Art of War: ADIZ

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By Erick San Juan

CHINA established an “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” effective as of 10 am on November 23. China’s Ministry of National Defense also announced Aircraft Identification Rules for the ADIZ, which include a warning that “defensive emergency measures” would be adopted to respond to aircraft that refuse to follow the instructions.All nations have the right to  establish reasonable conditions of entry into their territory. An ADIZ is a declaration of a perimeter within which unidentified aircraft can be intercepted and prevented from illegally proceeding to enter national airspace. It serves essentially as a national defense boundary for aerial incursions. There are no international rules or laws that determine the size of an ADIZ. Over 20 nations have an ADIZ, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Taiwan in the West Pacific. ADIZs typically are much more extensive than a country’s territorial airspace. (Source: China’s ADIZ undermines regional stability by Bonnie S Glaser)

Another move by Beijing – by establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in East China Sea last November 23, it has also created a very tense situation that made the neighborhood really nervous in the process. But a lot of observers are wondering why the hell Uncle Sam is furious with this move by Beijing while in reality ADIZ is not a new specie. There are existing ADIZs around the world including the mighty America and of course, Japan. So what else is new?

Could there be another reason? Here is what we found out posted at Information Clearing House (December 1, 2013)-  The escalation of military tensions between Washington and Beijing in the East China Sea is superficially over China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone. But the real reason for Washington’s ire is the recent Chinese announcement that it is planning to reduce its holdings of the US dollar.

That move to offload some of its 3.5 trillion in US dollar reserves combined with China’s increasing global trade in oil based on national currencies presents a mortal threat to the American petrodollar and the entire American economy.
This threat to US viability – already teetering on bankruptcy, record debt and social meltdown – would explain why Washington has responded with such belligerence to China setting up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) last week extending some 400 miles from its coast into the East China Sea.

Beijing said the zone was aimed at halting intrusive military maneuvers by US spy planes over its territory. The US has been conducting military flights over Chinese territory for decades without giving Beijing the slightest notification. (Dollar Survival Behind US-China Tensions by Finian Cunningham)

So it is still economy, hmmm…. But if not handled with cooler heads, this planned escalation in retaliation to the Beijing’s ADIZ can actually snowballed into a regional conflict that will drag other allied nations from both sides and will end up into a global war.
Like what the blogger, with the pseudonym The Saker wrote – “First, imagine just for a second that the Chinese had shot down the two US bombers. Then what? Would the US, which did not even have the balls to strike Iran or Syria, attack China? The US for sure could not go to the United Nations Security Council for support where they would be laughed out from the council chambers by both Russia and China and, probably most other members too.

So, did the Americans count on the Chinese doing the right thing? If that is the case, then the only message sent to Beijing is “Look, we are irresponsible and reckless, and we count on your sanity”. This is most unlikely to impress anybody in China. Second, now that the Chinese did the smart thing and ignored the US alleged stupidity, what has this move achieved beyond alienating China even further?

One really ought to know absolutely nothing about Asia to believe that you can impose a major loss of face on a superpower like China and not have to pay dearly for it. Pundits believe the big difference between the US and China is that the former acts like a spoiled teenager brat with an attention and memory span in the 5-10 minutes range: “The Chinese did not attack our bombers – that must mean that we taught them a good lesson!”


The Chinese will make you pay – dearly – for each such humiliation (and God knows there have been many such humiliations the past couple of decades – remember the Chinese embassy in Belgrade?), but they will make you pay on their own time, when they decide, and that could take literally centuries.”

There are too many flashpoints already in existence, and to add more to a very tense region could really put all of us in big trouble whether we like it or not.

The moral lesson of the story, don’t add more fuel to the already fiery situation like what our government officials are saying. Let us be vigilant and put diplomacy and some expertise in geostrategy. May God help us all pass through this global hurdle involving the giants.