East Asia now stands close to a precipice. China figures the US is too distracted or uninterested to care about its expansion. They may be right. But the world may pay a very heavy price for this. The prospect of armed confrontation between the US and China has just dramatically increased.
You may not have noticed, as ISIS expands its reach across Iraq and Russia fuels conflict in Ukraine, but the odds of an armed confrontation between the United States and China just dramatically increased.
After years of ignoring China’s growing assertiveness in Asia, the Obama administration has been taken unaware by a major land and power grab by Beijing.
Over the past several years, China has steadily expanded its territorial ambitions, including a claim that the entire South China Sea is under its dominion.
The sea is one of the world’s most strategic bodies of water. It contains crucial sea lanes, such as the Malacca Strait, through which nearly 70,000 ships transit each year.