Friday, May 27, 2016

Liu Haiyang — Whose “International Law” Are We Talking About?


A Chinese view of what happens when the US makes the rules.
On its face, the US FON [freedom of navigation] program is an effort to assert US desires upon the world oceans for the sole purpose of affording its naval and air forces the maximum degree of mobility and flexibility. In essence, through enforcing American perspective of international law in defiance of shared international perspectives of international law, the apparent provocative nature of such assertions exposes the FON operations as exercises of hegemonic power projection so as to establish a US-dominated maritime legal order beyond a world ocean legal order guaranteed under the convention. As for the FON operations conducted in the South China Sea, they are no more than a tool to carry out the US “Pivot to Asia” strategy.
CHINA US Focus
Whose “International Law” Are We Talking About?
Liu Haiyang is a research fellow at the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing University

17 comments:

Nebris said...

PRC bullshit. The Nine Point Line is straight up Imperialism.

Bob said...

It's all about islands, no matter how small, which grant access to parts of the sea...

Andrew said...

Isn't this what most law is about?

Tom Hickey said...

Isn't this what most law is about?

Exactly. It's always cui bono.

Laws are institutional arrangements, and institutional arrangements define the power class, power, and economic structure of society and international arrangements do the same for nations globally.

So it is all about who gets to make the rules. And in the end that is decided by power. Politics is about distribution of power, who is dominant and who is subservient.

This is why equality before the law, in law making and also in enforcement is key to social and political liberalism. Under economic liberalism, "those who own the country should govern the country" (attributed to first US Chief Justice John Jay).

BTW, this is the real issue in the appointment of US supreme court justices, not the social issues that swirl around it and obscure the financial and economic issues and where the nominees stand on them.

Tom Hickey said...

It's all about islands, no matter how small, which grant access to parts of the sea...

In this case, think of islands as aircraft carriers.

Bob said...

Aircraft carriers are man-made - and so are islands that have been artificially built up. Lets not pretend that China is behaving as an innocent here.

Tom Hickey said...

There no innocents in business or international relations. It's about competitiveness. In this case, military.

The US doesn’t want China building military installations on small islands that would threaten US control of the sea. The US already knows the power of this based on its own military installations on Guam, for instance, which directly threaten China with the aircraft stationed there.

The US has twelve carrier groups, to China's one and one in progress. But the technological gap is huge, too.

So the obvious Chinese answer is missiles and submarines. Missiles and aircraft on island would also counter the US carrier forces.

This has almost zero to do with freedom of navigation.

Think agenda and hidden agenda.

Bob said...

It has nothing to do with freedom of navigation, but there are treaties and conventions that allow them to pretend that it is. Behold the US Navy defending the rights of local fishermen...

Tom Hickey said...

Again, agenda and hidden agenda. This is about containment of China, just as the NATO build up is to contain Russia.

With Russia and China contained, the US can then tighten the vise through global economic hegemony, squeezing them to death until they scream to be admitted to the empire as obedient vassals of the neoliberal world order run out of Washington and Wall Street, with the Pentagon and Langley as back up with a stick.

Bob said...

How do you contain two nuclear powers with a vast population and landmass? It is a futile agenda. It's like the Mongols thinking they can re-occupy Russia and China. That era is over.

Ryan Harris said...

The threat is that the conflict spirals out of control for various reasons into a war, but war isn't the goal of either side. The control of resources and shipping lanes are the goals of the regional countries because it allows control to be exerted on neighboring countries and strategically, it would allow blockades. The US interest officially is to keep the seas open, to properly defend our allies and commerce interests. And it is a real concern, Saudis..., Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and others transport an enormous portion of international trade across this tiny bit of disputed water. IMO The US hidden agenda is that they want to stop China expansionism. China has a long, long history of expansionism, destabilization and interference in their neighbors. Which many would argue is rich, given the US actions in our region. But... if we don't at least do as our allies in the region ask, they won't be our allies for long.

Tom Hickey said...

How do you contain two nuclear powers with a vast population and landmass? It is a futile agenda. It's like the Mongols thinking they can re-occupy Russia and China. That era is over.

Yeah, I said that this will end badly for the US.

Bob said...

It will end badly for those with delusions of grandeur. Not all Americans suffer from that affliction.

Tom Hickey said...

When I say "US" and "America" I don't means Americans, but the US ruling elite, political leadership and deep state. This is a relatively small cohort relative to the US population. But they run things.

Bob said...

Well in that case I wouldn't use 'badly'. 'Just desserts' is more appropriate.

Bob said...

How many years until the Wolfowitz doctrine is abandoned?

Tom Hickey said...

How many years until the Wolfowitz doctrine is abandoned?

That's what I mean by "badly." US leaders are likely to hang on long after it is prudent to do so.