14 thoughts on ““A White Hull Approach to Taming the Dragon: Using the Coast Guard to Counter China”–War on the Rocks

  1. If we decided to build a new island in the Caribbean, and China sent warships to exercise “freedom of navigation” patrols, what would we say about that?

      • Wrong. The U.S. would freak out.

        Just remember about the freakout when a Irnaian museum ship passed the Suez Canal, the freakouts about Russian bombers being “intercepted” in international airspace, the freakout in the U.S. about how the evil Soviets will take over the world once the Panama Canal isn’t under U.S. control any more etc..

  2. Russian bombers fly near the mainland regularly, and the US doesnt “freak out”. What are you talking about? it gets a blurb in the papers, thats about it.

  3. In building these artificial islands, which, according to international law the Chinese approved, have not territorial sea, they destroyed economic assets of the Philippines and other nations that owned the fishing and mineral rights to the sea bead in their exclusive economic zones.

  4. Incidentally, I don’t necessarily think all of this is a good idea. I do think helping the nations of SE Asia develop their own capacity for policing their waters and EEZ is a good idea.

    Properly done freedom of navigation exercises do stop assertions of rights from becoming customary international law. That is the reason for doing them, and it has nothing to do with innocent passage.

  5. The emphasis on FONOPs may be legally sound, but has been strategically ineffective in curtailing China’s island-building and coercive behavior. The Coast Guard brings value not simply through flying the flag through territorial seas, but through strengthening partnerships and collaborating to address the conflict drivers in the region. US strategic objectives are achieved if we can assist our friends and allies in normalizing the way the broader users of the space interact with each other, including constabulary forces who will have to collectively manage the space.

    • I know what you’re saying, and mostly agree. On the other hand, if we weren’t doing FONOPS then if we decided to sail near one of their man made islands a few years from now, it would be a bigger issue. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it does help maintain the status quo somewhat.

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