Davidson News

Davidson News

Why the US Won’t Provide Blanket Protection for Chinese Shipping in the Red Sea

In response to ongoing attacks by Houthi rebels on foreign shipping in the Red Sea, the United States has initiated a maritime security plan. The first imperative step involves President Joe Biden authorizing airstrikes and missile attacks targeting Houthi forces in Yemen. Collaborating with key allies such as France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, all actively engaged in the maritime security initiative, would enhance the global credibility of these military actions. Limited military intervention is deemed essential to weaken Houthi capabilities and compel a strategic reassessment, while concurrently upholding deterrence against Iran, a primary supporter of the Houthi leadership.

No Blanket Protection for US-China Shipping Routes

President Biden must communicate unequivocally that US ships engaged in trade with China in the Red Sea will not enjoy blanket protection under American defence policy. This stance is grounded in China’s refusal to participate in the maritime security initiative despite possessing the naval and economic capacity to contribute. With China’s exports to Europe nearing $700 billion in 2022, disruptions caused by the Houthis force many of these shipments to circumvent Africa to reach their destination. Not only does this negatively impact China’s economy, but it also underscores the economic incentive for Beijing to actively engage in maritime security efforts.

Prioritizing National Interests Amid Global Challenges

Despite some ships still utilizing the Red Sea route for China-bound cargo, President Biden must assert that the US is under no obligation to provide free security for Chinese vessels. The decision aligns with the principle that nations must prioritize their interests in the face of global challenges. Notably, while the Houthis pose a threat to foreign shipping, China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea, including clashes with the Philippines, raise questions about supporting Chinese shipping interests. With the United States having treaty defense alliances, such as with the Philippines, and facing challenges to free navigation, a firm stance is necessary to safeguard international waters.

The proposed two-pronged approach seeks to establish maritime stability in the Red Sea, addressing immediate security concerns while affirming the importance of prioritizing national interests amidst complex global dynamics.

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