Is Air/Sea getting semi up crunk?
Or is Great Satan concocting an especial strategic elixir of Selevtive Confrontation?
One element of the emerging US strategy was evident in March when the US flew P-8A surveillance planes over the Second Thomas Shoal, an uninhabited atoll in the South China Sea. Chinese ships there were trying to prevent the Philippines from supplying marines who were trying to get essential supplies to a ship that in 1999 was deliberately run aground on a land-feature claimed by both countries. The US planes flew at low altitude to make sure they were visible to the Chinese.
More extensive use of surveillance aircraft in the region could be coupled with a greater willingness to publicise images or videos of Chinese maritime activity. Some US officials believe the Chinese might be given pause for thought if images of their vessels harassing Vietnamese or Filipino fishermen were to be broadcast.
The US military’s Hawaii-based Pacific command has also been asked to co-ordinate the development of a regional system of maritime information, which would allow governments in the western Pacific detailed information about the location of vessels in the region. Several governments say they have been caught unawares by the surprise appearance of Chinese ships.
The Pentagon has also been working on plans for calculated shows of force, such as the flight of B-52s over the East China Sea last year after China declared an exclusive air defence zone over the area. The potential options involve sending naval vessels close to disputed areas.
US officials say that there is little appetite within the administration for some of the more confrontational ideas that have been proposed as a means of deterring China. These include deploying the US coast guard to the South China Sea to counter the activities of Chinese civilian vessels and using US-led convoys to escort fisherman from the Philippines and other nations into areas where they have been expelled by the Chinese.
Pic - "Lonely Hegemon"