A5 THE ASTORIAN • SATuRdAy, JuNE 22, 2019 PRO-CON Should US forces beef up Pacific naval presence to offset China’s provocations? AP Photo/Bullit Marquez Amphibious assault vehicles maneuver inland in April northwest of Manila, Philippines. Hundreds of Philippine and American troops participated in a military exercise facing the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. PRO: China needs reminding — America is also an Asian power ASHINGTON — Asia is to field the forces needed to counter one of the earth’s most ethni- their growing might. cally and religiously diverse To neutralize the threat, we must regions. But in geopolitics, it’s a place, expand our military capability and not an ethnicity, and America is just as capacity in the Indo-Pacific — on land, much an Asian power as China. above and below the sea, in the air and If it takes a bigger U.S. military foot- in space and in cyberspace. We need print for Beijing to wise up to that, so more numbers for sure — more ships be it. in particular. But we also need to field The Indo-Pacific is bordered by con- some capabilities we don’t have now. tinents on both sides of the oceans. Among those not-yet-there items The U.S. — and all of North and South needed is a long-range strike stealth America — have just as great drone that can be launched from an interest in the region’s future a carrier. Other yet-to-be-devel- oped capabilities would include and well-being as do those on its a land-based anti-ship cruise western shoulder. missile. Hence, America has every The need for a beefed-up right to be concerned about the presence in the Asian Pacific is destabilizing impact of China’s nothing new. President Barack rise. JAMES JAY China has reneged on its guar- CARAFANO Obama spoke of the need to antees to Hong Kong’s freedom, “pivot to Asia,” although very threatened Taiwan, sup- little pivoting was actu- ported North Korea’s ally done in his last nuclear program, laid term. debt traps for Sri Lanka Washington can BOTH PARTIES and Pakistan, and field the forces America sought to restrict free- SHOuLd BE ABLE needs in a cost-effec- dom of the seas in the tive, responsible man- TO PuT ASIdE ner if it can commit to South China Sea. And sustained investment in that’s just a partial list of THE PARTISAN defense over time. Beijing’s transgressions. China knows that, Instead of working SQuABBLING but the regime won’t to increase world peace, TO FuLFILL THE believe the U.S. can stability and prosperity, Beijing’s China is actively under- CORE FuNCTION neutralize mining it. military build-up unless OF THE FEdERAL it sees real, continued Thankfully, the cur- rent administration has and persistent efforts GOVERNMENT: been pushing back — by the White House and doing so in the right TO PROVIdE FOR and Capitol Hill to way — politically and strengthen U.S. forces THE NATIONAL diplomatically. One key year-to-year. area is defense policy. Unfortunately, dEFENSE. For years, Bei- this effort is in jeop- jing has been followed ardy. Unless Congress an “anti-access, area can agree on a bud- get, the defense appro- denial” strategy, fielding priation next year will be sequestered. military capabilities that make it more Translated into real-world effects, that difficult for the U.S. to operate safely means defense spending will be cut by and effectively in the Indo-Pacific. a third, leaving the military virtually no China’s plan is to “win without fight- ing,” confronting America one day resources for beefing up. Under seques- with the cold realization that the U.S. tration, the Pentagon will be able to do is no longer a real military power in the little more than make payroll and keep Indo-Pacific. the lights on. This is no time for Washington to The only realistic counter to China’s scheme is to demonstrate the capac- play chicken over the National Defense ity that proves them wrong — to show Authorization Act and the defense them that America is willing and able to appropriations bill. Both parties should defend our vital interests. be able to put aside the partisan squab- bling to fulfill the core function of the We have a ways to go. Each year federal government: to provide for the The Heritage Foundation publishes the national defense. “Index of U.S. Military Strength.” In Remember, Beijing is watching. 