Corker Cheerleads for Obama's Confrontation with China
April 22, 2014 • 9:23AM

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the rabid warhawk who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gave President Obama a thumbs-up for his Asia trip this week, telling him to hang tough as China "continues its coercive and aggressive behavior in the East and South China Seas," and on ramming through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, despite intense opposition from the Congress and from many of the countries in the negotiations, including two of Obama's intended stops, Japan and Malaysia.

Writes Corker: "First and foremost, the president must clearly and unequivocally reaffirm U.S. security commitments to our allies and partners in the region, including U.S. extended deterrence." In regard to China, he writes, "President Obama also must make clear that in acknowledging China's growing global impact, President Xi's `major new power relations' does not suggest a U.S. retreat from its responsibility as a Pacific power to maintain freedom of navigation, safeguard unimpeded lawful commerce and uphold the rule of law. The East and South China Seas are increasingly becoming a potential flashpoint for conflict because of China's aggressive air and maritime posture."

Most important, Corker writes, Obama's future budget submissions to the U.S. Congress, despite budget constraints, "should fund efforts to guarantee the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and to support continued regional missile defense cooperation," to "ensure that U.S. military capabilities and readiness levels are sufficient to manage a range of potential threats and contingencies in the Pacific." The expanding missile defense capacities are correctly seen in China as part of the first strike capacity of Obama's Air-Sea Battle policy.