The Shrinking Globe
"Every day it's about China. (It) is at the centre of virtually every activity and dispute. They're taking control of maritime areas that have never before been administered or controlled in the last five thousand years by any regime called China."
"Before 2007 we [United States] weren't particularly popular in East Asia. We had trouble getting port call for our ships and landing permission for our aircraft... We now have more places that want our ships than ships to send them. We don't need this kind of influence. We need a China that is a trusted guarantor of East Asia maritime security, not the mistrusted principal threat it has become. We need China to act like a great nation and a responsible stakeholder."
Capt. James Fanell, deputy chief of staff, intelligence and information operations, U.S. Pacific fleet
China is flexing its considerable muscles. Just about everyone you look. In manufacturing and trade. In accessing opportunities to invest in foreign energy and agricultural markets abroad. It has an all-consuming appetite and it is the world's new super-consumer at the very same time that it has also become the world's most powerful producer and trader.
And because its appetite is so immense and its maw so gigantic it seeks to compel wherever and however it can. From cyber surveillance and espionage to extraction of trade secrets from government, military sources, corporate interests, whatever can benefit its appetite which wants everything - now. Short cuts to accessing strategies and blueprints to put everything into production instantly.
And any natural resources within its giant's grasp must also be claimed, belligerently, forcefully, with no room for misunderstanding. In the South China Sea the country has laid its claims and dismissed the claims of its neighbours. From Japan to the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam, all now know that what they had formerly held to be their sovereign territory is actually China's.
China Marine Surveillance patrols support the country's clearly-stated policy that all the busiest sea lanes on the globe are a "Chinese lake". Anger and resentment over the true ownership of contested islands sitting in undersea rich mineral and energy deposits have labelled China the bully everyone loves to hate.
The military and diplomatic games of one-upsmanship China and Japan have been playing are starkly dangerous.
Of course there is also stark danger lurking in the very fact that China has been revealed to be employing hackers busy working with their military on cyber espionage. Penetrating Western military, media and computer systems that control the vital civil infrastructure of our lives. Compelling countries in Europe, the United States and Canada to seriously beef up cyber security.
Canada's new moves through the Canadian Joint Operations Command responsible for military action abroad is in the initiation stage of a cyber staff operation with growing military co-operation with the U.S. on cyber-security through NORAD. On the home front, cyber-security has assumed new dimensions of importance with the revelations of our vulnerabilities being breached.
This is not a time in history for the faint of heart. Not when the hard-hearted continue to feint, to probe and to profit at the expense of others sharing this increasingly tight little orb we call home.