2 October 2018   Leave a comment

The Pew Research Center has conducted another poll of America’s global image.  The results are depressing:  Many in the world do not hold a very favorable view of US policies on some important issues although the the overall US favorability rating remains positive. 

The drop in confidence in the US seems to be related primarily rooted in the question of leadership and is most dramatic among important US eiropean allies:

Statistics such as these call into question the ability of the US to command support for important policy initiatives it may wish to implement.  The lack of confidence makes strong alliances very difficult, despite shared interests. 

The US-Chinese competition in the South China Sea has heated up.  A Chinese war vessel challenged the USS Decatur by sailing within 45 meters of each other, a very dangerous maneuver.  According to Business Insider:

“The Chinese ship, reportedly the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 052C Luyang II-class guided-missile destroyer Lanzhou (170), part of the Chinese navy’s South Sea Fleet, took on the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73) during a close approach near Gaven Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.

“The Chinese vessel ‘conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings’ for the US Navy ship to “leave the area,” Pacific Fleet revealed in an official statement Monday. US Navy photos first obtained by gCaptain and confirmed to CNN by three American officials show just how close the Chinese destroyer got to the US ship.

The US Naval Institute quotes Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman on the incident:

“U.S. Forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis, including the South China Sea. As we have for decades, our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows. All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows. That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe.”

The Chinese, of course, have a different view of the encounter.   The China Times, a usually reliable media outlet reflecting official Chinese policy, said this:

“The US repeatedly sends military ships without permission into seas close to South China Sea islands, seriously threatening China’s sovereignty and security, damaging Sino-US relations as well as military ties and harming regional peace and stability,” said Wu Qian, spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense.

“Wu said the Chinese navy ship conducted an identification and warning process to drive the USS Decatur away on Sunday, a day before China’s National Day.

“China has irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them, and the situation there is progressing well thanks to the hard work of China and countries in Southeast Asia, Wu noted.”

Photograph of the US-Chinese Encounter in the Chinese Sea

Posted October 2, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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