Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Nokor Missile and Philippine-China South China Sea Stand Off

The North Korean missile that will be sailing over Philippine territory is gripping the headlines and first gaps of the news today.

In the midst of all the talk this is generating, I am thinking about whether there is anything at all that the Philippine government can do if North Korea or China (for that matter) launches a live missile aimed at Manila.

The Philippines does not have the capability to defend itself from such an attack and if we're considering the possibility of a nuclear missile attack, the effect would indeed be devastating.

It will only take two or three such missiles to wipe out Metro Manila and probably any possible resistance to an invasion that will surely follow.

In a blog post I wrote months ago that compares the military strength of China and the Philippines, it clearly shows that China is well equipped to decimate the Philippines.

While the Philippines does enjoy the status of being an ally of the United States, it would seem foolish to believe that the US will place the Philippine's interests before its own.

The US may no longer the military might that it once was at its peak and being concerned with various wars in other parts of the world where it has greater economic interests, the question is whether it will really side in a war that will engage in a conflict which may not redound to significant gains.

As such, the United States should press for another UNSC condemnatory statement that closes existing loopholes and imposes additional sanctions. Washington must make clear to Beijing that continuing to obstruct a resolute international response will only engender more North Korean belligerence and a stronger allied response—neither of which is in China’s strategic interests. 
Escalating tensions from Pyongyang’s missile launch and a likely follow-on nuclear test could even spur North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to undertake more provocative military actions. The new, untested dictator is more likely than his father Kim Jong-il to miscalculate during a crisis and stumble across a redline, unaware that Seoul is more likely to retaliate to a military clash than in the past. 
All of this could occur even as the United States fails to adequately resource the much-vaunted Asia pivot. Drawdowns in U.S. forces in Europe and Afghanistan are not shifting to address growing Asian threats—a case of robbing Peter to not pay Paul. The planned $1 trillion cuts to the U.S. military would undercut Washington’s ability to fulfill its security commitments, even as North Korea and China are acting more assertively.
The statements issued by the Aquino Administration since the "escalation" of tensions between China and the Philippines with regard to support from the US government against China should be as any form of reassurance against disastrous conflict.

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