Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"Shamefare": using social media and soft power to pressure China

Nations such as Vietnam, the Philippines and others have very few diplomatic, economic or even military tools at their disposal to ever fully deter China from their aggressive actions in the South China Sea. And with Beijing now reclaiming small land features and turning them into full islands with impressive military assets, within the next few years if nothing changes, China will dominate the South China Sea.

Indeed, the only way for such nations to respond is to look to other domains to pressure Beijing — asymmetric tactics that will not sow the seeds of conflict — but make China pay a price for its actions. Vietnam and other South China Sea claimants should begin the process of taping and distributing via social media any and all possible aggressive interactions with Chinese vessels — this includes fishing vessels, coast guard, naval vessels etc. — in an effort to demonstrate Beijing's aggressive intent to the international community. Additionally, nations that have outposts in the South China Sea that could come under increasing Chinese harassment, such as Second Thomas Shoal, should also have smaller vessels equipped and ready with cameras ready to record in case Beijing attempts to apply coercive tactics to remove them — either through blockade or something more.

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