The American supercarrier USS John C. Stennis, two destroyers, two cruisers, and the USS Blue Ridge, a floating command center and theflagship of the 7th Fleet, have all entered the South China Sea within the last 100 hours. The massive show of force comes as tensions over China’s South China Sea military island outposts continue to rise. It is a foregone conclusion that China will be heavily militarizing their artificially-created islands in the South China Sea, likely resulting in a chain of invisible threat rings that overlap their way across nearly the entire disputed body of water. So far traditional diplomacy has not stopped this eventuality, and the best the U.S. has done is to sail within the supposed territorial waters of these islands as part of high-profile freedom of navigation exercises. In recent months, the American military has sent several other ships on Freedom of Navigation missions, including multiple destroyers, cruisers, littoral combat ships, and amphibious assault ships, but never on such a massive scale. There are alternative strategies that the U.S. could use instead of just a temporary naval presence in the area, but the Obama administration has stayed with the freedom of navigation option, and the most… Read full this story
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