Obama’s military doctrine, focussing on the Asia Pacific theatre, is bound to cause unease in the Chinese, Russians, North Koreans, Iranians, Syrians, and Pakistani and off shots of Islamic terrorist groups. It, however, will be welcomed in southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and various client Arab states.
Despite the soothing noise emanating from the White House, the target all sublime for the moment is less Iran than China. It isn’t for nothing that a high ranking Chinese naval officer, in an official publication, denounced the 44 American president’s ‘military adventurism’.
And in a way, at first blush, it is a reworking of the ‘Open Door Policy’, this time stretching from west to east Asia and the islands in the Pacific.
No excuses can mask the Obama doctrine’s intent towards a rival nation like China that just got in America’s way, huge infusions of venture capital and outsourcing factories and jobs that would accelerate China’s short march to capitalism notwithstanding.
Of course the US scholars, policy makers, and chattering classes overlooked one thing: Chinese nationalism and the not so guarded humiliation of the years this middle country suffered under the heavy hand of foreign powers, including America’s.
With the rise of a powerful Chinese economy pulling the world’s economic train, it is unsurprising that Beijing began flexing its muscles and reasserting Imperial Chinese claims to neighbouring states as well as poaching in carved out areas the US thought as its own natural reserve.
This ‘new’ doctrine has the potential for making much mischief, it goes without saying. And from the get go, it has set China’s teeth on edge. The Obama administration requires China’s help and assistance financially, and geopolitically when it comes to ‘dealing’ with North Korea. Little wonder, then, Beijing will play hard ball and remain inscrutably coy.
We should all be prepared for a bumpy ride.