despite the US-2 spy plane within its range, it did not shoot it down, as that would have given the chance to US to jump the gun! This is when US is regularly sending (twice or thrice) its spy planes into China air-space, particularly in the last two-three months, so as to provoke China to retaliate, and offer a reason, to start a war.  China is following its own ancient dictum that China would never fire the first bullet, for the world to know, as to who started the war!  But, if China shoots a US spy plane or brings it down, obviously, it would trigger an out-cry in US and invite retaliation, but it be impossible for China to strike inside US, which is  more than 12,000 kms, but then, what if China destroys any of US aircraft-carriers? It would thus trigger the US the much desired beginning for the war. Something which US President Donald Trump wants before November 2020 elections or thereafter to it. The duel in South China Sea, obviously, is for the wealth of minerals under its waters which 90% of it is claimed by China as it own and what US calls as illegal 4 .

China sent a warning to US for entering into its airspace and within hours to it, came the US reaction and  it slapped trade-sanctions on Chinese entities, which of course, is Trump favourite tool against China.  ‘The Trump administration added 24 Chinese companies to a trade blacklist for helping China build islands in the South China Sea, a construction program the United States has labeled an illegal attempt to control an important shipping route.’ 5 China made sense of US posturing and fired two aircraft killer missiles as a warning to US. This ballistic response of China was launched to issue a warning to US to have entered into Chinese ‘no-fly-zone’. According to Al Jazeera on August 27, 2020, ‘China has fired two missiles, including one dubbed an “aircraft-carrier killer”, into the South China Sea. The South China Morning Post reported on Thursday that Beijing fired one intermediate-range ballistic missile, DF-26B, from Qinghai province and another medium-range ballistic missile, DF-21D, from Zhejiang province on Wednesday in response to US aerial activities in a “no-fly zone”. In response, Mark Esper, the US defence chief, said China has repeatedly fallen short of promises to abide by international laws, noting China seems to be flexing its muscles the most in Southeast Asia. The two missiles were reportedly fired in the direction of the area between Hainan province and the disputed Paracel Islands, the Hong Kong-based publication added, quoting an unnamed source.’ 6  The step of China was to make a clear-cut signal to US that it was time for China to start to  react.

The specifications of the two aircraft-killer-missiles is that the ‘DF-26B missile is capable of hitting moving targets at sea, making it an “aircraft-carrier killer”, which can carry conventional or nuclear warheads and is capable of launching precision strikes on land and sea targets, while the other (DF-26) with its range of 4,500km (2,800 miles), can reach the West Pacific and the Indian Ocean, as well as American facilities in Guam, the British island of Diego Garcia and even the Australian city of Darwin.’ 7 China did it knowing fully well that it cannot reach 12,000 kms to US but it is capable of making up to US installations in its vicinity, and also, a message to Vietnam and India which had been engaged into naval-exercises in April last ( 2020) 8  and also to Hong Kong and India bonhomie, as it is very likely that India is to support ‘two-countries two-systems’ in Hong-Kong, to the angst of China,  after the latest brawl with China in Galwan valley, in Ladakh, where India lost 20 of its soldiers on June 15, 2020 9 . What is important to note is that China did not fire when US-2 entered its air space but when US blacklisted its entities.

If things can be put into perspective then it comes out that CDS Bipin Rawat on August 24, 2020 declared that military option against China ‘is on the table if talks fail’ 10 this was what exactly US wanted to see ,  and what followed was a US-2 provocation, then blacklisting and followed by two missiles shot by China, and now it seem that US and India are on the same board. India, will surely hold China by its neck and it will help when US with its allies block the straits of Malacca, and later inside the Indian ocean,  through which bulk of Chinese export reach to the whole world, and therefore, to put an end to the entire supply-line of China. Thus, the clouds of war are hovering as a China-US conflict with involve India and automatically Pakistan too, as both China and Pakistan are bitter towards India, since August 5, 2019, when PM Modi finished the special status if JK& L.

In this rapidly changing equations, Philippines Foreign Secretary Locsin Jr, on August 27, 2020 announced that there would be no more kowtowing to China, if China continues to posture in the disputed waters. ‘Philippines will invoke its 69-year old defense treaty with US if China attacks a Philippine naval vessel in the West Philippines sea. This statement comes from the oldest ally of US in Asia’, 11 thus, adding fuel to the probabilities that the war is coming soon.  Hence, US is getting things worked-out to its advantage, and as its latest move, after the Chinese killer-missile test, has sent its warships-the guided missile destroyer Mustin near disputed islands called Paracel islands. ‘The Paracels are a collection of 130 islands and reefs, surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potential natural resource reserves, that are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam’ 12 . US is now bent upon to provoke China and there is now an all out probability of a war before US goes to polls in November this year.

Apart from this another scenario of almost the same magnitude is also getting build-up as Greece and Turkey are readying for a war in Mediterranean sea, where Israel, France , Egypt and UAE are in support of Greece, and after, the latest ‘normalisation of relations’ between UAE and Israel, UAE has sent four F-16 fighter jets in support of Greece against Turkey 13 ,  thus, a war in the seas is now to be a likely scenario and India will also not remain untouched by it as when India would block China in Indian ocean, China will automatically ask Pakistan to attack Indian submarines.

The probability of a Greece-Turkey conflict is very high, as that would entangle Turkey into a war, which opposed the Israel ‘annexation-plan,  particularly in the wake of the latest visit of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, to Israel, on August 25, 2020 14 , where he was shown addressing from the roof of King David hotel overlooking the old city of Jerusalem including the Temple-Mount which the Jews want to build after demolishing Al Aqsa Mosque.  The Gulf-states are all, sooner or later, in the next term of Trump are all likely to have normalised relations with Israel, with the exception of Pakistan and Iran. This COVID-19 pandemic is turning out to be a boon for Israel. Meanwhile,  it has been learnt that China has forced US Navy Mustin away from the disputed islands of its South China  Sea 15 .

The world is just waiting to see as to what happens now before or after November 2020.

Haider Abbas is a former information commissioner of Uttar Pradesh



















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