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Only ONE Candidate Has the Creds to Talk About This: Hillary Rodham Clinton

When foreign policy comes up at the debates this cycle, on one side we hear one thing: ISIS ISIS ISIS.  On the other side the refrain begins with the dreaded, notorious, and monotonous Iraq War Vote, and then Bernie Sanders wanders over the rainbow to a land where Saudi Arabia and Iran team up like munchkins and flying monkeys to assure the defeat of terrorism in that region by throwing a bucket of water on ISIS.

Ted Cruz has raised this issue, but somehow it never quite makes it into the meat of the debate.  Donald Trump, of course, intends to crush China by any means necessary.

The truth is, there is a means to combat this aggression right at our fingertips and nothing is being done to implement it.  Here is the issue:

Jason Lee / Reuters

Gordon G. Chang

Gordon G. Chang

THE MISSLE LINKS

02.17.16

With Surface-to-Air Missiles, China Militarizes the South China Sea

Beijing’s provocative move to put sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles on little Woody Island breaks previous promises and invites retaliation.

China deployed its advanced HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island in the South China Sea sometime in the first half of this month, Pentagon officials have revealed. Images of the missiles were released yesterday by various news organizations, and Taiwan’s defense ministry confirmed the reports.

The Chinese deployment breaks a series of pledges Beijing made to the United States and the international community, one as recently as last month by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Secretary of State John Kerry during Kerry’s trip to Beijing.

The missile deployments will destabilize the already troubled South China Sea, and the situation there could deteriorate fast as various nations, including the United States, introduce military assets in response to Beijing’s rapid build-up.

Read more >>>>

Long ago, back in 2008 before the election, those who were laying the groundwork for the emergence of the Tea Party spoke in hushed, dire tones about the “Law of the Sea Treaty” (LOST) as if it were some alien conspiracy to divest the United States of certain powers and options.  The opposite was and is true.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton foresaw some probabilities on the foreign stage. One was the Arab Spring.  She warned the Arab elders at Forum for the Future two years in a row that alienation from participation and unemployment were severe problems boiling beneath the surface among their populations.  Hillary did not cause the Arab Spring.  She predicted trouble if inclusion and jobs were not prioritized by leadership.  She listened to their civil societies, perceived the growing unrest, and warned.

Hillary also knew that ratification of LOST was important and urgent.  Here is how she introduced a plea for ratification.

Video: Hillary Clinton to Senate Foreign Relations “Joining Law of the Sea Convention Urgent!”

May 23, 2012

I am well aware that this treaty does have determined opposition, limited but nevertheless quite vociferous. And it’s unfortunate because it’s opposition based in ideology and mythology, not in facts, evidence, or the consequences of our continuing failure to accede to the treaty. So I think you’ll hear, from both Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey as well as myself, further statements and information that really reinforces the very strong points that both of you have made.We believe that it is imperative to act now. No country is better served by this convention than the United States. As the world’s foremost maritime power, we benefit from the convention’s favorable freedom of navigation provisions. As the country with the world’s second longest coastline, we benefit from its provisions on offshore natural resources. As a country with an exceptionally large area of seafloor, we benefit from the ability to extend our continental shelf, and the oil and gas rights on that shelf. As a global trading power, we benefit from the mobility that the convention accords to all commercial ships. And as the only country under this treaty that was given a permanent seat on the group that will make decisions about deep seabed mining, we will be in a unique position to promote our interests.

(The “opposition based in ideology and mythology” Hillary referred to was, in fact GOP and specifically Tea Party opposition, making it odd that it is Ted Cruz alone who occasionally brings the South China Sea to the table.)

And there was this.

Now as a non-party to the convention, we rely – we have to rely – on what is called customary international law as a legal basis for invoking and enforcing these norms. But in no other situation at which – in which our security interests are at stake do we consider customary international law good enough to protect rights that are vital to the operation of the United States military. So far we’ve been fortunate, but our navigational rights and our ability to challenge other countries’ behavior should stand on the firmest and most persuasive legal footing available, including in critical areas such as the South China Sea.

I’m sure you have followed the claims countries are making in the South China Sea. Although we do not have territory there, we have vital interests, particularly freedom of navigation. And I can report from the diplomatic trenches that as a party to the convention, we would have greater credibility in invoking the convention’s rules and a greater ability to enforce them.

Read more >>>>

Most will not remember that later in 2012, as Dems were gathering to renominate Barack Obama in Charlotte, Hillary was on her way to an ASEAN Summit where issues in the South China Sea would be at the forefront.

Refueling in Brisbane Hillary Clinton Sets ASEAN Agenda

September 3, 2012

Clinton to press for ASEAN unity in South China Sea disputes with Chinese

By Associated Press, Published: September 2

BRISBANE, Australia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for Southeast Asian states to present a united front to the Chinese in dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

SNIP

She wants “to strengthen ASEAN unity going forward,” a senior U.S. official told reporters on board Clinton’s plane as she flew from the Cook Islands to Australia for a brief refueling stop en route to Indonesia.

Read more >>>>

Issues in the South China Sea would be far more easily settled if the United States were to assume its leadership position at the table as the world’s leading maritime power.  This is an issue Hillary carries in her back pocket, and it has yet to arise in any question at a town hall or debate.  Here is what happened the last time LOST came up for a vote.

Readers here know,  it’s right there in the sidebar, the importance Hillary Clinton invested in ratification of the Law of the Sea Treat (LOST).  She testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 23 of this year calling ratification “urgent” if the U.S. is to have  equal footing on a level playing field in conflicts arising over jurisdictions with regard to offshore drilling and mining.  Ratification would permit us to extend our own continental shelf 200 miles – we have four of them!   But Rachel Maddow  last hour reported, as her blog explains,  that the GOP has likely killed the ratification that would have boosted our economy and strengthened our position both in the global economy and militarily on the high seas.  According to the blog post, the last two “nails in the coffin” were Senators Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte – names in the news as possible Veep choices for Mitt Romney.   Goes to show you, the Republicans can be transparent … it is possible.  Stunning considering the long list of Republicans who supported ratification.  Ambition, apparently knows no party loyalty – or common sense!

Read more >>>>

If President Obama looked a little haggard when he spoke to the press today, it was not all about Congress stonewalling a SCOTUS nomination.  Guess where he was!  And guess what they were talking about!

President Barack Obama, center, speaks at the plenary session meeting of ASEAN, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. Sitting with Obama are Laos' president, Choummaly Sayasone, left, and Brunei's sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama, center, speaks at the plenary session meeting of ASEAN, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. Sitting with Obama are Laos’ president, Choummaly Sayasone, left, and Brunei’s sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A fair town hall or debate question at any and all events this week should address foreign policy on a broader scale than the Middle East.  The South China Sea may be on the other side of the globe, but what happens there affects us all.  Only one candidate knows what needs to be done.

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