Mark Collins – South China Sea: Why is USN Admiral Leading on US Policy vs China?

Further to this post,

Mark Collins – US Neo-Imperialism, or, God Damn the NSC!

The major piece mentioned at this tweet is indeed very thought-making with much with which to agree (note for one thing the oversize policy role of the US military’s geographical area commanders)…

the head of USPACCOM is rather turning heads, as it were, with what he is saying about a dangerously volatile region (note the Dragon’s playing the race card):

A U.S. Admiral’s Bluntness Rattles China, and Washington


“I will say I’m a military guy. I look through the lenses darkly, and that’s what I’m paid to do.” ADM. HARRY B. HARRIS JR. Credit Cliff Owen/Associated Press

HONOLULU — He has called Chinaprovocative and expansionist,” accusing it of “creating a Great Wall of sand” and “clearly militarizing” the disputed waters of the Western Pacific. “You’d have to believe in a flat earth to think otherwise,” he said in one appearance before Congress.

These are the words of the American commander in charge of military operations in the Asia-Pacific region, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who has turned heads — and caused headaches — in Beijing as well as in Washington with language starker than any coming from his commander in chief, President Obama.

Admiral Harris makes no apologies for his candor, which has unsettled a more cautious White House. As China builds militarily fortified islands in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway long dominated by the United States, it is his job, he says, to talk to Congress, the American public and allies abroad about the threat [lots more here on the South China Sea].

“There is a natural tension between elements of the government and the chain of command, and I think it’s a healthy tension,” he said during an interview in his office, perched high above Pearl Harbor. “I’ve voiced my views in private meetings with our national command authorities. Some of my views are taken in; some are not.”

For the Chinese, Admiral Harris, 59, is not only a tough talker. He was born in Japan, the son of a Japanese mother and an American father who was a chief petty officer in the American Navy. The Chinese have zeroed in on his ethnicity as a mode of attack.

“Some may say an overemphasis on the Japanese background about an American general is a bit unkind,” Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, wrote. “But to understand the American’s sudden upgraded offensive in the South China Sea, it is simply impossible to ignore Admiral Harris’s blood, background, political inclination and values.”

The derogatory comments had two goals, the admiral said. First, they were meant to show that the Pacific Command was “disconnected from the rest of government,” an idea that was “completely untrue.”..

One really does wonder about senior officers publicly making such major high policy-related pronouncements; see also and especially the statements on Russia by the outgoing USAF general who has been NATO’s military chief and head of US European forces. One is indeed distinctly uncomfortable with GOFOs speaking thus.

Earlier on race cards:

Indian PM Modi in Dragonland…But Are Indians Inferior?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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