Counter to Publiko’s analysis, The Economist’s column Banyan did not interpret the U.S.’s Freedom of Navigation Operation near Subi Reef on October 26, 2015 as timid.
Counter to Publiko’s analysis, The Economist’s column Banyan did not interpret the U.S.’s Freedom of Navigation Operation near Subi Reef on October 26, 2015 as timid. While Prof. White of Australian National University believed the operation showed “just how reluctant Washington is to stand up to China for fear of provoking a crisis,” Banyan analyzed the incident differently:
“…in recent months America has been losing patience. Pentagon officials began recommending FONOPs as a way of conveying annoyance at China’s moves. The administration apparently delayed making a firm decision on this until after President Xi Jinping’s state visit to America last month. During his trip, Mr Xi promised not to “militarise” the new islands, but was otherwise dismissive of American concerns. Barack Obama decided to authorise a FONOP almost as soon as Mr Xi left. But by refraining for so long he had shown that he understood it would provoke China. Whatever American officials publicly insist, this is not business as usual or no big deal.”
Read our background briefings on the Spratlys and the full opinion article below, and let us know your interpretation of U.S. actions in our comments section. Is America standing strong in the Spratlys or trying to save face while avoiding conflict?
“Banyan: Hot Water,” The Economist