"I never met a war I didn't like."
- Even a broken clock is right twice a day. In this case China's obvious aggression requires a strong U.S. and allied response. McCain is dead on.
(Defense News) - The leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to introduce legislation next week to ease a decades long ban on selling weaponry to Vietnam, a decision that the committee’s chairman said was directly linked to China’s growing aggression in the Pacific.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also called for the Pentagon to keep China away from this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in response to a series of reclamation projects that has ignited controversy in the South China Sea.
Speaking Saturday at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogues in Singapore, McCain referred to China’s actions as “a blatant violation of international law” and warned the nation is making a “serious mistake” that is driving other nations in the region toward alignment with the United States.
“Their actions have united the countries in the region in a way that was unheard of a short time ago,” McCain told reporters, echoing comments made earlier in the week by US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
One of those nations moving closer to the US is Vietnam. McCain cited “a strong desire for closer defense and economic cooperation” between the two nations.
“For our part, we’d like to set conditions for a gradual removal of our lethal arms embargo on Vietnam as soon as possible,” he said in his opening comments, noting he and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the committee, hoped to introduce legislation next week to begin that process.
It is not clear how McCain’s language will differ from an executive decision made last October that paved the way for sales of lethal weapons for maritime security to Vietnam, but the chairman pointedly said this decision was driven by regional concerns.
“We’d like to see them have greater capability, particularly in weapons that are defensive in nature, which would be used in case of a crisis situation between Vietnam and China,” McCain said.Read More . . . .