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Balance of Power in the East China Sea

Via Lawfare, a post by Oriana Skylar Mastro, on China’s ADIZ over the Senkakus:

Before creating the Air Defense Identification Zone, China’s leadership would have weighed the possibility that Japan and the U.S. might defy it. China most likely expected exactly the response Washington and Tokyo are giving it. This is the problem. China has the strategic advantage, letting the U.S. fly through the zone, but giving itself the flexibility to respond – and escalate – tensions with Japan on a case-by-case-basis.

….According to Dan Lamothe and Yochi Dreazen, U.S. officials seem to have accepted that China will keep the zone in place, and have shifted their focus to preventing a potential military clash between Japan and China.

This is a mistake. Crisis management is critical to avoid inadvertent escalation, but does little when one side is escalating tensions on purpose to gain advantage and provoke conflict.

This administration seems to have a hard time learning that lesson, assuming they’re interested.

Posted in Foreign Policy, Military.