Would America Really Go to War Over the South China Sea?

What would America do if China starts to build an island base on Scarborough Shoal, declares an ADIZ over the Spratlys, or in some other way plainly takes steps to strengthen still further its grip on the South China Sea in defiance of international law and American demands? President Obama ought to think about this very carefully as he visits China for the last time as President, because it has become the question that will define the future of the US-China relationship.

  • simus1

    A cynic would infer the South China Sea War is on the back burner to blow smoke in the event the Chinese economy unexpectedly goes south and a major distraction is required.
    As for “island bases” barely big enough to swing a cat like SS, they would be excellent sites to use as live fire targets by the USN. The more likely use of SS would be for training Chinese aircraft carrier squadrons and their hangar/flight deck/ air defense people in somewhat realistic conditions.

    In the words of Sun Tzu “……….

    • The economy going south is the most probable. China is a dead man who forgot to fall over.

      • xavier

        Agreed and the impact throughout the region is having its effects. Hanjin, the 7th largest shipper is bankrupt and its ships are being seized all over the world. The South Korean courts will try to rehabilitate the company so it doesn’t have its assets seized but I don’t know how feasible.
        My deeply cynical view as I live in the neighbourhood is that China will accelerate the militarization and then double dare the next president to evict them. On the premise that the Americans are wimps.

        I personally hope that if Trump is president he order the shoals to be fried and then detain any ‘fishing’ boat. Xi needs to be put in place and reminded that China’s economic power is dependent how well they behave. Don’t behave, lose market access

        In the meantime, the Chinese will really harass the smaller nations starting with the Phillipines

  • The Chinese will not co-operate in trade or in the South China Seas.

    Any leader with a spine or brains should see that.

    But we’re stuck with Obama and Trudeau.

  • eMan14

    Obama will enforce another red line to keep China at bay. Only problem is that Bay is The Bay of Pigs.

  • Minicapt

    Nice shot of the “Leonid I. Brezhnev”.


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  • Hard Little Machine

    No of course not. China will announce it has a credible defeat of US carrier deployments and that, as they say, will be that. Between their Tu-22M3 anti ship cruise missile bombers and their improved non nuclear D-21 ballistic missiles they’re for the most part there now.