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US ditches Monroe Doctrine, while China appears to be construcing its West Pacific analog

November 25, 2013

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed that the nearly 2 century old Monroe Doctrine, through which the US claimed hegemony over most of the Western Hemisphere, was “dead” (although it should be noted that Kerry either mischaracterized or misunderstands the Monroe Doctrine to begin with).

This week, China has added a new layer to what is essentially its own version of the Monroe Doctrine in the East and South China Seas, identifying areas in international space and even legally Japanese space as subject to China’s air defense rules.   This follows by just a few months China’s extending its controversial “9 dash map” with an even more expansive 10 dash map.

China does not have the military power – yet – to successfully challenge the US on these matters.  However, they are probably banking on the fact that the US in general and this president in particular are not positioned for a fight and will likely let these matters drop with nothing more than a protest.  This gives China its de facto claim over the waters, while at the same time diminishing US credibility as an effective counterbalance to her growing power.  This is a significant victory in the coalitioning phase of the current world power cycle and China has, in effect, won this round without firing a shot.

Read Andrew Erickson for updates on the ADIZ (air defense identification zone) controversy. 

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