Following a series of mass-protests in Tokyo, the Japanese Empire has deployed a special police unit to Okinawa. The protests were in reaction to a series of violent and property crimes, extending back several years, involving US military personnel and Pentagon defense contractors.
The special police are to be deployed to patrol the perimeters of the US Okinawa base after dark, after a self-imposed base curfew proved ineffectual. The protests were a major embarrassment for Washington and Tokyo, coinciding as they did with visits from Obama and Ash Carter. Washington hoped to intimidate China with a show of military solidarity. However, posing as defenders of Japan while the Japanese are forced to defend themselves against the defenders no doubt appeared rather comical to Chinese authorities.
These recent humiliations naturally haven't stopped Obama and Akihito from engaging some military demonstrations. Yesterday, the Pentagon dispatched a squadron of fighters to their other Coalition partner, The Philippines. This caused another embarrassment when Facebook and some other US media outlets erroneously reported that The Philippines and China were at war. Oops...
Facebook did however retract their icons advertising their solidarity with The Philippines and issued an apology. Still, it seems rather troubling that they had such advertisements evidently already prepared.
The Air Force followed China's demands that the US desist from spy and military aviation in the region. US spy planes have not only provoked military confrontations, they have nearly collided with civilian airliners three times in the last month alone. The continued provocations from the Pentagon led Chinese Admiral Sun Jiangou to issue a recent press statement:
"We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of troublemakers." Admiral Sun stated. "China will not support any decision made unilaterally by the UN Arbitration Court, nor allow any infringements of its sovereignty and security interests, nor stay indifferent to the irresponsible behavior of some countries operating in or around the South China Sea."
Admiral Sun's vow was carried out this morning. Joint naval exercises between the US, Imperial Japan, and India have been encroaching closer and closer to the disputed waterways. The Chinese Navy is patrolling the area now and threw a scare into the commander of the USS Stennis. A visibly nervous Captain Gregory Huffman stated to the press that "there is a Chinese vessel 7-10 miles away," he stated, adding that Chinese ship had been following the Stennis since it passed through the South China Sea. Two weeks ago, the Stennis was refused entry into Hong Kong and chased away by Chinese patrol boats.
It seems obvious to everyone outside of the Beltway that Obama's so-called Pivot in Asia has fallen flat. American weakness is becoming increasingly apparent, and all of these military theatrics are bringing that weakness into bold relief. A recent poll conducted by an Australian university of citizens in the five largest Pacific Rim nations show a decided lack of confidence in US leadership in that region. 82% of Chinese; 80% of Australians; 77% of South Koreans; 68% of Indonesians; and 61% of Japanese surveyed believe that the days of US Pacific dominance has passed.
It all represents a sad turning-point in US history. From the 1890s to the 1990s, the US was the unquestioned defender of freedom and free trade in the Pacific. But since the 1990s, a combination of Wall Street greed and Ameroboob indifference and exceptionalist hubris has allowed China to wedge us out and assume the leadership role in the Pacific. That process will continue for the foreseeable future. The Chinese Century is dawning over the Pacific while the Prozac Nation can do little more than impotently wave its fists in outrage.