On December 7, 1941, the empire of Japan launched its infamous sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that propelled the United States into a combat role in World War II in the Pacific theater. While the U.S. had already leveled economic sanctions against the belligerent East Asian nation, Pearl Harbor was the final catalyst for military involvement.
Prior to becoming involved in the Pacific theater, the U.S. had been taking a backseat role in Europe, as well. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the transfer of military advisors and materiel to Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China, but it was not until after the United States retaliated against Japan that Hitler declared war on the U.S.
When examining the course of actions that led to World War II, it is certainly not a stretch to see World War III looming on the horizon today.
In Europe, Vladimir Putin is expanding his influence into the Eastern bloc and invading sovereign nations. In the Pacific, China has become increasingly aggressive in territorial disputes with Japan, Taiwan, and the Phillippines.
History has a way of repeating itself, and although the names and faces of nations and leaders change, often the events do not. While Vladimir Putin continues his methodical takeover of Eastern Europe, China is belligerently staking claim to more and more island territories in the Pacific.
In what appears to be a continually-escalating conflict, the United States is responding to Chinese aggression.
Territorial disputes are a delicate thing… and potentially deadly as well.
That’s why the U.S. is backing up its positions with an ever-increasing presence of warships in the South China Sea.
China is very touchy about these territories, and unwilling to give up what they perceive as their waters, even as a UN tribunal just denied their claims and strengthened the U.S. hand.
Indeed, the entire situation is combustible and very dangerous.
As James Holbrooks of the Underground Reporter noted:
In a congressional hearing on Wednesday, former Director of National Intelligence and retired Navy admiral Dennis Blair told the panel that the United States should be prepared to use military force to oppose Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.
“I think we need to have some specific lines and then encourage China to compromise on some of its objectives,” Blair, who headed the U.S. Pacific Command while in the Navy, said at the hearing.
The admiral’s recommendation came the day after a United Nations tribunal invalidated China’s claim of territorial rights to nearly all of the waters in the South China Sea.
The U.S., citing the territorial dispute and security concerns raised by its allies in the region, have for months been sending warships into the South China Sea as a check against Chinese hostility.
Beijing, acutely aware of the military buildup off its coast, has publicly warned the U.S. it’s more than ready to defend against provocations. “China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks… but it must be prepared for any military confrontation.”
It seems that the situation is being deliberately stoked into conflict, and that tensions are programmed to reach a boiling over point. If true, there is no indication of where the point of no return would be.
It appears to be déjà vu for both Europe and the Pacific. Time will only tell if escalating tensions could lead to another global conflict.