2018, the index concluded the Chinese A Heritage Foundation vice presi- military threat is still growing. dent, James Jay Carafano directs the Beijing can count. If we want to think-tank’s research into matters of show them America is no pushover, we national security and foreign relations. have to demonstrate a firm commitment W CON: Deliberately sailing into areas China considers as territorial waters is not a good idea C OLUMBUS, Ohio — The Command encompasses “six of the United States is raising the seven continents, 71 countries, and more profile of its naval activity in than 74 million square miles of ocean.” response to Chinese assertiveness in the The Coast Guard was created by waters of the South China Sea. But it is an Act of Congress to guard our own far from clear that such activity on our coasts. By one provision of that law the part will resolve the admittedly volatile president may send the Coast Guard situation in those waters. to assist foreign governments. But the Tension has been highest of late in worldwide reach developed by the waters not far from the Philippines that Coast Guard goes far beyond what Con- gress authorized. are claimed by China. Fishing rights The Navy’s Seventh Fleet already are the flash point. In May, U.S. Coast has 75 ships and submarines and Guard ships staged a joint exer- cise with two Philippines naval 140 aircraft. Its personnel ros- ter tops 40,000. That is more than vessels in those waters. The enough for a mission whose aims apparent purpose was to send a are not well-defined. Some of its message to China. personnel have formed a brass It is hard to ascertain how band that gives good-will con- much help the Philippines wants, certs in Asia. or whether we are pushing it to JOHN B. A Navy website explaining take it. QUIGLEY our policy stresses that we have Philippines President Rodrigo treaties with Korea, Duterte has been going Japan and the Philip- easy on China over its pines to defend them if incursions in Philip- uNTIL WE pines-claimed waters they are attacked. But in return for billions the treaties don’t require HAVE PRECISE of dollars of Chinese long-term deployment OBJECTIVES investments in his of thousands of naval country. personnel. IN THE SOuTH Duterte is under The most visi- ble component of U.S. pressure domestically to CHINA SEA, ANd naval policy has been challenge China more WAyS TO CARRy so-called “freedom of vigorously, especially operations, in the wake of a recent THEM OuT THAT navigation” where we send a ves- incident in which a Fil- ipino fishing vessel dON’T VIOLATE sel into waters of the South China Sea that was rammed and sunk, FEdERAL LAW, China claims as territo- apparently by a Chinese waters. vessel. THERE IS LITTLE rial China often reacts to The introduction of the U.S. Coast Guard REASON TO FuNd actions it considers as trespassing. In a num- in the picture is a recent LARGE NAVAL ber of instances, these development. Coast have nearly Guard cutters USCGC FORCES THERE. operations resulted in military Bertholf and USCGC confrontation. Stratton are now Our naval presence deployed with the U.S. in Asia, if it is to continue at all, needs Navy’s Seventh Fleet, operating out of clarification. its base in Yokosuka, Japan. At a recent security conference in Coast Guard Pacific Area Com- mander Vice Admiral Linda Fagan Singapore, Acting Secretary of Defense says that a Coast Guard presence in the Patrick Shanahan criticized China for South China Sea shores up the sover- its territorial claims in the South China eignty of “partner nations” in the dis- Sea. But while in Singapore, Shanahan puted waters. met with China’s Minister of Defense to “Partner nations” would include plan for exchanges between the two mil- itaries. We seem to be coordinating mili- the Philippines and Vietnam, which tarily with China at the same time as we is also in contention with China over are confronting it. waters in the South China Sea. Vice Until we have precise objectives in Admiral Fagan explains that the Coast the South China Sea, and ways to carry Guard vessels help “law enforcement them out that don’t violate federal law, and capacity-building in the fisheries there is little reason to fund large naval enforcement realm.” forces there. You can be forgiven if you are sur- prised that the Coast Guard has a Pacific John B. Quigley is a professor at Area Command, or that it bases ves- Ohio State university’s Moritz College sels in Japan. A Coast Guard website of Law and a leading scholar on u.S. explains, proudly, that its Pacific Area relations with Russia.