China is a masterwork of controlled public reactions. Homebound Chinese seem to be emotional people, the Italians of Asia, I guess, easily stoked into indignant, patriotic angers by captive media that tout the government's line.
We certainly know that the Philippines is painted by China as a very bad nation when conflict with China occurs over islands. Newspapers condemn evil Filipinos and Chinese stomp about in indignant anger.
Of course, it would appear that Japan is also a very bad nation, given that Japanese activists have landed on contested islands, really irritating the Chinese. Causing them to condemn the evil Japanese and stomp . . .
And Taiwan is a bad nation when it occupies contested islands.
And South Korea . . .
And Viet Nam . . .
When will China wake up to the fact that it's divide and conquer strategy on the territorial conflicts in the West Philippine Sea is producing a hornet's nest of enemies?
And in the background stands the biggest hornet of them all, with treaties in place to defend the Philippines and South Korea and Japan if they are attacked by China.
- At what point will the people of China, the broad masses, ask, "why do all these other countries hate China so?"
- And the follow-up question. "Could it be something that we, China, is doing?"
Well, hallelujah, yes indeedy. It's called being an obnoxious bully and presuming that being big gives you the right to stomp around and tell everyone else what the law is without regard for their history or self-interest.
The historical document they use to claim the seas is a slap-dash nine-line drawing that was prepared by an enemy of the Chinese communist state, Chiang Kai-shek. But it is useful, so what the hey . . .
The people with insight say China is acting tough now because it is going through a transition in leadership, and leaders who aspire to remain on the job or get promoted can't appear weak. So they posture as tough. Smart politics maybe, but dumb diplomacy.
Whatever the reason, China is acting like Bluto, the big dumb lummox who was always trying to steal Popeye's goil Olive Oyl.
Well, in this modern tale, Oyl is oil and Popeye is the Philippines and America is the spinach that gives the Philippines the muscle to do what is necessary.
Like occupy its own islands and repel that lummox Bluto.
Ken Follett might come up with something different, but that would be my strategy, acted out in concert with similar moves by Japan, and Taiwan, and South Korea, and Viet Nam and any other nation tired of being muscled around by Bluto.
The strategy would be labeled "The Year of the Hornet" and every habitable island within 200 nautical miles of Philippine shores would be occupied within one year, starting in November, right after the U.S. presidential election.