The U.S. Must Accommodate China’s Power in the Island Dispute — Or Be Willing to Pay a High Price – Hugh White/HuffPo
SYDNEY — There are two ways to see the U.S. Navy’s freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. We can see it is as a modest legal maneuver, designed to assert Washington’s interpretation of some rather arcane and contested points of international maritime law. Or we can see this week’s operation as a big strategic move in the new power politics of Asia.
Seen this second way, it was designed to reassert America’s naval preponderance in the western Pacific in the face of Beijing’s increasingly bold and forthright challenge, and thereby to defend the traditional U.S.-led regional order from China’s drive to displace American leadership and create a new Sino-centric strategic system in Asia.