We are in the midst of an intensifying competition in Asia. The main driver of this competition is an ever-more powerful China determined to set the rules of engagement around its vast periphery; the South China Sea is the locus of rivalry. In seeking to expand its influence in Southeast Asia, China may well believe it is simply reclaiming its historic position as the dominant regional power. It may also think that its actions are defensive, designed to protect its security, access to resources, and vital sea lines of communication. But it realizes that the post-World War II order largely built by the United States still obstructs this objective.
Read the full piece in War On The Rocks.