Saturday, November 30, 2013

[Opinion] Weapons are Ill-Omened Things

Source: BBC News

1. Chinese Poem of the Day:

陳陶 (812 - 885)





2. This Blog post is about China's recent creation of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in East China Sea.

The facts are basically these:

(Depending on which time zone you are in, the date may be "+ / -" one day.)

(Keck 2013a): "In a statement today [November 23] China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced the creation of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, which went into effect 10 AM Saturday Morning local time."

(Kech 2013c): "American B-52 bombers flew over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands on Monday [November 25] without informing Beijing ahead of time."

(Yap and Yang 2013): "Chinese citizens vented angrily on the country’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging platform as news broke of U.S. B-52 bombers flying over disputed East China Sea islands claimed by China. But they reserved some of their harshest contempt for their military’s apparent inability to respond."

(Blanchard and Rampton 2013): "China scrambled jets on Friday [November 29] in response to two U.S. spy planes and 10 Japanese aircraft, including F-15 fighters, entering its new air defense zone over the East China Sea, state news agency Xinhua said, raising the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea."

(BBC News 2013c): "A number of regional commercial airlines - including Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Korean Air - have said they will comply with China's new requirements."

(Kyodo News International 2013): "The U.S. government said Friday [November 29] it wants civilian airlines to notify China before entering the latter's newly established air defense identification zone. The move came after Japan's government told its airlines Tuesday not to comply with China's new rules requiring the advance submission of flight plans. The air zone overlaps one already operated by Japan."

3. It seems China has some successes with its new ADIZ.

It seems the trend is that military aircrafts from other countries will not comply with China's new ADIZ while civilian aircrafts will.

But what is the purpose behind China's creation of its ADIZ?

Zachary Keck (2013d) has an interesting take that China is pursuing a strategy of "lawfare".

(Keck 2013d): "In essence, the East China Sea ADIZ is part of China’s 'lawfare' strategy toward its maritime disputes. 'Lawfare,' as used in the context of international warfare, is often attributed to retired Air Force General Charles Dunlap, who defined it in a famous 2001 essay as 'the use of law as a weapon of war.' Interestingly, according to the spectacular Lawfare blog, Dunlap was preempted by two PLA officers who wrote in a 1999 book, Unrestricted Warfare, that lawfare 'is a nation’s use of legalized international institutions to achieve strategic ends.' "

(Keck 2013d): "In what M. Taylor Fravel called creating 'new facts on the water,' China’s approach to the South and East China Seas has been to try to establish its sovereignty over contested areas through the use of a combination of military power and international law."

Regarding international law, (Keck 2013d): "There is a clear unambiguous purpose to all this — namely, China is seeking to bolster its claims to sovereignty over these areas in terms of international law. As I explained elsewhere this week, in international law a major way by which states acquire sovereignty over an area is by actually exercising sovereignty (i.e. administering) over it for a 'reasonable' period of time and especially having other states acquiesce to its administration."

4. As of today (Saturday, November 30, 2013), the situation with China's new ADIZ is still developing.

But with the US recommending civilian airlines to comply with China's ADIZ, the situation does not seem will get out of hand.

But I wonder how long can China escort other countries' military aircrafts entering its ADIZ?

5. For one perspective on the use of military and weapons, the following is the whole of chapter 31 of Laozi's Dao De Jing.

The English translation is from the Library of Chinese Classics (Waley and Chen 1999, 63):



Fine weapons are none the less ill-omened things.
(People despise them, therefore, those in possession of the Tao do not depend on them.)



That is why, among people of good birth, in peace the left-hand side is the place of honour, but in war this is reversed and the right-hand side is the place of honour.



(Weapons are ill-omened things, which the superior man should not depend on. When he has no choice but to use them, the best attitude is to remain tranquil and peaceful.)



The quietist, even when he conquers, does not regard weapons as lovely things. For to think them lovely means to delight in them, and to delight in them means to delight in the slaughter of men.



And he who delights in the slaughter of men will never get what he looks for out of those that dwell under heaven.



(Thus in happy events the left-hand is the place of honour, in grief and mourning, the right-hand is the place of honour.



The lieutenant general stands on the left, while the supreme general stands on the right, which is arranged on the rites of mourning.)



A host that has slain men is received with grief and mourning; he that has conquered in battle is received with rites of mourning.


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