China is a growing world power which is ruled by the iron fist of communism. Its leader Ji Xinping is basically a dictator and has steadily built up power for himself by moving up the ranks of the country’s Politburo.
Xi recently met with Biden in Bali, where the two world leaders promised to deescalate tensions and try to stop Russia from launching nukes.
China mumbled a bit about climate change and Biden said a “new Cold War” doesn’t need to happen.
All the reassuring words are fine, but behind the scenes real power struggles are taking place and a big part of that is gaining trustworthy allies. That’s why America’s defence secretary Lloyd Austin recently touched down in Indonesia to meet their top military official.
Building Bridges With Indonesia
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin got together with Indonesia’s Secretary of Defense today in order to build stronger links in the Indo-Pacific region.
Due to its location and size, Indonesia is one of the many countries which is in China’s scope. The Communist juggernaut has a “String of Pearls” strategy to basically encircle the globe via warm water commercial and naval ports.
They buy off countries with big loans and partnerships, providing soft entry points and economic leverage across the world if there ever is a war or they want to threaten a war.
Austin met Indonesia’s Secretary of Defense Prabowo Subianto and the two said they are working to make sure the US-Indonesia partnership keeps growing.
Austin said he’s “proud” of the work they already do together in tech, training and strategic maneuvers and looks forward to continuing to improve the situation in the Indo-Pacific.
Wheels down in 🇮🇩 Indonesia where I’ll meet with Defense Minister @prabowo and other senior leaders to discuss a range of security initiatives & advance our shared vision of a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific pic.twitter.com/dyxDAApgo8
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) November 20, 2022
Free and ‘Open’ Indo-Pacific-Region
When Austin and Subianto use the words “free” and “open” about the seas around there what they mean is that they don’t want the waters in the region controlled by China.
It’s important to remember that Indonesia is officially neutral here and Subianto made it crystal clear he is not America’s baby brother.
As he said, his nation wants the “best relationships” with all the main powers in the world, not just the United States.
He was clearly giving a shout out to China there, which has deep economic, cultural and diplomatic roots in Indonesia.
Nonetheless, Indonesia isn’t that happy about how China is prowling around in the South China Sea and encroaching on its shipping lanes.
Subianto says more “dialog” should open it up,” but “defending” these waters will happen if China goes too far.
Inviting Austin along for this powwow is just an exclamation point on his threat to China to back off.
Soldiers from the @tni_ad &the @5thSFAB participate in the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Training Center rotation 23-01 opening ceremony on Area X-Ray at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 20. US-Indonesia defense cooperation has never been stronger or more comprehensive. pic.twitter.com/dUvEzy0qTS
— U.S. Army Pacific (@USARPAC) October 25, 2022
The Bottom Line
As the world watches in anxiety while Russia and Ukraine battle it out in eastern Europe, keep in mind that one of the highest chances of devastating global war right now isn’t in Ukraine, it’s in the South China Sea.
This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.