The projection of the future of the South China Sea is structured along six key determinants of stability. The six drivers are first, the presence of a hegemonic power that has the capacity and incentive to create a stable order, second, the equal distribution of military power and avoidance of overly aggressive behavior, third, the adherence to international norms of peaceful settlement of disputes, fourth, a preference to maintain international economic ties and development, fifth, the presence of institutions to regularize dialogue and cooperation, and sixth, united domestic entities that prefer win-win and peaceful solutions.
So, what does the future hold for the South China Sea? Do the six factors correspond to the current situation? There are three possible scenarios; the apocalypse scenario, the dream scenario and the status-quo scenario.Sponsored Ads
1. There is no hedemonic power that is willing to create a stable order. The US is in decline. US leadership is sleeping.
2. There is no avoidance of overly aggressive behavior by China.
3. China appears to want only bilateral talks with individual countries. This is a divide and conquer strategy. No regional solution appears in the horizon.
4. China has already used economic strategies to punish Japan and Philippines.
5. Institutions for dialog exist, but they are not being used effectively.
6. The concept of win-win does not appear in the Chinese language. I’m not making this up.